SAM (Software Asset Management) strategy in response to audits conducted by software producers
For several years now we have been observing a rise in a global tendency for carrying out any type of Software Asset Management (SAM) audits. Software production giants show preference for checking whether software is used in compliance with IT licenses in big and large companies. How to prepare?
Companies buy large quantities of valuable software and pay millions or tens of millions of zlotys for licenses on an annual basis. Since they spend so much money on software producers, should they fear so-called hard audits of IT licenses compliance? Not at all.
The number of licensing audits is on the rise
Gartner, the world’s leading IT advisory company, each year publishes a ranking of most active software producers with a view to license audits. For years the forefront remains the same. There is this saying in the sector that if there was no software audit in your company in the past 2-3 years, get ready for one this year. Obviously this is not always the case, but can’t be ruled out. Sooner or later, if the company uses IT licenses, it has to be ready to undergo a process entitled the “External IT license compliance audit” conducted by a software producer or entrusted to a third party company.
Is it possible to prepare for such a situation? Definitely yes, but the answer to the question “How?” should be included, among others, in the strategy for the IT license management area (SAM Strategy). Detailed instructions on how to proceed in the event when a company receives a letter informing about the audit should be precisely defined in the documentation regarding the SAM process.
SAM (Software Asset Management) Strategy - the action plan
In order to efficiently address activities connected with the audit, an organization should devise a detailed action plan well in advance. Since audit requires the involvement of many different organizational units, it is worthwhile to start making arrangements before ending up in a tight corner. Depending on a specific character of an organization, apart from the core IT team, most likely the support of the legal and security teams might be necessary.
The IT department itself is often scattered which makes it difficult to single out units accountable for a given product or license.
Organization’s resources and workload needed to service such an issue should be aligned with the following factors:
- the number of licenses and products of a given producer held by the organization;
- the approach of a specific software producer and auditor;
- organization’s maturity and preparedness level with respect to SAM.
A challenge which becomes an opportunity
The audit of IT licenses is also the time when the company’s top management turns it attention to license management. The risk of non-compliance and the necessity of filling potential gaps (setting aside relevant IT budget which often means spending hundreds of thousands or millions zlotys) will surely attract the attention of many stakeholders. On the other hand, when properly turned to the company’s advantage, it can lead to a significant maturity increase with respect to the SAM area. And this is worth keeping in mind.
Companies can or even should prepare themselves for an external audit of IT licenses. Clearly defined objectives of the license management process may come handy and should absolutely be reflected in the operational procedures. This is the starting point...