Asked to identify the top three vendors they feared being audited by, 75 percent of respondents highlighted Microsoft, followed by 53 percent for Oracle and 33 percent for SAP.
The same survey found that in terms of audit activity, 68 percent of organizations had been engaged by Microsoft in the last 12 months and 36 percent by SAP. IBM took third spot, auditing 31 percent of organizations.
Matt Fisher, Vice President at Snow Software commented on the findings: “While we expected to see Microsoft reported as having the highest volume of audit activity, it is surprising to see them take the number one slot in terms of being feared by their customers. In our experience, Microsoft is actually one of the least aggressive and difficult software auditors. We typically hear far more horror stories from customers that have been audited by Oracle or Attachmate (now Micro Focus).
“Our advice is that, if you have your software assets under control, there’s actually little to be afraid of during the audit process. A fear of audit suggests that organizations recognize a lack of control and up-to-date SAM intelligence.”
The top three reasons given for audit angst include the likelihood that the audit will cost money in true-up fees or fines (29%), having to explain unbudgeted costs to business management (19%) and the disruption caused to normal business operations (19%).
With many software vendors – including SAP, IBM, VMware and Citrix – deep into their fourth quarters and scrabbling for every last bit of revenue, it is perhaps not surprising that audit angst is particularly high at this time of year.
Fisher continues: “The year-end audit has long been a stalwart of Q4 revenue for many software vendors, whether performed as an outright audit or disguised as an incentive to upgrade to the latest versions and technologies. These situations can actually work to customers’ advantage if they are holding the right information about their current software use and plans for the coming year.”
Snow’s SAM experts recommend a simple series of proactive steps that end user organisations can take to strengthen their position before an audit review, preparation is key.
1.Acknowledge the audit request as soon as possible – the worst thing you can do in any vendor audit is ignore the initial audit letter. The auditor will not go away. A prompt response within a few days of receiving the audit letter will make what follows easier
2.Discover as much as you can about the vendor you are being audited by –the best way to prepare for an audit is to know what’s required well in advance
3.Perform a full inventory to discover all assets including hardware configuration, software deployments and usage.
4.Compare the inventory against license entitlements and create effective license positions for all software vendors.
Defending an audit can be made all the easier by using the right technology. Deploying a Software Asset Management (SAM) solution will help ensure the software estate is optimized before responding to the audit request and avoid unbudgeted costs.