How much time does a software audit take up? Is it wasting an IT department’s time?
Research from November 2016 by the Campaign for Clear Licensing has revealed exactly how disruptive software vendor audits are to IT departments. The research, based on the responses of 170 ITAM, SAM and licensing professionals worldwide, revealed that the average audit takes 194 working hours to resolve over 7+ months. This equates to roughly a month of time, which is often reactive if an organization has not implemented a rigorous SAM program. And how many IT departments have this much time to spare?
How are Software Audits Creating Time Wasting Issues?
Software audits have generated a bad reputation, given the impact they have on an organization. They are typically associated with wasting an organization’s time for two main issues:
- Unfortunately, vendors are using software audits in order to generate revenue.
- IT departments are having to react to software audits, often having not allocated enough resource for managing software assets.
Which Software Vendor is the Least Helpful?
The research also highlighted that Oracle can be the worst vendor in terms of their aggressive behavior and being focussed on short-term revenue. Being able to prepare for an Oracle audit would be highly recommended for Oracle software customers. Microsoft, on the other hand, were found to be the most helpful during an audit – i.e. being constructive, taking the long-term view and offering help and guidance.
License Reviews by software vendors were also mentioned as being disruptive. Although not a full-scale audit, as you are normally not obliged to co-operate, they will still take up valuable time and will be used to persuade you to move towards the software vendor’s strategic products – typically cloud.
The Campaign for Clear Licensing believes this activity is actually stifling competition as customers are being prevented from making free-market choices by having to spend a large proportion of their time responding to audits.
Using SAM to Reduce Disruption
Implementing a rigorous Software Asset Management (SAM) program is the way to avoid this disruption from both reviews and audits. This will provide you with the data to better manage and optimize your licenses and ensure that when the request for audit drops through your letterbox, you are fully aware of your licensing position.
How can SAM help reduce the disruption of software audits?
- Provide greater visibility and understanding of current license position
- Take the necessary steps to ensure neither under or over-licensed in case of an audit
- Given the current license position, take the initiative to optimize licenses
- Have IT departments understand inventory and licensing position to mitigate any inaccurate information vendors might initiate
Sadly, too many organizations are reactive in this area and only bother to look at their licensing position when audited. We have come across one organization that puts aside $1M a year for just this. So, rather than invest part of that $1M into properly implementing SAM, it is happy to take the hit every year, so that it can deal with what is perceives are higher-priority tasks.
If you are considering implementing a SAM program and are not sure how to go about it, or have taken the first steps in this area and now want to accelerate your activities, get in touch with Certero.