Managing a Supplier Licence Audit

Why does a supplier initiate an audit of your organisation, & how much notice are you given?  What should you produce as 'proof of good process'?  How do you challenge the outcome of an 'exceptional audit'? Does having an enterprise agreement make a difference?


Invariably, supplier software audits are commercially motivated.  The word 'aggressive' is commonly used in relation to the software supplier's approach to audits even if it started as an offer of friendly help in getting the most from your licences.  In any 3 year period you are likely to have a hostile audit by multiple major software suppliers, it is apparent that the main requestors will be Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, IBM, ClearSwift, Quest, BEA Systems - CA tends not to request audits.  Triggers for audits are usually related to some kind of change: mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing support, reductions in business or failed bids with the supplier, or even requesting a Microsoft Claret report.  "By challenging omissions and misinterpretations I cut down their claim by one third. I could have done more if I had had more time."  "The end result of help is that the supplier gets money".  "If you have ClearSwift products then get rid of them. They are a complete cowboy outfit."  "Do vendors really think that big companies go out of their way to install software illegally? We absolutely don't: it can damage the corporate reputation."  "Vendors make it difficult to remain compliant and know there is a big chance that large organisations will not be (fully) compliant."  "Oracle requested an audit the day after we chose SAP over Oracle."  "I ended up being railroaded into a ridiculously short window to agree the position, and Microsoft put a lot of pressure on me."

Participating Organisations

This workshop was attended by senior professionals with experience of software licence management and audits from 20 organisations covering both the private and public sector including organisations from Central Government, Energy, Logistics, Manufacturing and Professional Support Services.  They met to establish good practice around licence audit management and to exchange experiences of 'exceptional' audits.

Delegate stats:

Total employees represented- 97,000

Total annual spend on IT- £1,021million

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"Just wanted to say thanks; another great day where I have come out with more knowledge than I entered with"

"Many thanks; [the event was] very good and beneficial"

"I have never not found a day interesting"

"The Corporate IT Forum is a fantastic level check, free of vendor sell and consultancy hype. I like the open sharing of experience…"

"We get valuable knowledge and experience from members of The Corporate IT Forum. This helps us to make better and informed decisions to reach our business goals…"

"The knowledge from other people on what they are doing/have done is invaluable to my team"

"The workshop validated the marketplace for supplier apps; participants were of a uniformly high standard; personally, I value highly the ethos of the Forum in the fact that it is supplier independent"

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