“Vendor software audit” – those three words are guaranteed to make any IT manager nervous. Because once you have Microsoft, Oracle, or any other large software provider on the phone asking you to prove you have the licences your usage requires, they want the numbers, and they want them fast – often within days or weeks.
Get them right, and you’ll be saving your organisation a lot of money, proving your competence and perhaps making future audits less frequent. Get them wrong, and you’re looking at potentially significant unplanned costs, a very unhappy boss and more intense scrutiny in the future.
The rise and rise of the software audit
It’s an issue that’s increasingly important because vendor audits are becoming more widespread. Leading industry analysts estimate that the proportion of organisations being audited, either by industry groups or vendors themselves, has increased from around 30% five years ago to 60% now.
From the vendors’ perspective, that’s understandable, given that the commercial value of unlicensed software on PCs alone amounted to over US$62 billion (around £40 billion, AU$80 billion), according to the 2013 BSA Global Software Survey.