I’ve had the opportunity to work with an end-user organization following their receipt of a Microsoft SAM review letter. While there have been a number of organizations and consultants who have written about their respective learnings following these types of reviews audits, I found this organizations response interesting. Not only did this organizaton want to address the Microsoft request, it also fundamentally changed how they go about managing their software and it worked with Microsoft to create a win-win situation. My experience up until now has been one of organizations wanting to do anything possible (including paying a large settlement) to get the vendor out the door.
In 2014, Microsoft sent a letter requesting to audit the organizations facilities in EMEA to their primary contact. This was the organizations first vendor audit. The primary contact immediately responded saying they would cooperate. However, they also said it would be helpful to understand the entire process (what information Microsoft would need, and when) so that they could build their project plan.
Based on the efforts the organization made, here are my top six learnings for surviving a Microsoft license review:
1) Microsoft (and other vendors) conduct hundreds and thousands of these reviews Vendors know how most organizations will respond based on history and data. Before responses and data are shared with any vendor, make certain you establish a team of key stakeholders and include one person who’s responsible for the data collection and analysis and only a single spokesperson who communicates with the audit team. You want to ensure data accuracy, accountability, and a consistent external voice.