Users struggling to get clarity in face of software audit wave

With three quarters of firms having faced at least one software audit in the last year many are still trying to deal with application management on an ad hoc and manual basis

UK firms are facing an ever growing number of software audits but many continue to fail to take action to put themselves into a position where they can handle a vendor knocking on the door asking to look at licenses.

Even with 76% of those firms quizzed in research by 1E revealing they had gone through an audit this year, with 52% more than once and 17% getting through more than five in the last twelve months, many are taking an ad hoc approach to keeping an eye on their software licenses.

The research discovered that a third of firms were still using ad hoc and manual methods to keep an eye on software and just shy of half did not have any type of tool that could identify unused software.

In the defence of users the licensing landscape has become more complicated with virtualisation causing problems for many trying to work out what they need to pay for with Sumir Karayi, CEO of 1E, acknowledging that software license management was becoming harder.

"Getting application licensing right is hard enough in the physical world, but in a world of desktop and server virtualisation, organisations are faced with a whole new level of complexity.  It’s clear that organisations need to get a grip on what exactly they are using and have the ability to compare it to what they need from both an operational and compliance standpoint in order to remain efficient and competitive," he said.

“Software licensing represents a major cost, is an administrative burden and a hidden liability for many organisations, with this research clearly showing it is consuming far too much of the IT budget than is necessary.  Software vendors are wise to the fact that organisations are struggling to get a handle on their software licensing, so today, it is no longer a question of if they will be audited, but when, and vendors are actively using the threat of these audits as sales opportunities," he added.

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The predatory practices of the software vendors is at best dubious at and worst deceptive and misleading conduct, all in the name of maximising software licence sales.

Software Compliance Audits on demand are nothing new, they have been around since 1991 when it comes to PC software installations. The audit is initiated by either the software vendor in its own right through their legal counsel, or a member organization such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Software Information and Industry Association (SIIA) or the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST).

Stating the obvious, most of these software audits are all about generating additional license revenue for the software vendor and/or “naming and shaming the victims”!

What PCProfile finds as astounding, is that since 1991 nothing has been done by the software OEM vendors to make it easier for the organization that has been targeted for a software audit, in terms of “accurately identifying” what has been installed by the software vendors with their applications. see and

We are calling for a petition to be signed at to stop these audits as in many cases theses industry groups have no right to do so I (at smaller sites) as there isn't an audit clause in the licence agreement.

“Many sites are confirming that they are being asked to verify via an audit demand letter, their state and levels of compliance with licence conditions. If you haven’t had a software vendor audit yet, be patient as it's really a question of
"not if, but when". Gartner is also confirming this view through their own surveys. If you are the subject of an "on demand unannounced software audit", your best strategy is to generate the right information and make sure you use the right staff to engage in the written response – don’t let it the vendor dictate the terms of the audit. Engage your legal advice promptly!”

Together we can bring about change.

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