Microsoft SAM vs Audit

Aah, the Microsoft SAM. I’m sure by now that you have been offered a Microsoft SAM Engagement by your “friendly neighbourhood” Account Team. If not, it’s likely coming. It seems that just about everyone has had the offer of a Microsoft SAM Engagement dropped in their lap, and clients are not sure if this is a friendly engagement or a full-blown Audit.

Let’s be honest, NOBODY likes the prospect of an Audit, but an Audit certainly does generate a TON of revenue for all software vendors. Of course, Microsoft will tell you that a Microsoft SAM Engagement is not a full-blown Audit, because Audit’s don’t sit well with customers. However, it may seem that a Microsoft SAM Engagement is indeed a warm and fuzzy way of telling you that you are about to be Audited.  I’m going to explain some of the similarities and differences, so you can be the judge.

  • A Microsoft SAM Engagement is usually completed by Microsoft or a trusted Partner. The Microsoft Audit is conducted by a 3rd party auditing firm.
  • The Process between a Microsoft SAM and a Microsoft Audit are the same. In both situations, the auditors will look to run the same tools, pulling the same data (often more than is required), and making the same assumptions based on that data.
  • Under a Microsoft SAM Engagement, if potential licensing gaps are found, a client can deal with any gaps by making purchases under their existing agreements. In an official Audit, the vendor often has the right to push that any licensing gaps be addressed at list price plus an uplift (usually 15%).
  • Under a full-blown Microsoft Audit, you may be required to pay for the 3rd party Auditor fees in full. Under a Microsoft SAM Engagement, you will not have to pay for the process.
  • Clients ask if they can decline a Microsoft SAM Engagement. The simple answer is “yes”, but I stress that this is generally NOT a good idea. If you have been selected for a full-blown Microsoft Audit, you cannot decline.
  • Both the Microsoft SAM and the Microsoft Audit are huge revenue generating tools for Microsoft. While the Microsoft SAM approach tends to be softer than a full-blown Audit, the end result is often a sizable check being written to Microsoft.

The best way to prepare for a SAM Engagement or Microsoft Audit is to not face them alone. MetrixData360 specializes in helping our clients through the process while freeing up your resources.

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