At the beginning of a software audit, the software vendors will introduce you to your auditors. These people may be from an external auditing firm, like Deloitte or KMPG, or be part of an internal auditing team from the software vendor themselves. It might be tempting to assume that these auditors are the experts and will provide all the assistance you need to get through your software audit smoothly.

However, at MetrixData 360, we know firsthand how very little these auditing teams are invested in looking after your company’s interests or even represent your case accurately. We firmly believe that you will need a software audit defense team of your own to verify the auditor’s findings, and working with an external SAM team is an excellent way to create a strong defense.

But what exactly is the difference between blindly trusting the software auditors and getting your own team to defend you?

Software Auditors are hired by the Software Vendor

The first and most important thing to note when you are working with a software auditor vs. a SAM expert is that the software auditor has been hired by the software vendor and that will greatly affect their motivation during the audit. They may be paid based on how large a compliance gap they can find, and this will create a bias in their efforts.

If there are any grey areas or missing data, they will assume the most expensive scenario is the reality, and it is unlikely they will dig any deeper than that. Why would they? Further research will either present no effect or possibly negatively affect their final payment. 

SAM Experts are Neutral Third Parties

Software Asset Management Professionals, on the other hand, are people that your company hires, so they are here to represent your interests. Their goal is to keep things as legal, accurate, and cost-effective as possible.
Where there are grey areas, they will seek out the answers — whatever those answers may be. At MetrixData 360, we always pride ourselves in defending the best interests of our clients and we usually charge based on a flat rate or on a contingency basis, and our approach has often led to whittling down seemingly huge compliance gaps to much more manageable levels (or even nothing!).

Software Auditors will Ask for Data Outside the Scope of Your Audit

We have often run up against software auditors who collect data that has nothing to do with the audit they have been hired to investigate. The reasons for this may vary: perhaps they aren’t finding the results they need within the scope of the audit and they are trying to spread their investigations elsewhere, or perhaps the software vendor is looking for data with a competitive edge that has everything to do with your next true-up and nothing to do with the audit you’re in right now. Blindly handing over data simply because it is what the software auditor asked for can easily put you at a disadvantage as you help the software auditors build a case against you!

SAM Experts Know What Data the Auditors Need and Which They Don’t

We recently helped our client drive their Oracle audit to a stalemate (a valuable thing, as it gave our client the time they needed to thoroughly prepare a defense for the audit that followed) simply because the software auditors asked for a piece of data, and we asked them to provide proof for how that data was relevant to the audit (hint: it wasn’t, and it would have been used against our client later).

SAM experts know how audits work. In fact, at MetrixData 360 we have it down to a science, and they know when a piece of data needs to be handed over and when the software auditors have taken too much liberty poking around your software environment. They can defend your best interests by keeping you from handing over documents the auditors don’t need to see.

Software Auditors will not Accept Data from Your SAM Tools

It doesn’t matter if your SAM tool is high powered or accurate, it might even be approved by the software vendor who is auditing you, but software auditors will usually refuse to accept data unless it is drawn by their own tools. There are a few reasons for this, but it is mainly because the auditors want consistent data that is arranged in a certain way to save themselves time.

However, this is a terrible situation for you, because you do not know what their SAM tool will pick up. It may not take into consideration the unique licensing metrics and complexities of your software environment, and it may come up with a wildly inaccurate number that will leave you blindsided and scrambling to disprove.

Your software architecture is delicate. What will happen if the auditor’s tool needs to be installed into your software environment and the tool damages it? Your first job during the software audit is to defend and prove the accuracy of your own tool.

SAM Experts Work with Your Tools and Come with Their Own

At MetrixData 360, we work with what you give us. If you have your own SAM tools, we can work with the data it provides us and supplements any missing data with our own tools. If you don’t have your own tools, we can use ours exclusively, so there’s nothing to worry about.

With a SAM expert on the team, you shouldn’t have to resort to throwing all the hard-earned data that you’ve gathered with your SAM tool in the trash just because the software auditors aren’t used to working with the format your data is presented in. We often advise advocating for the validity of your own SAM tool by asking your software auditors to use data samples to determine accuracy or agree to use the software auditor’s tools only to supplement for missing data.

Related: Interested in Learning more about SAM Tools? Check out our article:
What Are SAM Tools

Get Data Experts that Represent Your Interests!

Software audits are not everyone’s cup of tea, and the software auditors that attend them often do not make the matter easier. Between unreasonable requests, ELPs that claim you owe thousands more than you actually do, and aggressively short turnaround times, software auditors can make the challenge of defending yourself that much harder if you are left to rely only on their services.

It’s important that you have someone in your corner backing you, someone who knows the intricate and unique inner workings of your software environment and knows how to defend your interests so that you are paying only what you need. MetrixData 360 can give you that kind of support. We have helped many companies fight their way out of seemingly hopeless situations and saved them millions of dollars in the process. If you’d like to learn more about how MetrixData 360 can help you during your next software audit, you can check out our Audit Defense Service Page.

About Mike Austin

Mike AustinMike Austin is the CEO and team lead here at MetrixData 360. Mike brings more than 15 years of Microsoft licensing experience to his clients’ projects. He assists companies with negotiations of Microsoft Enterprise Agreements (EA), Premier Support Contracts, and Select Agreements, from Fortune 500 to organizations with as few as 500 employees. Mike's vast experience across multiple industries including financial services, high tech, manufacturing, media, health care, government, and retail give him an edge in any business environment. In addition to helping negotiate contracts, he assists clients with creating and implementing software asset management processes to prevent over-purchasing of licenses and ensures terms and conditions reflect actual usage.