Ernst & Young predicts that the average vendor’s software audit requires about 200 hours; in complex organizations, that time can escalate to as much as 5,000 hours. You work for a software vendor, where executives are pushing your audit team to generate revenue by finding non-compliance issues. At the same time, they also want you to educate clients on how best to manage their software assets. Your clients don’t want to talk to you; after all, you’re the bad guy. How can you improve customer service when you’re the last person your clients want to see?
As a software company, you have the right to protect your intellectual property, but you have to recognize that your clients hate software audits. As more developers enter the applications space, your clients have more options than ever when they shop for software. Balancing good client relationships with your company’s profit margin can create long-term good will while still protecting company revenue and IP. The key is to change to a “trust but verify” approach.
Why Your Clients Hate Software Audits
Although you probably aren’t as universally despised as an IRS auditor, you’re still the villain when it comes to software licenses. Before your visit, keep in mind why your clients hate the auditing process:
“Trust but Verify” for More Painless Audits
Both software vendors and their clients can benefit from a “trust but verify” approach instead of onerous software licensing audits. In exchange for using an application, an organization agrees to provide usage data so that the software company can monitor compliance and automate auditing. Instead of coming in and auditing “just because,” you can decide whether to perform a more extensive audit by looking at the following questions:
If you don’t have something in-house, then invest in a software monetization solution that can allow you to monitor how your clients use their software licenses. You’ll generate the licensing revenue that your bosses want while becoming an approachable and trusted resource for clients.
About the author: Tony Gillingham has extensive experience with license monitoring and auditing. He recommends software licensing products from SafeNet for the “trust but verify” client relationship.