Software audits are not as scary as you think

Lack of compliance with software licenses can cost businesses a lot of money, not to mention the negative effects of being caught out on an audit.

A new report from asset management specialists Express Metrix looks at the impact and outcome of software audits, uncovers some interesting facts, and busts some myths.

Based on interviews with 178 respondents in organizations of varying sizes, it found that 53 percent reported their workplace had been subject to a software audit in the last two years. The vendors most likely to have carried out audits are Microsoft, Adobe, AutoDesk and Oracle. Though in organizations with more than 10,000 employees IBM overtakes Oracle for fourth place.

What's interesting is organizations that had implemented asset management tools showed a 32 percent lower audit rate. This may be due to software vendors learning over time which companies have the best grasp of their license positions.

The findings of the report also show that the perception surrounding software audits often doesn't tally with the reality. Often companies worry about the audit process, but 57 percent of audited respondents described their relationship with the software vendor as consultative and collaborative, with only 20 percent saying it was "contentious" -- though this figure rises to 40 percent in larger organizations.

It also seems to be a myth that companies have little time to prepare for audits. Nearly half of organizations were given a month or more notice. Audits were also over relatively quickly, only 45 percent lasting three months or more from request to resolution.

The final misconception is that a software audit means you're bound to end up owing money to the vendor. In fact almost half (43 percent) of respondents reported owing no money to their vendors at the end of the audit process.

The report concludes, "...while just over a third of respondents report having being audited in the last year, the software audit risk touted by analysts such as Gartner and widely publicized in the media appears to be significantly overstated. Organizations that have undergone audits appear to have leveraged their experience to further refine their approach to compliance, including changing internal practices, investing in licensing expertise, and increasing the frequency of internal audits".

You can read a full copy of the report on the Express Metrix website.

Photo Credit: Georgejmclittle/Shutterstock

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