In the first post in this series, we considered the dreaded audit letter and how you should respond to it. To recap, the main points of the audit process covered so far were assembling your audit team, designating a contact point and understanding the scope of the audit the vendor wishes to undertake. In the response letter, you should request proof of the right to audit, if not already given, insist on a non-disclosure agreement and, if you have one, use a business reason to delay the audit until a time it suits you better. Remember, most vendor audit clauses will include "not unnecessarily impacting on your business".
In the audit letter, the vendor will generally try to tie you to a kick off meeting or call, along with their chosen audit partner (if they have one), to talk through the process of the audit - i.e. what data they want to collect, how they want to collect it, the timeline they want to work to and what they expect you to do. Bear in mind that, even in the case of a formal licence review, they will most likely come across as your friendly uncle trying to offer you some advice on life.
If, as I would hope, you have used the tips we have included so far, then you should be in a pretty good place come the kick off call. If you haven't yet got all of the answers you wanted when you responded to the audit letter, this is the time to get them. Remember that the vendor (and, to a certain extent, the audit partner) is probably counting on you being cowed by the whole process and that you need to show them who is in charge - yes, they may well have a legal right to audit your usage of their software, per the contract you agreed to, but the audit clause certainly won't have too much detail beyond that. Will it compel you to use certain tools to provide data outputs? No. Will it compel you to give them any data they ask for? No. Will it compel you to provide that data to a certain timeline? No. These are the sorts of questions to bear in mind during the kick off meeting.
A few pointers:
These should all set you in good stead to comply with the audit and start working with auditor. In the next post in this series, we will look at the audit process itself, some of the things to look out for while it is ongoing, and some of the things not to do. In the meantime, if you require any support with a software vendor audit, please contact us for a free consultation.