"Where appropriate, licence verification can be an effective lever to increase short-term revenue and contracts coming up for renewal should be reviewed and optimised where possible."
The quote above is from a recently released report from Strategy& (part of the PwC network) entitled "Where Next for the Software Industry?", which The Register have brought to light in this piece. "Licence verification" is, of course, code for audit. It's hardly a surprise that this advice has come from PwC either - after all, they conduct licence audits for several vendors, notably Microsoft and VMware. If their customers want to explore revenue options through auditing, then PwC could stand to gain from that. Maybe we're just cynics.
During the current uncertain times, any approach from a software vendor to conduct an audit should be batted away as we have previously blogged. There is usually a get out in any audit clause and it's just about understanding the contract and its implications. In our April blog we cited several high-profile software vendor audit clauses and demonstrated how you could get round them during the pandemic. Once business returns to normal (whatever the new normal ends up being!), it may well be a different matter. Several software vendors have made free stuff available to their customers to help them execute business continuity plans - Microsoft, Zoom, Citrix and Google are all notable in this field - and they will be looking to collect on that goodwill.
If you do end up being confronted with an audit request post-pandemic, the most important thing is not to panic. We previously published a 4-part series of blogs on how to handle a software vendor audit, which you can find here, here, here and here. If you want to learn more about constructing an audit strategy and management process, our managing consultant, Barry Pilling will be teaching a course on Software Audit Defence at the end of June, in conjunction with the ITAM Review. For more details and to book on to this course, please go to this link. And if you want to engage us to support you with creating an audit strategy or mounting an audit defence on your behalf, you can book a free consultation with us here to discuss your requirements further.