The other day, a business partner calls us for a huge favor. He had received an email from Microsoft’s Software Asset Management (SAM) license team for a software compliance audit. Software providers like Microsoft, have been doing periodic software compliance audits on random companies, five or 2000 employees alike.
What happens when Microsoft SAM’s team asks for a Software Compliance Audit?
While illegal licensing may be driving the need for many software developer’s audit requests, doing a are Compliance Audit is a common practice for Microsoft. They aim to help companies get better control over license usage and make sure they comply with their licensing agreements.
Microsoft audit requests are usually sent via email. They come with a copy of licensing agreements owned by the company. The company will be asked to fill in a Deployment Summary spreadsheet. The summary inventories all Microsoft software used and also requires proof of purchase of any retail or OEM software titles that the company is using. Usually, they give you between 5 and 7 days to complete this request, but you are free to ask for an extension if needed. Once Microsoft receives the deployment summary and all proofs of purchase, they will analyze the summary and compare it to existing agreements in their database in order to validate the license agreements. An Estimated License Ownership Position will be generated and provided to you by Microsoft. This informs you of the licenses required in order to become compliant. When all requests are completed, a consolidated report called License Ownership Position will testify that your company fulfilled all audit requirements.
What happens when SAM team says “Hello”?
In the best case scenario, you can call your IT provider. They might be able to help you go through the process. If not, Microsoft has developed a specific licensing competency and requesting the help of a certified partner, that has experience and competencies, to walk you through an audit, can prove to be more efficient and enable you to meet the deadlines.
As not all IT service providers offer license audit support as part of their services, you could work directly with the Microsoft auditing team as well. They will guide you throughout the process, but you will still have to gather the information on your network and fill in the Deployment Summery with the required information:
- Inventory of your equipment: desktops, tablets, terminals, smart phones, printers, servers.
- List of all relevant software installed on the listed equipment.
- The associated licenses being used.
- Provide the required proof or purchase or COA, for retail or OEM licenses,
- Validate all the accounts or company names that you might have existing agreements with Microsoft
- And so on…
In the majority of cases, the Estimated License Ownership Position provided by Microsoft requires purchasing some additional licenses in order to become compliant. This is where a well-done audit will help you save money. Having the professional advice and technical support of a Microsoft certified partner, will help to provide a clearer image of the software you have and what you will need to purchase.
When all requests are completed, Microsoft will send you a License Ownership Position testifying that your company fulfilled the audit requirements. You will also receive a Software Assets Management (SAM) tips guide to help you minimize the future risks of non-compliance and have better control over license usage.
To summarize, despite all the headaches and time invested in looking for licenses, invoices, COAs, and keys, at the end of this process, you will have an organised, easy to manage consolidated report that you can use in the future, and the assurance that your company licence program is compliant. Next time Microsoft asks for a software audit, you will be more prepared.
Be one step ahead SAM team
Volume licensing is the easiest and most advantageous by far, and they are easy to manage. While they are slightly more expensive, having the option to customize the purchase will help your company improve software management and eliminate wasted licensing resources. Keep this option in mind for future purchases as it can save you time when audited.
If you have already purchased OEM or Retail licenses or you are planning to, a system has to be put in place, in case of an audit, or reinstallation, where you will need the COA (Certificate of Authenticity). Keep a copy of the COA and keys as well as the proof of purchase in a safe place, this will save a lot of headaches later.
If you don’t know where to start, take advantage of our Volume Licensing Competency and give us a call 514-949-2336. We can help you out!
Have you received a software audit request lately or still not sure you have the licenses that your company needs?