If license shortfalls come to light during a software-audit or a SAM Baseline Review; it will most certainly have a financial impact on your business.

Organizations often have to deal with audits where the initiative comes from Microsoft. Usually, the purpose of this audit is to give the reseller and the salesperson of a vendor the opportunity to sell additional licenses.

During an audit, it’s often an external specialized third-party who performs the audit on behalf of Microsoft. In other cases, there are also audits where the initiative comes from The Software Alliance, formerly known as the Business Software Alliance (BSA)Licensing audit Q Advise

In any case, if a software audit from Microsoft or an external auditor is starting, it is important to engage with an independent expert in a timely manner. This means that any non-compliance can be detected in time so remedial actions can be carried out with existing licenses or second-hand licenses.

During external audits, the vendor does not look for a solution that fits the situation, but rather for a solution with extra sales as a goal, therefore giving an extra reward for the salespeople. A lot of financial damage can be prevented by engaging independent advice from Q Advise in time.

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What to do during a license audit?

When you receive a message (direct mail or email) from Microsoft, it is important to take the message seriously. Go ahead and respond to the letter. If you don’t, Microsoft will send you reminders. If you do not respond to their letter at all, Microsoft will eventually reach out to an accounting firm or an audit firm to check your company for Microsoft licenses. This is usually very expensive.

When your organization receives a letter from Microsoft, it is important to inform the IT department or IT service provider about this letter. The IT department should already have a head-start with the inventory. The inventory should contain all the information that is important for your organization. Consider the number of used PCs, licenses and the volume of license agreements. Your company must be able to demonstrate the proof of purchase for all installed software. The documentation must be kept up-to-date at all times. This way you’ll be able to respond quickly to the Microsoft license audit. If you have not made such an inventory yet, it is good to know that this takes time and dedication. The inventory can, depending on the size of the Organization, take two business days or even more.

When contact is made with Microsoft, they will send you an Excel work file to fill in. All precise information for each and every Microsoft product must be entered in this work file. You’ll then need to forward this work file to Microsoft. After the work file has been forwarded, Microsoft will analyze and evaluate it and contact you. At the last contact, Microsoft will inform you whether your organization has too many or too few Microsoft licenses and / or whether the SAM audit has thus been completed. In some cases, there might be additional steps. Here Microsoft asks some additional questions, such as “Why does your organization only have xxx licenses for this software product and more for yyy product?”. The licensing experts at Q Advise provide a high-level of support during a licensing audit.

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