Software audit is not close to the top of the list of business buzzwords, but it is a reality for most companies. When it comes to certain software applications, licenses must be purchased to use the program legally. Companies can make these purchases through vendors who are usually the ones behind the audit. This is to ensure the software is being used as intended as well as licensed properly. However, this is not some regularly scheduled appointment.
Just when a company least expects it, a software audit appears out of thin air and the everyday work routine for IT employees must shift to accommodate it. With how demanding an audit can be, scrambling for information and organization after receiving the notice of an audit will only make the process that much more difficult.
Therefore, it stands to reason that preparing ahead of time for the arrival of the audit notice is the best course of action towards attaining a positive outcome. The last thing anyone wants to happen is to face a large fine for being outside an agreement. Motivational speaker and author Jack Canfield summed this up, “I believe people make their own luck by great preparation and good strategy.”
With how much goes into a software audit, outside opinion regarding how best to approach the audit could prove beneficial. Below, a few business experts have helped us put together the essential software audit checklist for small businesses.
Are You Using It?
Jae Pak is the Founder of Jae Pak MD Medical, a brand offering hair transplant services. He believes it necessary to review the status of software use across a company on a regular basis.
“There are times when the budget or organizational foresight got further ahead of itself than it was prepared to do. Or there are instances where employees decide to take their talents elsewhere. Either way, companies will find times where they hold more active licenses to a software program than they are currently using. Obviously, this will be found in any audit. But, leaving this to them is only costing you money as you’re paying for something not used. Are you using all your licenses? If not, save yourself some money.”
Peels specializes in CBD oil made from oranges. Their Founder and CEO, Chris Hetherington, suggests paying close attention to the wording used in the information sent to a company pertaining to the software audit.
“Every software vendor or other auditor is incredibly careful about the words they use in the notifications they send you. Why is this intentional? Well, if they can get an inside look at your operations without the law on their side, it is an opportunity to find fault and make additional money. This might be news to some but not every notification from a vendor that appears to be a legally binding audit is one. Ask yourself as you review the material, is this mandatory and why? It might save you a headache.”
In many cases, a surprise is a welcomed event. In a software audit, this may not always be the case. Readers.com is a business providing men’s and women’s affordable reading glasses. Their Chief Experience Officer, Fred Gerantabee, considers it important to keep track of every relevant detail.
“The larger your company gets, the more software agreements there are across a variety of devices. A lack of knowledge surrounding these agreements could cause a few things to slip behind the couch. Any knowledgeable auditor will be quick to pick up on the fact that someone has limited knowledge about the agreements in place and the location of them as well. I’ve seen it happen where a software audit rolls around, and members of the company were surprised at the volume of agreements or even that a specific software was in place. The lack of this knowledge not only shows unawareness but could create awkward situations with your auditors.”
Steven Vigilante is the Head of New Business Development of OLIPOP, a brand offering canned soda that uses plant-based ingredients to mimic the tastes of traditional, classic sodas. He advises others to invest in software to manage software licenses.
“It may sound Dr. Seuss-like but a company with more than a few licenses is going to need software for their software. Here’s what I mean; software asset management tools, or SAM for short, allow companies to have a deep understanding of every aspect of the licensing side of their technology. From license timing to the collecting of data, these tools will give you a head-to-toe look at where you stand. If you’re always in good standing, then there’s never a reason to worry about an audit.”
Fighting For You specializes in personal injury law. Their CMO, Max Schwartzapfel, believes keeping a watchful eye on the expiration of agreements to be highly valuable.
“Like in life, a software problem left to fester will become a much larger one that’s far more difficult to overcome than the one left alone. For example, I’m sure you have software agreements that will not auto-renew. If this is not handled before that date passes, it can cause productivity issues, additional financial costs, and even legal difficulties. These are things every company wants to avoid no matter what. Reminders can be helpful in this area. Whatever your preferred method, don’t forget to check the dates.”
Seabreeze Management is a business providing full-service property management services for various property types. Their CEO, Isaiah Henry, proposes establishing an NDA between the three parties.
“The correct and fair version of a software audit involves a current vendor conducting an audit while an independent part does the same. The idea here is that the two parties would be a check against each other so no foul play is enacted by the vendor or client. But if the correct paperwork isn’t in place, this idea can go out the window and you could be at the mercy of two parties working in unison. I’m talking about a non-disclosure agreement of course. That way, you can be certain all information is kept separate and you can receive the most accurate audit of your software.”
Jason Reposa is the Founder and CEO of Good Feels, a brand offering cannabis-infused seltzers and beverage enhancers. He cautions others to ensure they have a proper system in place to store licenses.
“Unfortunately, a software audit won’t take companies at their word, and they will require you to provide copies of every license. It’s up to you whether this process becomes a laborious one or not. If you must spend hours combing computers for the right documents, then you’re already behind the eight ball. Your IT staff should be given the budget or equipment necessary to implement a storage system specifically for software licenses. When the auditors come calling, you can give them one location and move on with your day.”
SONU Sleep specializes in mattresses designed for side sleepers. Their CEO, Bradley Hall, considers it critical to be habitual about managing anything related to software licensing.
“With numerous items vying for your attention on any given workday, taking the time to review up-to-date information about your computer program licenses should become a routine. It does sound a bit dull, and probably is for most. But when it does become a routine, you’ll find that any issues that arise are sorted out much quicker allowing for your next software audit feel like a walk in the park. On top of this, you’ll be able to salvage money that may have been lost to an unused license payment. Overall, this practice is a win-win.”
When software audits happen, it is an additional level of stress in an environment that can be a hotbed for stress. Hence, the importance of being ready for when they do happen. Motivational speaker Brian Tracy put it best, “The foundation of confidence in virtually every field is preparation.”