Assumption is the mother of all mistakes
When you hire a consulting company to support your business, you put your trust into their competencies and assume they have your best interest in mind – even more so when your company’s reputation and hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars are at stake, as is the case with Software Asset Management. However, when a consultant can potentially work for both you and the software publisher, it’s difficult to know whose interest comes first. Before you sign a contract with a consultant that also conduct audits on behalf of software publishers, you might want to think again.
When the consulting company becomes the auditor (on behalf of the software publisher), their interest also switches and whatever they tell you regarding your data can’t be considered the absolute truth – this also applies when the auditor is the software publisher itself. With an approach driven by the audit outcome, the auditor will try to find situations that show you are non-compliant. However, because of the complex licensing rules most publishers have, often what might seem non-compliant at first can turn out to be compliant when delving deeper into the details. Make sure that you have an in-depth understanding of your data yourself, instead of putting all your trust in the conclusions shared by the auditors.
When you decide to work with hosting providers, you also assume that they understand all the intricacies of licensing and everything they do is keeping you compliant. But is that really the case? When you rely on an outside party to manage your data, be aware that you, as the end-user, are still ultimately responsible for being licensed correctly. Often, the hosting provider lacks the in-depth understanding of how your software products are licensed and may take decisions that will lead to your organization being non-compliant. You should always make sure you have someone who knows everything about software licensing and can ensure you are compliant.
Another situation where companies tend to trust others is when they negotiate a commercial deal with the software publisher. Even if you have a long-term relationship with the publisher, you shouldn’t assume that the account manager will offer you the most suitable and cost effective (cloud) option for your company. They will still try to fulfill their own organization’s needs, putting yours on second. Here too, it is best to work with someone who understands your needs - current and future - and can validate how the offered price compares to that of other, similar organization. Based on that, they can advise if the offer you received from the software publisher matches your needs, or if further negotiation is required.