The ITAM Review

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78% Have Experienced a Vendor Audit in the Last Year

I conducted a brief straw poll on vendor audit activity back in July. Thank you to everyone that took part, I apologise for the delay in publishing the results.

In a nutshell: 78% experienced a vendor audit in the last year, average 2.5 audits, most helpful Microsoft, least helpful Oracle.

The aim of the straw poll was to gauge sentiment amongst readers of The ITAM Review. There are no great surprises in the results – but I found it useful to validate what I hear anecdotally in the market.


  • For the vast majority of organisations – it’s not a case of if you get audited but how many times
  • Large organisations get audited more often – no surprises there
  • Most interesting are the ‘Off the record’ comments – see below.

Vendor Audit Activity Straw Poll Results (July 2010)

Off The Record…

  • “Adobe proving to be very aggressive to the point of being detrimental to the relationship”
  • “Audits are becoming the norm – Implement a SW License Mgmt. function”
  • “Audits are lengthy but if demonstrated process, communication and history of self assessments exist the result can often be rebates or $’s owed to the company being audited. Most vendors entitlement info is wrong so don’t fold if you have good payment histories”
  • “Microsoft is the only Vendor to actually look at an organisations SAM strategy as part of the process, not just the license position.”
  • “Microsoft is more or less running the SAM track instead of clean audits.”
  • “No requests received in past 12 months.”
  • “There is an incredible amount of politics that goes on behind the scenes which means audits are very unpredictable. One day they’re aggressive, the next things calm down as if nothing ever happened. Emotionally it’s a roller coaster ride for everyone concerned. The publishers seem to set themselves targets based on an early estimate of the shortfall, and as you pull in more and more evidence to pull that settlement figure down, things become ever more fraught. My 3 pieces of advice are: a) fight every inch of the way; b) involve your best negotiators –  the ones who ‘know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run….’ and c) have an escalation path so you can calm things down by avoiding making decisions on the spot.”
  • “This is a concern for us but have been fortunate enough not have had any requests.”
  • “Our County Government does not have centralized purchasing or receiving which makes tracking difficult.”
  • “IBM quite helpful, but often don’t know their own ‘Rights to Use’ “

On The Record…

Cary A. King, CEO- Managing Partner, Minerva Enterprises

“We are seeing a big jump in SAM activity:

  • If a company terminates maintenance – they are very likely to be audited.
  • If a company seeks assistance from one of the large software resellers – they are very likely to be audited.

We have one client that was so far out of whack that, with one vendor, they had a true-up that cost them 11% of their total annual IT budget. What we’re seeing is that, even after the massive contractions in personnel, many companies are afraid to renegotiate software deals – and save lots from over-licensing – because of their poor SAM.”

Organization Size

  • 0-250 22%
  • 250-10,000 50%
  • 10,000+ 28%

Other Vendors actively auditing: Informatica, Novell, Windriver, Corel/WinZip, Autodesk, Quest, Mathworks

See Also:

About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource for worldwide ITAM professionals. The ITAM Review is best known for its weekly newsletter of all the latest industry updates, LISA training platform, Excellence Awards and conferences in UK, USA and Australia.

Martin is also the founder of ITAM Forum, a not-for-profit trade body for the ITAM industry created to raise the profile of the profession and bring an organisational certification to market. On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

He is also the author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management. In addition, Martin developed the PITAM training course and certification.

Prior to founding the ITAM Review in 2008 Martin worked for Centennial Software (Ivanti), Silicon Graphics, CA Technologies and Computer 2000 (Tech Data).

When not working, Martin likes to Ski, Hike, Motorbike and spend time with his young family.

Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.


  1. Peter Alderson says:

    Martin –
    You may be interested to know that Oracle has a brand new initiative (OAM – Oracle Asset Management)

    that introduces SAM expertise to help our customers be proactive to improve their with SAM capability.
    It addresses the issue

    indicated that as a vendor, we can do, and wish to do more to help with SAM.
    I am responsible for delivering this in the UK.

  2. Thanks Peter – I look forward to

    hearing more about your OAM initiative.

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