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Dissecting The Microsoft Audit Letter

Software Licensing Advisors, Inc., have contributed an astute dissection and commentary of a recent Microsoft ‘Software Asset Management Review’ letter.

For the layman not familiar with Mega-Vendor audit team lingo, ‘SAM Review’, ‘SAM Engagement’, ‘Optimization’, ‘Benchmarking’ or ‘Cloud Readiness Assessment’ translate in englsh to “Audit”.

As mentioned by a Microsoft partner recently, it might be wrong to assume that all Microsoft Partners operate in this way, but with this amount of money at stake I would advise assuming the worst and being pleasantly surprised by good behaviour. Whatever you do, just make sure you go into one of these engagements with your eyes wide open.

Pay particular attention to Point 1 under ‘engaging your IT Partner’.

A good feed of similar resources to this letter can be found here.

Click on image to enlarge or view the download here.



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. J Senior says:

    We all know
    that vendors / ISVs have compliance teams who have sales goals. This is
    legitimate and licensing contracts have audit clauses included. Vendors seek to
    protect their IP and revenue stream – all of which is legitimate as well. So I
    am not too sure that a request from a vendor can be ignored. A better approach
    may be to ask for additional time. Any thoughts or comments on this?

    A different
    story could be if the audit was sent by a third party.

    No vendor
    will reimburse over-licensing spending. However, just having visibility of such
    can be of help to the customer. They could use those for additional needs or
    sell them (if possible) in the secondary market. There are companies (such as
    Discount Licensing) that specialize in this.

    Agree with
    comment on awareness on engaging IT / SAM Partners. Many of these are vendor
    aligned and whose engagements may be paid by the vendor. Thus customers should
    seek unbiased advice; else the “partner” may primarily serve the needs and
    quotas of the vendor – instead of the customer.

    That said,
    it must be noted that in general Microsoft has a more user friendly approach in
    audit processes than other vendors. However, in Latam; what we are seeing is
    that Microsoft has granted general power to some lawyers whose income I suppose
    comes from the penalties and fines that they can impose on customers. So in
    this sense, the process can be said to be contaminated.

  2. itsmreview says:

    Protecting intellectual property is understandable, using smoke and mirrors to put the customer at a disadvantage is not.

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