8 Key Software Compliance Activities

Manage software compliance to reduce audit risk
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Purchasing and administering software has never been more challenging than it is today. Licensing agreements and use rights are complex and are impacted by any technology choice made within your enterprise and in the cloud. These agreements are multi-million dollar investments where simple deployment errors can have material financial impact. Adding to compliance risk, a growing number of software vendors force audits that consume your time, resources and typically result in additional large purchases.

You can reduce your compliance risk by implementing these 8 key software compliance activities.

8 Key Software Compliance Activities

1. Be very clear about the vendor agreement terms and penalties

  • Gather all signed agreements
  • Review language for each product along with all associated agreements
  • Understand compliance audit rights and procedures
  • Be clear about the remedy and cost of compliance resolution
  • Work with vendor to consolidate agreements where advantageous
  • Identify any auto-renewal or other triggered contract language
  • Review cancellation language
  • Research any related agreement language on the vendor website

2. Determine the type and quantity of licenses you own

  • Gather all software purchase history
  • Be clear on upgrade rights and path
  • Look for rights that might have been forfeited or transferred
  • Be aware of any geographic restrictions
  • Know when and where the purchase was finalized
  • Review budget and purchase justification documentation

3. Know your software deployment footprint

  • Map all equipment and software using discovery and inventory tools
  • Remove decommissioned equipment and software from CMDB
  • Complete a consolidated and reconciled Enterprise License Position (ELP)
  • Analyze deployment patterns including upgrades and adoption patterns
  • Examine active and planned technology implementations to assess licensing needs
  • Explore technology utilization metrics
  • Understand configuration standards and governance
  • Identify cross-platform licensing implications
  • Review cross-geography deployment
  • Analyze support, incident logs and maintenance history
  • Interview key stakeholders to understand implementation choices

4. Understand your product use rights and risk

  • Map critical terms from all active agreements
  • Look closely at shared, hosted, or virtualized environments
  • Pay extra attention to mobility rights
  • Be clear about upgrade rights for each implementation
  • Review change history for each environment
  • Know how acquisitions, divestitures, consolidations, and company growth impact rights
  • Understand vendor product strategies hidden in the agreements that are incompatible with your needs
  • Review situations triggering purchases, license cancellations, auto-renewals, or audits
  • Be aware that license rules are often intentionally unclear and could change without notice
  • Review governance guidelines and consistency

5. Engage experts to assist as required

  • Complexity requires expert focus and deep understanding of licensing and strategic alternatives
  • Well-intentioned technicians make choices without knowing licensing pitfalls causing risk
  • Experience with ever-changing conditions facilitates optimization
  • Experts use proprietary and industry tools for detailed analysis

6. Optimize license allocation

  • Know your detailed software footprint and ELP
  • Create financial models for each licensing scenario
  • Verify each option with subject matter experts
  • Forecast the cost and effort for any necessary technology environment transformation
  • Launch process to reuse licenses as the environment changes
  • Implement the selected licensing implementation option
  • Monitor installs and hardware configurations to assure continued compliance
  • Stay informed on changing vendor rules that might introduce new risk

7. Purchase necessary licensing to achieve compliance

  • Document the software order details including reason for each choice
  • Improve vendor negotiations backed by knowledge and confidence
  • Complete the purchasing process and review with the key stakeholders

8. Implement process to maintain compliance

  • Refine governance and gain adoption by key stakeholders
  • Continually analyze information provided by discovery tools, inventory systems, and purchasing processes
  • Conduct internal compliance audits and review findings with key stakeholders
  • Institutionalize the purchasing and deployment process so terms are met

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Partnering with BLC puts your resources to their highest use: Your teams stay focused on mission-based, profitable and strategic initiatives while we focus on savings. Those savings can then be directed to priorities within IT, organizationally, or to the bottom line.

Maximizing value is all we do: We review and negotiate hundreds of license and maintenance agreements, true-ups, audits and proposals annually. Individual organizations manage these events as they arise - we see them every day.

Broad insight: Our clients span a wide range of industries including healthcare, insurance, education, banking, logistics and retail. With over a decade of experience, we have insight into best-in-class agreements, arrangements and solutions to position IT as a value-driving entity.