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Microsoft SPLA Audit Notifications…

Tis’ the season to be merry!  To bring a little holiday cheer, Microsoft is gifting you an audit!  In this article, I will break down some of the tricks to stay ahead of the game when Mr. Audit comes knocking.  If you need help, please email us at info@splalicensing.com We have the resources and the expertise to help navigate through the process.

Do’s of an audit:

  1. Do a pre audit yourself.  This is best to engage a third-party to know what is in your environment and what the auditors will look for.  I like to think of it this way, if you pay your reseller 20k dollars a month (as an example) don’t you want to make sure you get it right?
  2. Use your own tool or method to collect the information.  We know (and so does Microsoft) that you may not be collecting everything that auditor’s will  look for but that’s one of the reasons why you should engage a third-party.  We can use your data but we will compare it against the licensing rights so we know the risk before it becomes a risk.
  3. Know and understand customer owned licenses.  Auditors will look at everything that is installed in your hosted environment.  You need to know what you should be reporting and what you can get away with not reporting.
  4. Engage with the publisher, not disengage.  Avoiding the notification will not solve anything and put you in a tricky situation.
  5. Keep calm.  Overreacting doesn’t help your cause.

Don’t’s of an audit:

  1. Similar to 4-5 mentioned above, don’t be a jerk.  Kind of like getting mad at another driver at a stoplight, it never solves anything.
  2. Hire a law firm to work with Microsoft on your behalf.  If that happens, the publisher will engage their legal and it becomes very black and white.  In this case, my bet is on the company with the billions of dollars in their bank account.  If you engage in a third-party, it’s best to work with the third-party directly with your organization, not the third-party work with the publisher.
  3. Give the auditors everything they ask.  Sometimes they ask for things that are not relevant to the situation.
  4. Throw in the towel.  Even organizations who never report SPLA but are hosting can find a way to negotiate.
  5. Rush to close it.  There are strategies that work out to your benefit if you hold off.  Another benefit is it may give you better financial options.

Happy Holidays!

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Compliance, Uncategorized

 

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Opinion – Microsoft audits will skyrocket in 2018

Microsoft compliance programs are not going away and will increase significantly in the coming years.  Why such a doom and gloom outlook?  In this article, I will highlight some of the reasons but more importantly the ways to stay ahead of the game before Mr. Audit comes knocking on your door.

This past week, most of my articles had to do with CSP, Azure, and more CSP.   To no surprise, CSP is the direction Microsoft is moving towards for the partner community.  Check out my friend www.csplicensing.com 🙂 Licensing is not getting easier, in fact it’s getting harder.  Check out my Azure Stack article if you don’t believe me.  That article will either put you to sleep or give you a headache.

In today’s world, a service provider is not just licensing SPLA, they are combining on premise licenses, different cloud vendors, and hybrid licenses.   Unless you focus full-time on licensing, one misstep can ruin an organization.  In the coming weeks and months, I will focus heavily on all the cloud transitions and as the title of this blog site states ‘uncover the complexities of SPLA licensing.”

So why will audits rise?   There’s two reasons: 1) Licensing is confusing.  Publishers know there’s no “one-size fits all” solution to solving all licensing complexities and scenarios.  2).  With the push towards the public cloud (such as Azure), CFO’s and owners will start to wonder why they mess with the licensing at all, especially after a large compliance settlement  from an audit.  The goal will be to move to AWS or move to Azure and let them deal with the complexities licensing.

What do you do?   Throw in the towel and say, “they win” or develop a strategy to maintain compliance and create a solution to help your customers?  My advice? Don’t throw in the towel.

  1. Develop a license management practice.  Licensing is a full-time commitment (Full-time job).
  2. Don’t cave in.  I get it, that’s easier said than done – even for SPLA Man.  I HATE confrontation in all areas of my life but compliance.  I always like to see the underdog win the audit battles.  When SPLA started, I felt it was the rest of the world v. the SPLA community.  ABS – Anything But SPLA.  I still feel that way today (even stronger).  When was the last time you talked to a representative or were offered advice to help grow your business?  I am an advocate for the hosting community and the primary reason I started this blog in the first place.  Checkout my “About” section written over 4 years ago.  Don’t get bullied into the tricks of the audit.  If you need help, ask.
  3. Eliminate risk before it becomes a risk during the audit.  Going back to point #1, create a practice, understand the areas of concern, and correct it before the auditors force you to.  The time is now.
  4. I promote 3rd party advocacy for support.  I like to say, “there’s the publisher’s way and then there’s the real way” both are compliant, but one will cost you a lot more than the other.

Will audits be on the rise in 2018?  Yes. And 2019, 2020, and 2021.  After that who knows, we might be flying around the moon and vacationing on Mars.  Licensing is a dangerous game but everyone can win – if they have the right strategy in place.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2017 in Compliance, Uncategorized

 

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