Is there such as thing as a license compliance procedure that is both optional and provides customers with financial benefits? Yes, there is! It is called Self-Certification and it is one of the emerging trends in the license compliance toolbox for vendors.
Presented this way, Self-Certification certainly looks appealing. And for once, there’s no downside.
For vendors, it is a low-cost model allowing them to engage with a high volume of customers, mostly in the SMB space. These customers are often left unattended when it comes to proactive compliance checks. A traditional audit program strategy typically looks at going through a relatively high volume of audits to maximize the ROI of the program. It also means mobilizing tons of resources to execute each engagement properly, making it profitable and generating revenue. What are the consequences? Vendors tend to focus their efforts on the largest users and apply a volume-based audit coverage model to the rest. The math is undeniably correct. But the perception of audit programs throughout the SMB customer segment is often negative and can put the commercial relationship at risk, which indicates there is room for improvement.
License Compliance Self Assessment
Self-assessment could be the right approach to review the SMB segment in a cost-effective manner. It is a much lighter and less invasive review. It helps to create new opportunities, and the commercial relationship remains intact. It is a Vendor telling its customer: “let’s take a look at the situation and take the appropriate steps together.”
While the ultimate assessment goal remains the same, the procedure evolves: it is based on trust, customer’s proactivity, and knowledge about its own deployment.
And just because the overall messaging is much more positive and friendly than a traditional audit, you can expect a higher response rate.
At Connor, we encourage our clients to consider self-assessment programs. From my auditor perspective, self-assessment is a much more favorable framework than an audit for certain customer segments.
First, it’s quick and easy. Usually, all it takes are a few clicks to go through a questionnaire and provide some inventory data, and it’s done! The information is submitted, the report is built, and that’s it. Licensees have a valuable overview of their current deployment and the correspondent licensing need. Of course, access to the appropriate expertise must be guaranteed to make it work, and it is mostly a fit for products with simple data collection process.
Second, Licensees get to proactively manage their licenses, take responsibility for the review, and are empowered by the knowledge. Managing the contracts, tools, infrastructure, and products installed is required at any time.
Additionally, Self-Assessments can present a perfect opportunity for customers to develop a software asset management strategy. What is required should mirror internal audits. And if customers don’t have one, it is an excellent opportunity to establish the right governance and processes to future-proof your software management! Be sure to select a knowledgeable partner who will guide and assist you with the process, to extract the maximum value from your initiative.
A Self-Assessment is not only an excellent opportunity to evaluate software deployment, but it also generates additional benefits for Licensees:
Any additional licenses required would lead to a standard purchase. Historical conditions apply without penalties. There is no past usage to account for. It’s all about correcting a mistake.
Moreover, Licensees receive a 12 months reprieve from any formal audit procedure! This amnesty protects them from what we already know as a more prolonged, and stricter process.
At the moment, License agreements do not include any wording regarding Self-Assessment, and most are still optional.
But they are definitely to be considered with attention.