Counting installs is not enough for software license audit

I heard last week about an organization that had been asked by a major software supplier to cooperate with an audit. Some time later, the organization produced a tally of the total copies installed of each of the supplier’s applications. Turns out, that’s never going to be enough. Unless maintenance is totally up to date on all copies of each application, in which case you are probably entitled to be running the latest version of those apps, it will be necessary to record not just which products you have installed, but which versions.  Maintenance renewals must sometimes appear an easy target for the stressed CFO, resulting in deferalls and/or cancellations, but in so doing the CFO leaves the organization vulnerable to accidental breach of licensing, and vulnerable to prosecution.  If any maintenance is deferred or cancelled, then everyone has to know about it so planned upgrades can be put on hold if necessary.  Organizations found to be out of compliance will often find the punitive awards made by the courts overshadow any savings that might have been made.