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Microsoft Software Audit Reports

Many major software vendors are now exercising their rights to request customer cooperation in an audit of installations and licensing, with a view to ensuring software license compliance. Microsoft has been particularly active, although the great majority of engagements are approached from a cooperative standpoint, rather than being enforced through legal process. Ideally, any organization using purchased software should have an appropriate level of software asset management in place, and the ‘engagement’ with Microsoft can sometimes provide the necessary stimulus to get this achieved!

Whether it is an enforced or a voluntary process, a software inventory and license compliance exercise with Microsoft entails providing substantial and accurate data - more than what most vendors would expect to see. Product identity and version information should be accompanied by Build Number. Installations of MS Office components must be reported in the context of whether MS Office Standard or Professional is installed, or whether the component (e.g. Word) has been installed standalone. To facilitate tracking the history of deployment, Vector's report suite also provides the original Serial Number for current Windows OS versions and for MS Office too.

Vector has evolved a suite of special reports for these Microsoft engagements, split into three groups covering Windows OS, Desktop Products, and Server Products. All the reports feature drill-down capability; for example, starting from a summary list of all the MS Office Keys found on the PCs audited, the user can drill down – through intermediate ‘Department’ level – to the individual PCs traceable to each Key. This is important for enabling desktop management teams to locate rogue or anomalous installations and potentially trace where they came from.

The importance of Software Metering / Software Usage Measurement

The Microsoft Software Audit report suite also features software usage information, enabling organizations to identify where they may be able to -

  • negotiate better prices to reflect limited use,
  • re-allocate unused copies
  • remove unused software altogether.

Any instance of installations exceeding purchased licenses could lead to punitive action in the worst case, or at best a demand for ‘license true-up’ purchases. If however the customer is able to demonstrate comparable numbers of unused installations, there is the possibility of arguing that the vendor (e.g. Microsoft) has not suffered actual damage. For this reason alone, a software metering survey can generate a high return.

The full set of Microsoft Software Audit Reports including the software usage information is available to licensees of Vector's IT Asset Manager Pro solution and its subset the Software Compliance and Optimization solution.

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