Software License Audit: Fifty Shades of Grey

Aggressive Vendor audit staff likened to Christian Grey the protagonist in Fifty Shades of Grey…..

Analyst Forrester has compared aggressive software sales staff to Fifty Shades of Grey‘s eponymous protagonist after accusing them of trying to exploit grey areas in licensing rules to claw cash from end users.whip-370x229

Forrester’s researcher for sourcing and vendor management professionals, Duncan Jones, said some vendor sources admitted to him that licence audits are so aggressive that they can generate between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of their licensing revenue.

“Although a lot of that will represent deliberate or reckless under-licensing, many of the disputes that I hear about involve software salespeople abusing some licensing shades of grey to pressurise customers into paying them money,” he said. “It is difficult to predict how a court will interpret nineties contract language in the current technology context, so many companies pay up rather than risk a compliance lawsuit.

“Any procurement or asset-management professionals who have seen the new movie based on E L James’ bestselling novels may have noticed the similarity between the eponymous antihero and a licence-management services consultant,” he said.

He added that the current licensing market includes a number of grey areas and encouraged customers to think hard about the following questions before agreeing to cough up: Who is really using the software?; when does an enhancement become a new product?; does the product allow for customer collaboration?; and under what circumstances does one person need two user licences?

He advised end users to hold their ground against any bullying tactics.

“Don’t let the salesperson persuade you that his company’s opinion is gospel truth – it isn’t,” he said. “Try to show how the vendor’s attempts to enforce a warped (in your view) interpretation of this particular issue will damage your firm’s perception of it, and hence limit its chances of winning future business. Otherwise the salesperson will focus only on the short-term revenue he can extract from you if he stubbornly holds to the official line.

“Don’t let an account manager tell you a compliance situation is black and white when it is clearly grey.”


Vendor audit staff likened to Christian Grey – 17 Feb 2015 – CRN UK News.

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