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December 13, 2016

Microsoft, Oracle, SAP most feared vendors for customer audits

'Tis the season to dread an audit.

By Ellie Burns

New research has shined a light on the deepest, darkest fears of the IT department, with the mere mention of some giant vendors enough to send IT staff diving for cover.

SAM and IT managers were asked by Snow Software to identify the top three vendors they feared being audited by, with 75% of respondents highlighting Microsoft, followed by 53% for Oracle and 33% for SAP.

Reasons for audit angst included the likelihood that the audit will cost money in true-up fees or fines (29%), having to explain unbudgeted costs to business management (19%) and the disruption caused to normal business operations (19%).

Matt Fisher, Vice President at Snow Software commenting on the findings, said: “While we expected to see Microsoft reported as having the highest volume of audit activity, it is surprising to see them take the number one slot in terms of being feared by their customers.  In our experience, Microsoft is actually one of the least aggressive and difficult software auditors.  We typically hear far more horror stories from customers that have been audited by Oracle or Attachmate (now Micro Focus).

“Our advice is that, if you have your software assets under control, there’s actually little to be afraid of during the audit process.  A fear of audit suggests that organizations recognize a lack of control and up-to-date SAM intelligence.”

microsoft - feared vendorsAs software vendors are deep into their fourth quarters and scrabbling for every last bit of revenue, it is perhaps not surprising that audit angst is particularly high at this time of year. The same survey found that in terms of audit activity, 68% of organizations had been engaged by Microsoft in the last 12 months and 36% by SAP.  IBM took third spot, auditing 31% of organisations.

“The year-end audit has long been a stalwart of Q4 revenue for many software vendors, whether performed as an outright audit or disguised as an incentive to upgrade to the latest versions and technologies,” Fisher said.

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“These situations can actually work to customers’ advantage if they are holding the right information about their current software use and plans for the coming year.”

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