Negotiating with Microsoft in an audit situation

Negotiating with Microsoft is a very vast subject on its own. For the purpose of this article we will only touch on some of the key areas.

The licensee should be aware of the fact that they are not under an obligation to accept the auditor’s Effective License Position (“ELP”) report if they think that it is not accurate. The process of finalizing the final report is recurrent and the details will be adjusted until they reflect the usage as closely as possible.

The licensee can count on the second round of negotiations with Microsoft once the ELP report findings have been accepted. After Microsoft estimates the value of the ELP report, the parties will try to negotiate a favorable settlement. The licensee should further be aware that any and all agreements and conclusions reached with Microsoft should be in writing and that any verbal agreement or promise will have no legal value.

Understanding Microsoft is also key for negotiations. Getting a general idea of Microsoft’s goals will provide a better understanding of the obstacles you are going to face at the negotiation table. You can draw certain conclusions from unofficial discussions with your Microsoft Account manager.

Knowing who the decision makers are on Microsoft’s side, and understanding who has decision power can help you “sell” your story to the right person.

Prepare your company for the next Microsoft audit with B-lay. We recommended creating a recurrent SAM process with designated roles and responsibilities that will keep everything in check for you. Experts, either in-house or third party consultants with license specific knowledge will be invaluable to most organizations. They can play a decisive role in determining your licensing requirements and negotiating the best terms and conditions before non-compliance situations actually occur. They can also help enterprises get Software Asset Management on the right track, automate the process as much as possible and monitor with Self-Audits to ensure a comfort point is maintained.

Make sure you have the right expertise

You can of course invest in staff and building knowledge completely on your own. But you might also want to consider enrolling in a fully operational license management program. This can be done in less than three months and will be tailored to the specific demands of your company. Please contact B-lay, and get your audit defense in place.

More information can also be found in our white paper “Be prepared for a Microsoft Audit ”. Our new white paper format is mobile friendly, so you can easily read it on your tablet or mobile phone.

This article was published on 11-10-2016