The 5 major phases of a Microsoft Audit

Software vendors generally tend to market the audit process as a positive experience, a helping hand. Whether they call it “License Health Check”, “License Review”, “Compliance Verification”, “SAM Engagement” or “Software License Audit” they all mean the same. And if you have taken part in at least one audit, you know that they never mean good news

In this article, we look at the five major phases of a Microsoft Audit.

1. Kick-off Meeting

The auditors empowered by Microsoft will schedule a meeting, usually in the form of a conference call, where the auditee will be presented with the phases of the project as well as the timelines.

2. Data Collection

The auditee is requested to collect data and information regarding their company’s IT infrastructure. This data and information will be then be provided to the auditor company. The deliverable has to encompass the following:

The hardware configuration of all eligible devices.

An overview of all Microsoft software installed on the declared devices.

An overview of the users that access these devices and make use of Microsoft software.

All documents and contracts which represent the license proof (Certificates of Authenticity, Manuals, Software Kits, Purchase Orders, Invoices, and Volume Licensing Contracts).

3. Onsite Visit

In this phase the auditors will visit the company headquarters in order to validate and verify the accuracy of the information previously provided and potentially collect additional information and/or data.

It is good to mention that this phase will always be included in situations when Microsoft has reason to suspect that a company may be significantly out of compliance and seems to hide something from them. However, an onsite visit doesn’t by default mean that they suspect your company.

4. Draft report

Based on the data gathered in the previous phases, the auditor will prepare a preliminary report that will contain a break-down of installed software in relation to the license entitlements.

This is to ensure that the information and data provided so far is correct and to validate some of the findings. Any inconsistency will be addressed at this point in time, before the final report is produced.

5. 3 Way Exit Meeting

This is the final phase. Generally a call is scheduled with all the parties involved in the auditing process: the auditor’s representatives, the auditee’s representatives and Microsoft’s representatives.

In this meeting, the auditor will present the final report which includes the final license position of the customer. Usually this report comes in the form of an Excel spread sheet with multiple tabs that contain the entitlement (licenses owned) and deployment (licenses used) overview, ending in a reconciliation tab where the final license situation is summarized.

At this point the auditor considers his job finished and steps down, leaving the client and Microsoft to negotiate and establish the commercial terms and conditions.

Be prepared for you next Microsoft Audit, follow our series about this subject in our weekly publications on our website, or read our whole advise in our lates white paper.

This article was published on 15-09-2016