We all love stories—every one of us. We love the simple learning of good overcoming evil – the prince saving the beautiful princess, the bad guy that the honest guy captures and wins over. In short, what we like are fairy tales. Reality check - we do not live in a world of fairy tales, and sometimes, yes, the bad guy wins. Although the prince is admired by many, he may not be as good as he appears.

What can I say; audience feedback changes in microseconds. We trust it without even giving it a second thought. True, right? So, what does this have to do with audits that are mentioned in the title?

Ok, let's understand by illustration.

Businesses are built based on one concept – which is to solve a customer's problem. You are their hero (the good guy) to save whatever pain they have or problems they can't seem to overcome. You are (as the story goes) their knight in shining armor, the rescuer. You are the perfect decent man to provide the solution that your consumer wants. 

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At times, you must be the bad guy here. Specifically, when you work in the asset management software industry or ServiceNow Software Asset Management. It becomes imperative to share the right picture of customers' position rather than going into a loop of not accepting the compliance position as it is a lot of investment – guess what, better now than never.   
A few years later, your company is experiencing great success, and your clients are content, and in walks every IT nightmare, the auditor. 

Probably, wearing eyeglasses the size of saucers, the guy who doesn't know the difference between nerd, geek, and a dork. With a necktie tied just a shade too short, and a laugh that is about as irritating as a nail on a chalkboard. You succumb to that unstylish person who is about to do a ServiceNow SAM audit. 

Performing an audit might cause more harm to ServiceNow Software Asset Management's customers. I don't mean to say you shouldn't try to reduce their investment. Be honest, but also be a rescuer.  

How do you defend yourself from such evil? The biggest mistake a customer (or enterprises in general) often makes is their fear of audits. I know, the auditing might sound a bit difficult, but we as an organization must be strong here. 

Generally, businesses give everything the auditors ask for out of fear. That's not always bad, but if you don't know or understand why they ask for specific things or feel they are painting you in a corner, take a step back immediately. Please don't give in any information without understanding what they are asking for and the purpose behind it. Always ask questions in return.  

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Why do they want to know who the customers are? Why do they ask about customer-owned licenses? Software Assurance? Historical information? If you can't answer "why," maybe you need help. 

In walks the ServiceNow software asset management consultants, let's call them SC. Nah, in walks Mr. SAM, every auditor's worst nightmare. The lawyers, the good guy to save the princess. He put together the following list on how to better prepare yourself for the unexpected. 

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6 Proven Steps to Deal with Software Auditors

1. Don’t be fearful – No matter what happens, it’s your business and your customers. Auditors don’t know anything about you. 

2. Have a plan - Know what’s in your customer agreements. If you need to refresh your agreement language, do it, there is no harm. Software licensing rules change daily; if you have not updated your contracts on license mobility or data center outsourcing, update them as soon as you know about it. Ignorance of the SAM portal will cost you a lot later. 

Read More: ServiceNow SAM Solutions – Is Your Company in Need of It?

3. Don’t bring unwanted attention to your organization – Be very careful who you share your license position with. Always report usage on time and pay on time. 80% of all delinquent reporting has nothing to do with the reseller or publisher. It has everything to do with the ServiceNow Software Asset Management’s account payable dept. 

4. Never have just one person to manage your usage reporting - Many times, the person who was the only one working directly with the reseller leaves the company. Who is responsible for reporting when that person goes? Due to this, I have seen customers lose millions of purchase records and legacy entitlements. 

5. Have a tool in place - So you can have real-time updates on the compliance positions. 

6. Listen to your SAM partner – They are bad, but a blessing in disguise. They are your licensing Siri or Alexa. 

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In conclusion, audits are necessary for software licensing compliance. To prepare for an audit, avoid unwanted attention, to begin with, otherwise, businesses should have a plan. The plan should include businesses having multiple people manage usage reporting and a tool for real-time updates. Trust your SAM partner and don't be fearful of audits.

To learn more about ServiceNow Software Asset Management and how to choose the best tool, click here.
Thanks for reading,