License Audits: Get Rid Of The Elephant From Your Room

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Space is more than a five-lettered word that describes physical dimensions. It’s hard to understand its abstract quintessence unless you have been a room-mate to someone. Good room-mates share more than just rent. They slice everything – bills, TV time, bathroom hours, refrigerator boxes, secrets, understanding, and of course, space.

That’s why it’s takes more than money to accommodate someone’s whims, flaws and special needs. Only a good room partner can get that algebra.

It’s easy to fight. Over petty things that can turn huge and ego-critical. Like – why do you switch off the lights when I need them on for reading? It’s equally naturally to flip the lid and scream back – hey dude, that’s my time to sleep, you should respect my privacy!

Who is wrong here? It’s never easy to tell.

Is a vendor wrong in attempting to make sure the product being is not being abused by unreasonable application, number of users or violation of terms and conditions critical to the solution?

Is a customer wrong-footed to draw a line and expect no one comes encroaching the precincts of privacy and intrudes upon internal affairs or documents?

Not surprising we hear so much about litigation souring ERP puddings or vendors and customers playing hot potato with license/audit lawsuits these days.

Screaming, scape-goating, earning brownie points, piggybacking on excuses, spinning allegations, fussing over who blinks first- well the childish drama can go on as long as you have the energy and the time.


Or, you can do something straight, simple and savvy. Pull up that very-well-within-arm’s-length chair and sit across your room mate. Isn’t a vendor or a customer sharing the space called Enterprise application together? Doesn’t the other party have equal intent, sentiment and money at stake in making the product work? Then just grab a kettle of coffee or two and talk it out.

Once you see why a roommate needs the lights on, may be you will stop drumming up the expectation as ungrounded. Once you see why a roommate could be disturbed at unfair hours, you won’t mind making small adjustments here and there. Once you know the ‘why’, the ‘how’ is not tough to sort out.

Clarification on the ambit of ownership of a license, access rights, scope of IP use, limitations on functionality control, enlightenment on vendor’s policies, pricing models and their varied menu cards, iteration of features/bug fixes/regulatory updates, access to innovation, usage scalability with implications on hardware/staffing/subscriptions/support costs can work wonders.

Do not leave any room for ambiguity on data access SLAs, contract terms around performance/integration/ partner compatibility, extent and grounds for penalties, agreement on breaches, degree of risks, accountability areas, license equivalency, software escrows, affiliate usage, M&A scenario ripples, confidentiality clauses, billing dates, product architecture, roadmaps, self-deployment scenarios, IP indemnification, stipulations on logging/configuration/API support, e-discovery aspects etc. Sweeping out misunderstandings is vital and all these questions are not hard to flesh out before signing on a perpetual relationship.

You can decide on a good lamp shade, a book torch, an agreed time slot, a small re-arrangement of furniture and lo! The pointless tug-of-wire is over. Not so easy but not impossible.

The problem is not the light switch. It never was. Just clear the fog together. Be and gain a good roomie. Make space.