Software publishers tend to audit the customers they believe are most far out of license compliance. It is just another line of business for software publishing companies and the return on investment is quite high.
But it is not a level playing field for all involved, as software license metrics have become very complex. Mandatory license metric measuring methods have progressed from measuring the bare infrastructure and number of devices to measuring peak capacity of server clusters or measuring internal application metrics. In some cases software publishers don’t even provide the ability to determine the level of use, for example in concurrent licensing without embedded measurement. Some software publishers do sign customer agreements based on business metrics or other measurements outside of the software. With cloud systems and SaaS, the ability to measure its usage is becoming harder and more diffuse.
Finance, Procurement and IT should develop a common sense of urgency, as the organization needs to understand the whereabouts of its licensed products, measure its software consumption and analyze its license entitlements. All of them are becoming more variable by nature, as virtualized datacenter licensing, optional management packs and cloud based end-user software is now state-of the-art.