Blog post

The Software Audit Casa Nostra

By Jack Santos | November 27, 2012 | 1 Comment

This morning’s WSJ CIO journal had a piece on software audits by Microsoft and Oracle. That brought back painful memories of a particularly arduous period in my CIO career.

It started with a conversation with my CEO about their hatred for Microsoft in general, and Bill Gates (who they met personally) in particular.  Board politics can get very personal.  Unfortunately this led to some serious internal blind eye tactics when it came to software licensing.

Didn’t take long after I was  on board that I got a call from Microsoft asking for an audit, and waving the potential for BSA fines over my head (with jail time probably not far behind).

I had always felt that the annual Enterprise Agreement (EA) “true up” was a two edged sword.  If you are not on top of it, it gives MS the right to really take the company to task financially.  In this case, we didn’t have an EA (although I was interested in negotiating one), and the call was unsolicited.  and there I was in the middle of this mess.

It wasn’t anything that we couldn’t buy ourselves out of – pretty expensively.  That’s what happened.  But nonetheless, the whole experience brought back vague recollections of uncle Vinnie in the Italian south end.  The sense of family, whether it be genetic or corporate, is a powerful force.

Luckily, there were no cement shoes in it for me this time around.  The morale of the story?  Stick to your agreements, as painful as they are.  I hope my CEO friend learned that lesson….

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  • I would not buy a loaf of bread that required me to allow the grocer tp snoop around my kitchen. I would not buy a car that required me to allow GM to inspect my garage. Why would I use software that required the same sort of thing? If anything, I want to keep salesmen away unless I decide to buy something. If Microsoft has a problem with a user they should have to sue. That’s all copyright requires. Surrendering privacy, security and routine to a supplier is insane if not illegal.