Your software usage rights in a license audit

auditprotect - License Advisor and IT Lawyer

We specialize in supporting companies through software license audits. This can be, for example, an SAP license measurement, an Oracle audit or a Microsoft license check. The client receives our combined expertise from a single source: license consulting and software contract law. So that you can exploit the full potential of your software investment. 

Do you already use all possibilities to repudiate the accusation of sublicensing during a compliance audit? 

We validate the measurement procedures and compare the results with your contractual license rights. So that acquired rights of use remain in place. 

We combine many years of experience in license management with legal expertise in software law / IT law. And we offer you comprehensive advice from three perspectives: Legal, technical, commercial. Only in this way can we ensure the best possible result for you.

And what can we do for you?

Getting safely through the Software Audit

Software vendors require end-user companies to consistently carry out compliance checks and license audits. The actual usage practice is compared with the granted license rights from the software contract in order to determine any underlicensing.

Subsequent claims in the millions and corresponding purchases can result.

FAQ about Compliance

A software audit is announced! What now?

We help you immediately to reject claims from vendors such as Microsoft, SAP or Oracle or to reduce them efficiently and commercially noticeably. 

Our clients benefit from our long-standing audit practice, from the dual perspective of a licensing consultancy and an IT law firm.

FAQ about Software Audit

Our References

Vendor
Topic
Savings
SAP
Optimization of licensing and maintenance in view of unclear audit claims
5.500K €

Issues:
High inventory of unused licenses, too high costs in development projects and operation, license and vendor management with little professionalism

Success:
Reduction of the audit claim by 500K € by proof of calculation errors, reduction of the maintenance fees within 6 months by 5,000K €. 

 

Oracle
Pressure to migrate licenses without apparent reason and at much higher costs
700K €

Issues:
Strong sales pressure on users due to Oracle fiscal year-end with the aim of replacing existing, cheaper licensing model to the client's disadvantage.

Success:
Continuation of the more favourable model and reduction of the original subsequent purchase offer by 700K €, avoidance of audit by prior agreement.

Detailed Project Insight
SAP
Unclearly high audit claims with reference to new licensing rules
480K €

Issues:

Inconsistencies in the audit report, questioning of prices and purchase positions, uncertain legal position

Success:

Deciding significant disputed issues in favour of the client and reducing the original claim by 480K €

Detailed Project Insight
Microsoft
Interrupted audit by service provider, with MS's own O365 offer for completion
400K €

Issues:

Dealing with dubious survey results under extreme time pressure from MS on clients due to the end of the quarter

Success:

Deciding significant disputed issues in favour of the client and reducing the original claim by 480K €

Detailed Project Insight
SAP
Doubtful additional purchase offer in the 6-digit amount with unclear justification and high individual prices
400K €

Issues:

Validation of the offer for BI licenses and critical review of license models with their medium-term impact

Success:

Refutation of assumptions in SAP offer basis, optimization of the user mix (already existing user type usable: license saving of 400K €)

Detailed Project Insight
Oracle
Doubtful audit claims for indirect use with unclear license rules
420K €

Issues:

Analysis of the legal basis from the licensing rules in the light of the precise operating model for users of other systems

Success:

Refutation of assumption of legally relevant usage at client by a combined technical and legal analysis, remission of the claim in the amount of 420K €

Detailed Project Insight
SAP
Avoidance of a remote or on-site audit with unclear claim basis
280K €

Issues:

Confrontation with excessive audit procedures (remote, on-site audit) after unresolved gray areas in survey results

Success:

Attacking the legality of the audit clause / audit method, then consensual procedure in favour of the client and avoiding a subsequent purchase of 280K €

Detailed Project Insight
SAP
Allegation of indirect use in numerous third-party systems
1.400K €

Issues:

Numerous third party systems interacting with SAP systems, thus the risk of incalculable license fee claims

Success:

Significant reduction of the feared risk potential of 1.400K € by software-technical and -legal classification of the processes

Topic: Microsoft Office EAMigration to Office 365

Healthcare, Germany

Our client was not able to orderly complete an SAM project. Microsoft suggested a migration to Office 365 as a rental solution, to simultaneously address questions about under-licensing. MS exerted significant pressure to close the new deal before the end of the financial quarter. Our client felt irritated and puzzled.

Two-sided PerspectiveAssessment of Licensing and Legal Issues

Healthcare, Germany

We investigated the background of the presented license audit in terms of license rights, and at the same time scanned for product-specific conditions and dependencies. We prioritized the removal of pressure to close in order to give the client room for considering more qualified solutions.

PositioningCompliance Certificate and Assurance of Data Protection

Healthcare, Germany

Avoidance of claims was our central concern. We were able to eliminate Microsoft's quarter-based sales pressure almost immediately. We then moved to make the closing of a new deal conditional on MS issuing a statement of compliance as well as a clarification of data protection terms for the use of OneDrive (cloud services).

NegotiationsPrice Benchmark and Verified Data Protection

Healthcare, Germany

The unverified compliance status made it necessary to precisely benchmark the price situation surrounding the cloud offering. We repeatedly questioned and asked for clarification on several of the rules regarding data protection in order to allow cloud use for confidential medical documents.

SolutionFinal Resolution by MS before Signing

Healthcare, Germany

MS was reluctant to provide a non-look-back compliance declaration. This remained a critical and unsatisfactory point up to the last minute, but we secured a dependable compliance declaration for the client. Besides a well-tailored pricing model and plausible data protection, this was a non-negotiable condition for closing the deal.

Topic: SAP Compliance TuningRejection of Audit Claims

Utilities, Germany

Based on questionable audit results, our client was faced with unjustified claims. SAP raised the notion of "duty of care" of the management, and threatened a lawsuit.

Two-sided PerspectiveAnalysis of Current Statements of SAP

Utilities, Germany

We investigated the position of SAP from a license law and contract historical perspective. For each compliance challenge, we compiled a prioritized list and aligned this with the client.

PositioningReview of Measurements and Discounts, Protection of Use with Regards to IS-U Engines and OpenHub

Utilities, Germany

We critically questioned the audit process and results, and rejected SAP's practice of not granting discounts on added license procurement. We corroborated the client's user categorisation and defended their use of IS-U-Engines and OpenHub.

NegotiationsCompensations and Discounts

Utilities, Germany

We created argumentation guidelines for executives and discussed points directly with the Compliance & Audit team of SAP. Thus we were able to reverse the initial refusal of discounts and identify credit potentials. Some compliance topics were moved to corporate level.

SolutionCommercial Agreement

Utilities, Germany

The true-up purchase was based on an acceptable commercial contractual basis, resulting in significant easing of expenditure compared to the original demands. The compromises achieved on an organizational level are validated by benchmarks.

Topic: Rejection of a Remote AuditSAP Contractual Legacy

IT-Services, Germany

Our client was in conflict with SAP due to grey areas in its audit results. SAP threatened an excessive remedy  - a remote audit.

Two-sided PerspectiveReview of Legal Conformity of the Request for Audit

IT-Services, Germany

First we checked the justification for the audit and focused on preventing a more expansive invasion of the client's IT infrastructure by remote audit tools. Following this, provider-typical compliance topics were looked into.

PositioningProtection Zone against Request for Audit

IT-Services, Germany

We defined an IT zone with the client that must be protected from audits. At the same time, we worked out criteria that allow future audit requirements to be evaluated.

NegotiationsDemonstration of Limits for Auditing

IT-Services, Germany

The client was briefed by us on the legal arguments on reach and effectiveness of contractual audit clauses and the balance of duties between the client and SAP.

SolutionPreservation of Client's Rights during Discovery

IT-Services, Germany

Settlement with SAP on an alternative, less invasive procedure for creating contractual transparency, now in collaboration with the client.

Topic: Procurement OptimizationOracle E-Business Suite

Waste & Recycling, Middle East

On top of an unclear contract and purchase history, our client was faced with poorly suited license metrics and inappropriate sales pressure, driven by approaching close of Oracle's financial year.

Two-sided PerspectiveReconstruction of Oracle Procurement History

Waste & Recycling, Middle East

As a basis for further investigations, we first consolidated the entire license history from several buying centres and worked out a binding legal position with respect to license status.

PositioningDiscovery of Faults and Inconsistencies in Oracle Contracts

Waste & Recycling, Middle East

The use of an older license model did not match the client's current situation. We particularly called into question the terms for minimum numbers of users, as well as certain contradictions in the making of offers and in sales conduct.

NegotiationsPresentation of Arguments and Evaluation of Options

Waste & Recycling, Middle East

The client received briefings for each negotiation phase in the shape of negotiation guidelines and formal protests. To ease decision making, we contributed legal and tactical assessments of directions to move in.

SolutionAvoidance of Audits and Facilitation of Claims Resolution

Waste & Recycling, Middle East

Based on our accessible arguments, the client achieved a contractual relief of their purchase obligations for the short term, while at the same time avoiding a temporally close audit. The scene was thus set for future optimizations.

Topic: Avoiding True-upsOracle NUP Licenses for Indirect Use

Pharmaceuticals, Germany

Our client was confronted with a dubious payment demand due to the use of a third party system. Oracle argued that such indirect use required additional licenses.

Two-sided PerspectiveRevealing Sources of Conflict

Pharmaceuticals, Germany

To better visualize the license problem and assess the justifiability of vendor demands, we compared Oracle policies to the actual IT workflow of the client.

PositioningAbsence of Usage with Licensing Relevance

Pharmaceuticals, Germany

Our detailed analysis of specific communicative exchanges between the system in question highlighted that from a technical and legal perspective, there was no relevant use of the resources in question, and hence no obligation to pay.

NegotiationsInsights to Claims Relevance

Pharmaceuticals, Germany

Based on the technical implementation of our client's processes, we were able to show that Oracle's policies were not, in fact, applicable and no additional license requirement arose. This brought transparency to Oracle's earlier misinterpretation.

SolutionRejection of Licensing Demand via Structural Diagram

Pharmaceuticals, Germany

Based on the provided flow charts and and argumentation guideline, the client reached an accord with Oracle regarding the phenomenon of indirect use, including a retraction of the earlier demands.

Topic: Optimization of User-MixDiverse SAP-BI Licensing Models

Consumer Products, Germany

Our client was confronted with a license offer entailing a six digit sum for SAP-BI. They asked us to clarify license positions and the plausibility of the bundled contents.

Two-sided PerspectiveReview of Current SBOP Licensing Portfolio

Consumer Products, Germany

To verify the SAP offer, we analysed the inherent license models and existing use scenarios, validating them against the corresponding license terms. This was followed by individual interviews with the BI architects.

PositioningReview of Purpose of Use and Validation of Licensing Proposal

Consumer Products, Germany

We analysed the license offer and provided the needed bird's eye view of SAP user types. It became clear that SAP had made an error in interpreting the terms.

NegotiationsArguments for Correct User Categories

Consumer Products, Germany

With our provided details of user definitions, our client was able to convince SAP that its approach did not properly reflect the client's reality. Clarifying the definition of user entitlements was central to that success.

SolutionApplying Correct Definitions and Hints Based on Official SAP Information

Consumer Products, Germany

Citing the existing definitions allowed optimizing the user mix and reducing investment in new licenses to a minimum. The more expensive user type was replaced by existing seats.

... and how Can We Help You?

Actively listening to you is our first step towards a successful project. Share with us what's weighing on your mind - it's important to us to make a measurable contribution to your organisation. With all our projects, we want to help you achieve your goals, and in the process earn your recommendation.

Project Navigator (PN)

Your transformation project has got challenging targets. You like to protect it against unexpected risk via comprehensive work/software contracts and mature project management.
We will guide you through heavy sea and follow-through until Go-Live.
> more details

Quick Response (QR)

In the event of an audit, we've got your back. Our systematic analysis helps you take the pressure out of the compliance question. We'll keep you safe from excessive audit measures and will clarify any legal grey areas for you. > more details

Best Invest (BI)

You've invested in software. Allowing you to make the most of that value is our goal. Whether looking to exchange, claim back or migrate - you'll keep the initiative and play an active role in developing your vendor relationship. > more details

Value Proposition

Vendor
Software

Audit/
Measurement

Modifying audit results

  • Check admissibility
  • Question methodology
  • Analyze audit report 
  • Identify gap
     

Budget/
Investment

Implementing the optimal solution

  • Validate offer 
  • Apply benchmarks 
  • Facilitate negotiations 
  • Optimize deal 

Licenses/
Contracts

Exploring usage rights

  • Exploit usage 
  • Allocate licenses 
  • Apply flexibilities 
  • Apply special rules

Usage/
Operations

Establishing audit readiness

  • Optimize usage
  • Check landscape
  • Verify licenses
  • Initialize measurement

Average Financial Benefits

  • Audit support by auditprotect reduces the software compliance risk by providing a complete solution from a single source. 
  • The average saving amounts to more than 30% of the initial claims of the vendor.
  • In addition, options for license optimizations (e. g. alternative products/metrics) are identified in the projects.

The Brains behind auditprotect

Four eyes discover more than two, that's why our joint effort indeed accelerates projects towards the expected outcome.

Peter Wesche

License Advisor, Math MS

Peter Wesche is the founder of Doctor-License and was previously lead analyst for software asset management at Gartner, totalling 3500 customer calls worldwide since 2004. Prior to that, he spent 16 years working for SAP, latterly as division head and project leader for the Auto-ID infrastructure. His specialty now is the optimization of software investments that due to the interrelationships of underlying contracts and complex procurement history are not accessible to conventional analysis.

Blog-Entries

Dr. Robert Fleuter

Attorney-at-Law ("Rechtsanwalt"), MBA

Dr. Robert Fleuter is co-founder of the law firm BLC Rechtsanwaelte. Before, he held several positons as legal counsel in the IT industry, namely with Oracle and with an SAP partner where he had overall responsibility of the legal function. He supported Sales in numerous contract negotiations with large enterprises and was member of an audit team.

Based on his more than 20-years experience in software law, he also works as a university lecturer providing postgraduate education for professional and managerial staff in courses of business informatics and IT Management studies (MBA).

Blog-Entries

Strong Partners Complement our Offer:

Let's Have a Chat ...

Our first conversation will give you the reassurance to be taking the right path towards your goal. Our systematic first analysis will quickly reveal the urgency as well as the potential in your license and audit queries.

Dr. Robert Fleuter

drf@auditprotect.de +49 6201 846 806

Peter Wesche

pkw@auditprotect.de +49 6205 36 40723

Imprint

auditprotect is a Cooperation of Doctor-License Peter Wesche and Dr. Robert Fleuter, BLC Rechtsanwaelte.

Verantwortlich nach § 5 TMG (Telemediengesetz), zusätzlich nach § 55 RStV (Rundfunkstaatsvertrag) jeder für die vom ihm verfassten Beiträge im Blog (juristische Erläuterungen stellen keine Rechtsberatung für den Einzelfall dar):

Dr. Robert Fleuter
Attorney-at-Law
Tel.: +49 6201 846806
E-Mail: drf@auditprotect.de
Heddesheimer Str. 42c
D-69493 Hirschberg
Bar Association Karlsruhe

Peter Wesche
Math MS / License Advisor
Tel.: +49 6205 36 40723
E-Mail: pkw@auditprotect.de
Wasserturmallee 47
D-68766 Hockenheim
German Association of Journalists AG Ingolstadt

The professional regulations applicable to Dr. Robert Fleuter can be found on the homepage of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers (BRAK) www.brak.de "Berufsrecht". Professional Liability Insurance: R+V Allgemeine Versicherung AG, Wiesbaden, Germany.

Pictures

All photos with license by shutterstock.com and neochic.de

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