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The FAQs are below these important messages.
Have you read the Number One
Business Resource for 2007?
If you are searching for real world facts relating to software compliance, copyright compliance, this is the book for you.
If you want details regarding the multi-million dollar copyright enforcement industries, this book is where you'll find them.
Time for a Change in Our Services!
Software Asset Management is changing its name to:
Our focus has shifted from consulting to delivering mission critical knowledge for software and technology asset managers from around the world. We are helping you build a communication network of asset managers to share knowledge and build this profession. Come join us--at no cost. Become part of the solution:
We're conducting a voluntary Microsoft audit to prepare for SA. Any suggestions?
Our primary suggestion in terms of the Microsoft SA audits is that you should review ALL your software licenses, processes and procedures while you are at it. A huge number of companies is auditing only for Microsoft titles! This means they are passing up an excellent opportunity to conduct a complete compliance review. Now, should they find concerns, these companies will have to expend time, effort and $ to perform a second, or even third, fourth, and fifth audit.
We're about to roll out a new operating system. What is the most effective way to prepare?
We strongly recommend that you conduct an electronic review of your hardware before the rollout. Most organizations do this by hand and wind up unnecessarily expending many thousands of dollars. Performing a review with an automated tool will allow you to inventory the hardware on all your systems in as little as a single day - from one central point - requiring the talents of only one IT staffer for about two hours. Savings?
A major software vendor informed me that their product was going to be licensed according to megahertz. Are they serious?
This is as serious a threat as you will encounter. Essentially, one of the vendors has come up with a process of licensing which expects you to pay for the total number of MHz in all the computing devices which have the potential for accessing their software. Now, unless your Ts & Cs protect your interests, you are looking at either big money or displacement.
Further Note: The software publishing industries invest millions of dollars in researching potential changes in licensing procedures, terms, and conditions. Unless you keep up with the trends, you will find yourself becoming a victim of their complexities.
We recently conducted a hand audit of our configured software. Are we considered compliant?
It has been our experience that a hand audit for software configurations has a 90% potential for catastrophic error. Here's a challenge for you. Conduct that expensive hand audit, then run one of the free evaluation tool reviews on a few of your systems. You WILL see a difference. Incidentally: Only recently have the compliance agencies been willing to accept a hand audit as proof of compliance.
Big Caution: Read the license of any evaluation product VERY carefully. Many of these "free" products will charge you so much for each and every support contact that you probably would have spent less if you bought the product outright.
We have an audit tool that we have been trying to make work for nearly a year. Can you help?
We certainly CAN help you. Our advice: Cut your losses. Get rid of the tool & get one that does precisely what you want it to do and does it without disrupting your organization. This is why we recommend tools that implement quickly, are easy to administrate and that come with pre-formatted reports accepted by virtually all the compliance enforcement groups. This isn't rocket science - It's compliance assurance. You need accuracy and timely implementation.
We just received a notice from the BSA. Are these people serious?
The BSA is probably the most powerful of the so-called "software police". Take their notices very seriously: They're backed up by Federal Copyright Law. If in doubt as to how to proceed, consult your lawyer &/or consult with us. We make a practice of studying the compliance agencies. We understand what they are looking for and how they operate. We'll help you through this situation as well as point you in the right direction for in-depth legal assistance.
Just how powerful are the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA... Formerly, the Software Publishers Association)?
They have rarely lost a license compliance case. In the United States, they are currently (September 2007) offering rewards of up to $1,000,000 to whistle-blowers.
My company just conducted a self audit at the "request" of a compliance enforcement group. What should we do with it before sending it in?
It is critical that you filter (scrub) the results of that audit to reduce the products reviewed to include only those represented by the auditing group. Never submit "raw" audit data. (See our data scrubbing service) Note: Poorly prepared self audits are regularly returned by the agencies with demands that they be reconfigured for accuracy - or, worse, conducted over again from scratch.
Is my company really at risk of being targeted for illegal use of software?
Now, more than ever, virtually ALL corporations are under the microscopes of the license compliance regulatory agencies. Your losses relating to a non-compliance audit can range from $35k-$250k per copyright. Who can afford that kind of unplanned expense? More importantly, what business can afford the down time or the negative publicity of a non-compliance settlement? Yes: You ARE at risk. We can help.
If I'm audited by a compliance SWAT team; pay the settlement; replace all the software; and implement a software management program, are my worries over?
Most definitely not. Enforcement groups will generally require you to set in place and maintain an approved software asset management program. Do they check back afterwards? In our experience they have done so very frequently. We recommend that you prepare to proactively protect your assets for the long haul and we can show you how.
Special Note: Just because you have been audited by enforcement group "A," does NOT mean that you won't become a target for enforcement groups "B" through "Z." In these cases, lightening can--and will--strike as many time as it wishes to strike.
What can The Network actually do to help me that I can't already do myself?
We can provide you with an outsider's perspective of your entire package: from the physical contracts to the actual configurations and the most advantageous process for ongoing monitoring. We can show you how to build a short or long term software plan which can save, depending on your size, 5-25% percent on your software budget in just the first year. We can show you how to create a license negotiations strategy that will also reflect significant potential additional savings into the long term. Are you doing these things now?
Your web site spends a great deal of time addressing software piracy. How does this relate to my actual ongoing needs?
The issues, policies, and procedures that expose you to the threat software piracy are also the same ones contributing to ineffective management of ALL software and tech assets. If you do not carefully monitor your IT assets, they will cost you more money - it's that simple. Virtually every organization exhibits a tendency toward duplication of function, over and under licensing, inadequate negotiation strategies, ownership fragmentation, non-compliant use, presence of counterfeit product, and more.
We can teach you how to perform a one or two day "quick review" to discover substantial savings by merely adjusting the way you view possession of your corporate software and IT assets. Give us a call - In the past, we've identified potential savings and risk mitigation amounting to over 5-25% of the average software budget - within the first couple hours of training!
My technical people assure me that we are compliant. Why should I worry?
You should worry because license documentation and compliance are not "areas of concern" for most technical personnel. They are concerned with configuring and maintaining systems - not attending to the confusing array of details relating to Federal Copyright Law and license Ts & Cs.
Statistically, one in four computers has illegal software configured on it. Don't be lulled into a false sense of security by unsubstantiated "word of mouth" assurances. Have your asset managers trained by The Network software license compliance experts in the proven methods of reviewing and documenting your SAM reality.
What size company requires the services of a trained Software License Manager?
How much do you have invested in your IT infrastructure? Can you afford to invest critical resources in assets you do not efficiently utilize? We can help virtually any size company realize savings relating to ongoing IT assets - from 5 computers operating six software titles to corporate entities with IT budgets in the tens of millions - Palmtops, PCs, Macs, LANs, WANs, Mainframes... We've been there.
Additionally there is the piracy risk: Virtually ANY company which utilizes computers can become a target for an enforcement audit. Remember: These organizations obtain over 90% of their information via disgruntled current or former employees contacting the toll free confidential hot lines. Since a single copyright violation has the potential for costing you in excess of $150,000 and the average computer is statistically shown to contain approximately $450 (retail) in non-compliant software, the question becomes not one of "if" you will eventually be audited but more a question of "when" will you be audited.
Big News: There are over 26 enforcement groups actively operating in the United States--more than 100 operating globally. Regardless of where you are located, or how small or big you are, YOU are an easy audit target.
What qualifies The Network personnel to train my people to perform these tasks?
The core personnel at The Network have over 40 years of accumulated software asset management and systems experience. We have been developing and delivering Professional Software Asset Management Programs for nearly a decade. Our personnel keep up with what the license compliance watchdogs and the software contracting sharks are doing - so you don't have to. You and your people are busy enough - allow us to be there to supplement your efforts.
We think that we are paying too much for our software and support contracts. How can we establish a more realistic bottom line?
Interestingly enough, it is difficult to determine if you are obtaining the best price for your products and services. The software publishers continue to push the envelope of extreme pricing for minimal services. They also encourage businesses to keep transactions confidential. If you don't know what others are paying, how can you be certain you aren't paying substantially more? The Network bridges the information gap by assisting you in building an effective software asset negotiations strategies based on front line proven best practices.
Consider This: Fully trained and certified Software Management Professionals have helped other companies negotiate better terms for the same contracts that you are working on right now. They know how to find the savings and avoid many of the pitfalls. Our programs can show you how to save money.
Here's a question for you from the Team at The Network: Why don't the software consumers have a watchdog group which assures reasonable pricing and treatment from the software publishing industry? The ISVs and software publishers are certainly united in their treatment of the consumer. Doesn't it make sense to proactively establish a more effective consumer base?
What is UCITA and how will it affect my company?
UCITA is the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act. This Act was originally an unsuccessful attempt to adjust the Uniform Commercial Code to more effectively monitor regulation of the information systems, electronic copyright, & Internet industry. It lives on as a state-by-state attempt to tackle an extremely difficult issue: What, specifically, are the respective rights of software developers versus those of the software consumer? Or maybe that should be: How can the copyright mega-millionaires put even more drain on our budgets while being backed by the law?
Your best bet on understanding UCITA is going to be to research it. There is a great deal of information on the web about the issues - some of it is of good quality; some of it is questionable. Perform a search on UCITA. SAMs personnel are also available to assist you.
Here is how UCITA can bite you: Even if you are not in a UCITA state, the copyright holder can place your license, or other agreement, under the governing law of a UCITA state. When this is done (and, yes, it HAS been upheld by our courts), you will be subject to all the hazards and limitations of UCITA.
Do your trainers prepare my company to move forward on its own?
Most definitely. Our personnel want you to be capable of maintaining an efficient and compliant ongoing software asset management program. We are here to help your company on its way. We assist you in maximizing your effective use and knowledge of your IT investments as well as in preparing to avoid costly settlements and negative publicity. Although we are available for future consultations, once you are up to speed we step back and enable you to maintain your own systems.
How long would our personnel be in training?
Depending on the complexity of your needs, plan on one to four days. Our programs focus on quality and on assuring that you are prepared to document what you legally own and use. Your personnel can take advantage of our unique online training programs and pod-casts to learn the basics, then attend (or not) the more advanced programs personally.
Ask yourself, "Do I know precisely what software I am licensed to have, the version numbers, actual license details, where the software is configured, and can I document my proofs of purchase? Can I produce all of this information - in current form and in writing - on request?" If you can't, you need to get your people trained.
Check out our online training program introduction HERE.
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