Sandi is the author of the “SAM Starter Kit” published by The ITAM Review.
When first setting up an asset management practice, determining which licenses can be proven as legal can be quite a challenge. Many publishers now offer licenses on line, which eliminates a great deal of confusion when it comes to proving validity of software. If the publisher shows the license on your eLicense site, you are guaranteed that the license is valid. This is one of the reasons it is so important to cross reference your purchase history with your publisher’s purchase history. If there is a discrepancy, it may mean that your vendor is not providing valid licenses or it may mean that your license is listed in the wrong account.
Not all publishers provide a foolproof license program. Some do not reference specific agreement numbers and require the company name to be spelled exactly the same each time or require a single email address for all orders to ensure the licenses are listed together. This means that your licenses may be on record somewhere, but may not be readily accessible. I’ve even experienced two companies with similar names mixed up by the publisher, which required several phone calls to fix. There may be many reasons the licenses do not show up on the eLicense site, but the publishers are general very amicable to fixing their records.
If licenses were purchased as OEM there may be stickers, or proof of license may be the invoice. If retail packages are purchased, there is usually something identified – either a sticker on the box or an internal document – as “Proof of License” and occasionally the media is also considered part of the proof of license. Ensure these are recorded in inventory and securely stored in case an audit is called. OEM and retail licenses will not appear on any eLicense sites and will be questioned by an auditor, especially if large quantities are purchased this way.
Some of the big electronics or office supply stores will provide discount for purchasing retail boxes in bulk, but remember, the savings will be offset by the costs of storing multiple proof of license documents and multiple serial numbers. If there is confusion over which document is considered proof of license, contact the software publisher to find out what is required or keep all documentation.
Sandi has been in the software business since 1991 and was one of the first Software Contract Administrators in Canada.
She has been providing consulting services since 1996, helping hundreds of clients to understand their obligations and rights under a myriad of contracts, and comparing licensing programs to find the most advantageous options for her clients.