Vendors like Microsoft , VMware or Adobe use audits as an effective method to check that companies only use software for which they actually possess a license, i.e. have paid for. That is understandable and entirely legitimate. But audits are rarely accompanied by a general sense of jubilation in the companies affected, as each license audit means more work and higher costs. A good reason to take a closer look at license audits.
Why exactly do software vendors conduct audits? How does this practice affect the use of software? The British non-profit organization Campaign for Clear Licensing focuses on these issues. It was set up back in 2012 with the aim of shedding light on the complex license policies in software environments while at the same time offering an independent alternative to BSA (The Software Alliance), the lobby group representing the leading software companies.
Besides providing transparency, the group releases regular information on the known practices by software vendors. This includes analyses of the repercussions of audits on companies. In its November 2016 article entitled "Software vendor audits block software market competition and hinder customer innovation ", the organization quotes a global study in criticizing that vendor audits obstruct competition and innovation.