On this page you will learn:

- Of the need for the licence to be correct

- Compliance issues

- Cost issues

The problem
If your licence entitlement does not grant you the right to install or make available to a user the software in question, then that licence is not valid, which is a compliance problem.

Also, if your licence entitlement actually grants you rights to a more expensive software product than is installed (or available) then you have wasted money in purchasing a more expensive licence than you needed to, which is a cost issue.

Unfortunately many organisations underestimate the detail involved in ensuring that both of the above are avoided.

We meet people all the time who believe that owning 1000 Microsoft 'Office' licences means they are legally entitled to install 1000 copies of Microsoft 'Office', full stop.

With most software these days there are multiple editions of products and so having the right edition of licence is vital.

If you purchase a particular edition of a licence, then you must install (or make available) the correct edition that matches that licence.

It works the other way as well, if you install or make available a particular edition of software, the corresponding licence that grants you the right to have that software must be purchased.

Dealing with compliance first
Now of course you would not buy an Adobe Photoshop licence to cover the installation of Microsoft Office, but did you know the following?
  • A Microsoft Office Standard licence does not cover a Microsoft Office Professional installation - Edition versus Version
  • Microsoft Office purchased through OEM requires the actual OEM disks to be installed rather than any other form of media (e.g. Select or Open) - MS re-imaging - unless you purchase volume agreement licences.

You may think the above are obvious and you would never make such an assumption, but we come across organisations every day where such mistakes are made and the consequences are expensive.

And although we use Microsoft examples, these rules apply across all publishers products.

Under licensed
We have worked with organisations where one or more of the above examples caused huge disruption and un-budgeted expense.

Either the organisation has had to completely re-image every one of their machines or purchase the correct licences to cover what was installed and throw away all the licences that they thought covered the requirement.

Please note, that if you are in an audit situation it is extremely unlikely that the publisher will allow you to remove, re-image or do anything to correct a non-compliant situation.

It doesn't take long on a network of 250+ machines to create a potential financial risk of hundreds or thousands of pounds, often unexpected, unbudgeted and unwelcome, but the risk is there all the same.

These examples should not be seen to be exclusive to Microsoft, they are simply examples, the point being that the licences you own should be checked against the corresponding software that is installed or available to ensure that there is a real match.

We have seen hundreds of examples of simple errors that have had catastrophic effects.

A company in the UK midlands effectively purchased the wrong type of Office upgrades for their 1,700 machines, which meant most of the base licences were invalid and so the upgrades with them.  New licences had to be purchased - approximately £350,000 was paid.

A local authority in the West Country had been purchasing OEM Office licences for years but installing from Office Professional media.  They had to start again and all the OEM licences were written off.

A bank with several thousand employees was receiving machines from their hardware provider that were pre-built with Microsoft Office that did not match the licences that had been bought for the previous 3 years.  Last we heard, there was £700,000 worth of licences to be purchased.

In each case the publisher was carrying out an audit where no opportunity to mitigate exposure was available once the process began.

Each one of these expensive mistakes could have been avoided if simple steps had been taken prior to an audit situation - see our How to do SAM section and Control SAM costs...

Similarly, don't spend too much money - Cost
Over licensed

Strictly speaking, it is also true that an Office Professional licence does not cover an Office Standard install under the terms of the contract, even though many would argue that the Pro licence costs more that the Standard licence so surely no one would question the legality of this situation?

But why would you want to justify spending too much for a Microsoft licence?

The cost differential between Pro and Standard Office if spread over a network of 1000 machines could mean £80,000+ more than necessary is being spent.

The point in every case is to make sure that the software your organisation is deploying is correct under the terms of the licence and necessary, otherwise you will either be risking great expense in terms of non-compliance or over spending.

We show you how to get these points right in our How to do SAM section and Deploy the right software + Deploy the right user access...

Now we look at the importance of proof of licence entitlement in Prove it or lose it...