The practice of keeping close watch on the use of software licenses has become difficult for busy IT departments. However, failing to do so can result in a hefty unexpected bill.
That’s the trouble currently being experienced at Rent-A-Center (RAC) in its dispute with software provider SAP. After an audit, SAP discovered the rent-to-own chain had been using more licenses than allowed in the software license agreement — and SAP handed RAC a bill for $9 million, the cost of the extra licenses and maintenance fees.
RAC sued, claiming SAP improperly interpreted the original license agreement, CIO.com reports.
While the outcome of the dispute won’t be known until the case winds its way through the courts, there are some steps every company can take to help avoid a similar dust-up:
- Know what the agreement allows – The first step is to be absolutely certain what the license agreement says you can and can’t do, and what constitutes the use of a license.
- Have a way to keep track – It’s important to use available software tools to track licenses. Some companies also find having one person appointed to track license use is the best way to keep a close watch.
- Communicate – Open lines of communication between the person who tracks license use, systems administrators and whoever signs vendor agreements is critical for making sure enough licenses are purchased so problems can be avoided.