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What happens to software compliance at the point of a vendor divestiture?

By Allen Biehl | October 27, 2015

My colleague Peter Turpin recently wrote a series of Blogs about why M&A due diligence needs to include SAM, here I look specifically at divestitures and how to manage software compliance after a split.

One of the biggest challenges SAM practitioners face is change. Organizational change, such as mergers and divestitures.

Or contracting change, such as moving from a Microsoft EA to an EAP or ECI. Yes, change is a constant. It’s hard enough dealing with internal changes, but what happens when changes are imposed by software publisher activity?

Last winter, Symantec announced that it would split their “information management” (i.e. backup) solutions into a separate company (this actually happened over the summer of 2015 when it was sold to the Carlyle Group in August).  

Having had acquired Veritas a few years ago, they resurrected the name for its discrete information management arm. How this is going to affect licensing for the two pools of products is anyone’s guess. But you can be sure it’s going to change.

How does a company deal with this kind of change?

What can a SAM manager do to ensure the enterprise doesn’t find itself on the wrong side of an audit after such a split?

The first step is to review your current license agreements with that publisher.

  • What rights do you have to perpetual licenses?
  • Are there any clauses on how often a publisher can change terms, if at all?
  • What support levels are committed?

If you’ve been following SAM best practice, those contracts should be attached to the Software Contract entry in Snow License Manager. If they’re not, you’ve just found out why that’s best practice!

The next step is to make sure you know your current license position with all applications from that publisher. Running a compliance report in Snow License Manager is a solid start.

But even if you’re compliant, make sure you dig deeper.

  • Are you still using all of those applications?
  • To what extent?
  • Is there an opportunity to reduce your support levels or even eliminate some titles?

Usage data from your SAM tool can help you make those decisions.

Finally, be proactive. Don’t wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop. Armed with compliance and usage data you have collected, reach out to the publisher and start the discussion around the effects of the split. At the very least, initiate the process of signing a new license agreement, if desired. Times of change are often opportunities to better your position with a vendor, as they are concerned about retaining customers during a split.

If you’re concerned about the Symantec/Veritas split, or some other vendor activity, please contact one of our Software Asset Management experts.

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