KPMG contract compliance senior manager, Rupert Rowson, said there was an opportunity for resellers and distributors to help vendors and customers through customer education and software auditing facilities. "Suppliers need to articulate to customers where the value in the exercise lies for them," he said. "Auditing may benefit the vendor, but it's also an important factor in showing an end user what they have in place and what they are using. Often, they do not know."
Fahey said better auditing practices would ensure revenue wasn't being leaked and that suppliers were getting appropriate reimbursement for licensing. "Customers need to do this to get the best value from their licensing. And having this will mean they come back to the supplier again and again," she added.
Express Data licensing and annuity manager, Niall Connell, said it still relied on customers to correctly report PC and user numbers. He admitted the method would become harder to maintain as more complex technologies, such as virtualisation and multi-core processors, were taken up.
To combat inevitable customer confusion, the distributor was looking to introduce asset management tools that would allow its resellers to perform auditing for customers. Connell cited Novell's asset management software as one of many products available for licensing management.
Ordyss general manager, Michael Cooke, said the Queensland-based integrator offered asset and license management as part of its customer services. The company has a couple of license specialists who monitor client systems to determine when licenses needed to be renewed or updated. It is a gold partner with several software vendors including Microsoft and Symantec. "Microsoft is pretty well understood by most people today, but others have their quirks. Virtualisation is also a grey area," he said. "We do an audit of a customer's equipment and use a number of tools to determine what's being used as well as what is installed." Cooke said resellers ultimately had a duty of care to ensure customers were equipped with the right software licensing.
"We have an obligation as a partner to eliminate any gaps in licensing which may put a customer in a bad position," he said.
ED's Connell said the changing licensing landscape presented resellers with a good opportunity to deepen their relationship.
"By getting deeper into the inquiry you're adding more value," he said. "Resellers will have to be more involved with queries about licensing as it becomes more complicated. It won't just be about how many users but also the number of cores per processor, which models are running and so forth.