The letter you’ve received is a “Software Asset Management” (SAM) review invitation from a Microsoft Partner. The important thing to note, these SAM reviews are not coming from Microsoft directly, but from one of their partners whose aim is to sell software. Yes, they are working with Microsoft using Microsoft’s tools, but they are not Microsoft and this is not a Microsoft official audit.
How organizations choose to respond to a SAM Engagement will vary from one to another. Responding is voluntary. This blog post provides some information to help you make a decision on what to do. Often these reviews will find “Something, Somewhere” that they can sell you. After all, the point of the MS Partner going through the process is to sell software. These reviews can find legitimate areas an organization is not compliant with licensing and save them fines in a potential legal audit, should one occur. You will be required to purchase the software if non-compliance is found by the SAM Reviewer.
Feel free to reach out to us to discuss further!
How can Kerkhoff Technologies help?
We can engage with and assist the SAM Partner with the assessment on your behalf. It will involve running a Microsoft provided network scanner on your network. Additionally, the reviewer will ask for Excel spreadsheets with all licensing keys/numbers for all Microsoft products used by your organization. The process can drag on for several months and consume 20-30 hours of tech time.
Here are two different opinions that may help you decide on a direction:
What is Microsoft Software Asset Management (SAM)?
The Microsoft SAM program is a trusted IT advisory service based on industry SAM standards that help customers gain data insights, optimize licensing, minimize risks, and be more productive with their IT investments. SAM engagements provide a 360-degree view of the customer’s IT infrastructure and a set of recommendations on ways to improve their overall asset management, license management, and SAM policies and procedures. With this comprehensive view, customers get valuable recommendations on areas that are most challenging for their business. SAM engagements are performed by Microsoft SAM Certified Partners and are voluntary. We believe that SAM can be a strategic advantage for all our customers. Learn from customers how SAM has benefited their business.
How is the SAM license review different from the Microsoft audit?
Microsoft SAM and license compliance verification are not the same. The list below shows the differentiation between SAM and license compliance verification.
Microsoft Software Asset Management (SAM)
- Nature of engagement: Voluntary
- Performed by: Microsoft SAM Certified Partners with more flexibility in process
- Objective: Help customers maximize value, minimize risks, and achieve more with their IT investment
Microsoft license compliance verification (audit)
- Nature of engagement: Mandatory contractual requirement
- Performed by: Independent, internationally recognized certified public accounting firms. However, in some jurisdictions, verifications are also conducted by authorized consultants on behalf of Microsoft.
- Objective: Help customers achieve and maintain license compliance, and to protect Microsoft’s intellectual property rights