Menu
Five Shades Of Grey… How software buyers should be compliant without being submissive

Five Shades Of Grey… How software buyers should be compliant without being submissive

“Don’t let the salesperson persuade you that his company’s opinion is gospel truth – it isn’t."

“Software license managers should be compliant without being submissive,” says Duncan Jones, VP of Sourcing & Vendor Management Professionals, Forrester Research.

So much so that Jones believes any procurement or asset management professionals who have seen the new movie based on E.L.James’ best selling novels may have noticed the similarity between the “eponymous antihero and a license management services consultant”.

“You’re a sadist?”

“I’m a Dominant.” His eyes are a scorching gray, intense.

“What does that mean?” I whisper.

“It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.”

I frown at him as I try to assimilate this idea.

“Why would I do that?”

“To please me,” he whispers as he cocks his head to one side, and I see a ghost of a smile.

Please him! He wants me to please him! I think my mouth drops open. Please Christian Grey. And I realise, in that moment, that yes, that’s exactly what I want to do. I want him to be damned delighted with me. It’s a revelation.”

"Yes, yes, I'll let you run your audit script on my servers.”

“Sources inside some large software companies tell me that license audits generate 20% to 30% of their license revenue,” Jones observes.

“Although a lot of that will represent deliberate or reckless under-licensing, many of the disputes that I hear about involve software salespeople abusing some licensing shades of grey to pressurise customers into paying them money.”

Jones believes that because it’s difficult to predict how a court will interpret nineties contract language in the current technology context, many companies pay up rather than risk a compliance lawsuit.

Consequently, Jones offers five questions of interpretation that no lawyer can answer.

1. Who is really using my software?

“I continue to hear risible interpretations of ‘use’ and ‘access’, such as the software company that claimed motorists were users because they saw output from its database when they drove past an electronic road sign,” Jones adds.

Previously suggesting a standard interpretation of use based on the concept of interaction - i.e. both input by a user and output by the software, Jones says enterprises need to persuade their vendors to accept this interpretation urgently, “otherwise the Internet Of Things will bankrupt you.”

2. Where is the boundary between soft and hard partitioning?

While “processors on which the software is installed and/ or running” was fine when chips, memory and storage were all in the same box, Jones believes today’s data centres are different.

“Even when vendors add extra language post-contract, technology evolution can restore the grey shades,” he adds.

“For instance, who can say whether or not the latest ways of optimising storage and resilience are "installation", as the contract signatories understood the term?

“The vendors may try to convince you that they can redefine the word as they see fit, but they may not be correct.”


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags softwareForrester Researchvendor

Featured

Slideshows

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA

Reseller News has honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand ICT industry at the 2019 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards recognised standout individuals across six categories, spanning Entrepreneur, Rising Star, Shining Star, Community, Technical and Achievement. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Leading female front runners of the Kiwi ICT industry honoured at 2019 WIICTA
Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch

Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch

The 2019 Reseller News Innovation Awards has kicked off with the Judges Lunch in Auckland with 70 judges in the voting panel. The awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors. Photos by Christine Wong.

Reseller News kicks off awards season in 2019 with Judges' Lunch
Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2018 inductees - Chris Simpson, Kendra Ross and Phill Patton - to the third running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing landscape of the technology industry in New Zealand, while outlining ways to attract a new breed of players to the ecosystem. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures for 2019 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments