Recently, I posted an article about free consulting engagements being offered by Microsoft Software Asset Management (SAM) Partners. In some cases, this may actually be a bad thing. When I first posted the article, I was thinking about how a free consulting engagement may actually help some IT shops get on the right track. It seems like a quick (and cheap) way of creating a license position for Microsoft software products. On the surface, it seems like a good thing. Who could better tell you about your license position for Microsoft products than Microsoft? This may be true but just be sure you are aware of the risks.
There is clearly a conflict of interest during such engagements. I understood this fact previously but I didn’t think too much about it until I read an article from The ITAM Review: Dissecting The Microsoft Audit Letter. The article helps to translate licensing lingo for the rest of us. Even though the article expounds an actual audit letter, many of the same terms are used by Microsoft in the description of the SAM services they are promoting. Take a minute and compare the two. According to the author (Martin Thompson), the term “SAM Engagement” is code for software audit. If that’s the case, when you sign up for a free SAM consultancy you may be volunteering for an audit…..I can’t say that I’m an expert in this field yet, but based on the audit letter provided by The ITAM Review, you may want to think twice about signing up for anything offerings from a software vendor.
In closing, I have nothing against Microsoft SAM consultants. I haven’t even worked with any. I’m sure that most of these folks are are ethical an maintain good character. I just want to provide the community with another perspective. There are billions of dollars to be made….and lost in the SAM space these days. Be careful not to let unscrupulous people take advantage of you or your organization.