Nitro Blog

Surprise: Adobe’s Coming to Audit You! Now What?


Contract compliance is an important part of the vendor-client relationship. Vendors must ensure that clients are using their solutions according to contract specifications, so they may continue to provide the best products and services possible.

Some vendors, however, view noncompliance as an additional revenue opportunity, and aim to capitalize on the mistakes of their customers by conducting unpredictable, intensive, costly, and frankly frightening audit processes to police entitlements. Adobe is one example of such a vendor, and according to Gartner Research, has ranked among the top three for audit frequency over the past five years.

It’s no small task to accommodate an audit from Adobe (hence Gartner’s report on Surviving an Adobe Software License Audit), and the implications of failing one are severe. Most commonly, organizations can face significant unbudgeted costs, and may also be pushed into “less suitable” (read: high-cost, multi-year) term license agreements.

Gartner reports that “Adobe has audited a higher proportion of its customers than vendors with similar revenue, and seems to have enhanced its audit process recently.”

With the possibility of such an event always looming, IT teams must spend significant time and resources ensuring they’re prepared to sustain the notorious audit with relatively little lead time—should an auditor ever come a-knockin’.

If you’re in IT and your organization is tapped for an audit, here are five ways it could negatively affect your productivity:

7 days’ noticeAccording to the Gartner report, Adobe provides notice of an upcoming audit just 7 days in advance. Talk about dropping a bomb—especially considering industry norm for lead time is 30 days.

No reassurance. Adobe offers no contractual reassurance that a software license audit will not impact normal business activity. So what if you’re at an accounting firm who receives an audit notice in the middle of March, or working for a software vendor who finds out they’re going to be audited just one week prior to their big product launch? Sorry, Charlies!

No helping handThe Gartner report states flat out that no audit subject should hope for any assistance from Adobe with regard to entitlement records. Sounds like they’re too busy conducting more audits than any other comparable vendor to help a customer out.

Enterprise resources required. You don’t have to be engaged in an enterprise-level contract with Adobe to be audited; however, surviving an audit requires a dedicated resource—generally a Software Asset Manager (SAM)—to carry the workload. There’s just one problem: it’s very uncommon that SMBs have a dedicated SAM. These responsibilities generally roll into the job role of an IT Manager, which means when he or she is focused on the audit, there’s little room for the rest of their to-do list.

Catch 22. Adobe holds organizations responsible for maintaining the completeness of their respective entitlement histories; however, Gartner reports that proactively ordering missing records without being engaged in an audit can trigger Adobe to initiate one! Sounds like a lose-lose to me.

Have you ever faced a software licensing audit from Adobe? I invite you to share your experience in the comments section.

To learn more about how to prepare for an Adobe software audit, check out our eBrief on the subject. If you’re ready to speak with a Nitro representative about what a switch ing compliance differs from Adobe’s, please contact our sales team at any time.

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