Microsoft volume licensing for the enterprise space is a talent to itself. You get audited unexpectedly, but especially when the company is rapidly growing and IT controls aren’t as solid. It’s a shakedown for cash, I think. We pushed them out for as long as we could and got a consultant in to help… from my former Big4 employer.
In the enterprise space you get audited regularly, and there are big fines for non-compliance with the volume licensing. They will also sell you the licenses you need to be compliant at a premium. I’ve dived a little of the way down the volume licensing rabbit hole during our recent audit, and it’s complex. You have 32bit/64bit, Standard and professional for the Office Suite, and then the same for the add-ons: Visio and Project. Some of the versions aren’t compatible with “click to run Office365”, which is another type of license, and all these have to be licensed separately. There’s also a hard limit on how many times you can reinstall Office products.
They were trying to squeeze us for €40k in fines and licenses, saying our MS Visio and Project Standard licenses were no longer valid for the Professional versions. And that 250 employees were only licensed for Office 2016, not Office 2016 click to run. We were compliant last time we checked 3 years ago, but the terms had changed without us being informed. I knew it was a shakedown from Microsoft, so I did my bit running reports and migrating people to the compliant programs. Once it’s close, they don’t care as much and are willing to bargain.
I suggested that were weren’t informed of the changes, and were now 99% compliant once we were aware. So eventually, with much wrangling, we got it down to like €5k worth of licenses and no fine. It leaves a pretty bitter taste in your mouth though, and was a good chuck of time for a whole quarter wasted on compliance.
During the audit, found a machine in the directory called “WANGBLOWS” that summed our feelings up well.