Performance Guarantees in Software Asset Management: More Hype Than Assurance?

Tuesday, 7 November, 2023

In the ever-evolving landscape of software asset management (SAM), clients find themselves navigating through a maze of promises and claims. The ‘performance guarantee’ is the latest buzzword to capture attention. At first glance, this pledge seems compelling: “Trust us, and you won’t pay more than the compliance fees we identify.” Intriguing, isn’t it? Yet, when one digs beneath the surface, the narrative’s nuances become evident. Since LicenseFortress’ inception into the SAM domain, the industry has seen monumental shifts. A growing number of SAM firms have refrained from selling licenses, a trend undeniably influenced by our steadfast refusal to do so, given the glaring conflict of interest. Furthermore, as pioneers of the industry’s first financial guarantee, we now see others attempting to emulate this commitment.

However, it’s imperative to approach the allure of the ‘performance guarantee’ with caution and critical thinking. Not all that glitters is gold, and in the subsequent sections, we’ll delve into why this guarantee might not be the panacea it’s portrayed as, highlighting key areas of concern and what clients should be wary of.

The Widespread Nature of Non-Compliance

One would assume that a performance guarantee is a rare and extraordinary assurance, something that sets one consulting company apart from the rest. Yet, when firms like LicenseFortress assess compliance within various organizations, a consistent pattern emerges. Finding a company fully in compliance is almost akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Over their extensive decade-long experience, LicenseFortress has yet to come across a company that’s fully compliant. This revelation underscores a prevalent industry issue: all organizations, regardless of size or stature, grapple with significant compliance blind spots.

The Financial Consequences of Compliance Issues

To truly grasp the gravity of software asset management, it’s crucial to comprehend the potential financial implications of compliance issues. When consulting firms parade their ‘performance guarantees,’ understanding the broader industry backdrop becomes paramount. With the average LicenseFortress client staring down the barrel of a whopping $3.2 million in compliance issues, these guarantees begin to look less like markers of excellence and more like calculated bets. Read our blog on what a typical Oracle compliance fee costs. (Spoiler alert: It’s not cheap.) Even the most comprehensive engagement with LicenseFortress comes at a lower price tag, revealing that some guarantees might be grounded more in probability than prowess.

SAM or Gambling?

When a consultant offers a performance guarantee in the vein of ensuring you won’t pay more than what they find in compliance fees, it starts to sound eerily like a gamble. They’re essentially betting on the probability that they’ll uncover a significant amount of non-compliance fees, thus making their own charges look modest in comparison. But is gambling what you want when seeking expert guidance on compliance?

A Conflict of Interest

This mode of operation also raises a significant concern: conflict of interest. When a company stands to benefit from finding high non-compliance fees (to make their charges look smaller), can they truly be objective in their assessment? There’s a tangible incentive for them to inflate findings or exaggerate non-compliance issues. After all, the higher the non-compliance fees they uncover, the more favorable their ‘performance guarantee’ appears.

Related: Avoiding Conflicts of Interest in Software Asset Management

Real Assurance: Protection from Erroneous Advice

In this landscape filled with dubious promises and potential conflicts of interest, what should clients look for? The answer lies in genuine, tangible protection. LicenseFortress offers exactly this. Should they provide advice that, for any reason, proves erroneous and a vendor substantiates that a customer is non-compliant, LicenseFortress steps up and covers the costs. This is not a gamble; it’s a genuine commitment to the client’s financial and operational security.


In the intricate world of SAM, superficial promises can often distract and mislead. It’s crucial to discern between marketing fluff and genuine value. A genuine confidence gesture isn’t about playing odds or masking conflicts of interest; it’s about absolute accountability and a commitment to the client’s best interests.

When considering your options in software asset management, don’t be swayed by mere performance guarantees. Seek genuine protection and a partner who prioritizes your interests over their own.

Choose wisely. Choose LicenseFortress.

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