Undergoing a Microsoft SPLA (Services Provider License Agreement) audit can be a complex endeavor for organizations. To ensure compliance and minimize risks, it is crucial to understand the audit process and be well-prepared. In this blog article, we will provide an overview of the typical steps involved in a Microsoft SPLA audit and highlight the role of Octopus Cloud in assisting organizations with SPLA licensing management and risk mitigation.

Kick-Off Meeting and Participants:

The audit process begins with a Kick-Off Meeting, where representatives from the audited company, the Auditor, Microsoft, and other relevant stakeholders (external consultants etc.) come together. During this meeting, project sponsors, project managers, and key individuals responsible for the audit are identified. This sets the foundation for effective communication and collaboration throughout the audit.

General Information:

During the Kick-Off Meeting, certain important details are discussed to ensure a smooth audit process. These include:

  1. Project Sponsors and Project Managers: Individuals responsible for overseeing the audit from both the audited company and Microsoft sides.
  2. Timeline Extensions: Any extensions to the audit timeline must receive approval from Microsoft.
  3. Scoping and Planning: The projected timeline is determined collaboratively between the audited company and Microsoft, ensuring alignment and approval.

Financial Information:

To assess compliance with SPLA, historical data related to access, usage, and service start and end dates must be provided by the audited company. Microsoft typically provides the SPLA reporting templates to facilitate the data collection process.

Technical Information:

The audit requires the collection of hardware, software, and user data. While hardware and software data are generally straightforward to gather, user data may require anonymization to protect personal information.

Hosting Scenarios:

During the audit, various hosting scenarios are examined to ensure compliance with SPLA licensing rules. These scenarios encompass a range of setups and responsibilities, including dedicated and hybrid hosting arrangements. Organizations can rely on Octopus Cloud's expertise in SPLA licensing management to navigate these scenarios effectively.

Additional Considerations:Several factors should be taken into account during the audit process, such as:

  1. Decentralized Environment: Organizations may have a decentralized environment, with different entities managing their respective infrastructures.
  2. Customer Consent: When collecting data from specific IT environments, organizations need to obtain the consent of their customers.
  3. Pseudonymization of Data: Pseudonymization techniques can be applied to protect personally identifiable information.

Draft ELP (Effective Licensing Position

The auditor reviews the data collected to compare your actual usage with what has been reported and paid for under your SPLA agreement. Any discrepancies between actual usage and reported usage will be noted.

Final ELP Presentation to Microsoft

A final meeting is generally held to discuss the audit findings and any corrective actions that need to be taken. If there are discrepancies, you may need to take corrective action, such as amending processes, acquiring additional licenses, or even facing financial penalties. A formal audit report is usually prepared, summarizing the audit findings and any actions taken.

Microsoft retains the right to conduct follow-up audits, usually if significant compliance issues were found.


Navigating a Microsoft SPLA audit requires careful preparation and understanding. By following the outlined steps and leveraging Octopus Cloud's assessed SPLA Licensing Management Solution and SPLA SAM Baseline Consulting Service, organizations can ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and maintain a strong relationship with Microsoft.

For further inquiries or concerns, please feel free to contact us.

Please note that this article is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice.