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SPLA and CSP-Hoster Audit Defense

Are you being audited?

From experience, we know that an audit is never pleasant, especially when you are a service provider or a SaaS company.

  • You wouldn't usually plan for it.

  • It requires extra effort and resources.

  • Audit penalties are not in your budget.

  • There is a risk of reputational and further financial damage.

In addition, you must account for the following:

  • Third-party responsibility for your end clients and partner channel.

  • Contractual compliance with the terms of SPLA.

  • The complexity of service provider licensing scenarios.

Auditors make worst-case assumptions, and it is on you to push back and defend your position.

How we can support you

Our dedicated SPLA experts will:

  • Ensure that what you don't have to pay for, you won't – well before negotiations.

  • Steer your team's efforts so that they spend less time guessing and stay focused and efficient.

  • Ascertain that you only provide the data the auditor needs to see.

  • Help you gather all the defensive evidence they must see.

  • Forensically analyze your business practices and data.

  • Build a strong audit defense case.

  • Check the auditor's report for mistakes and excessive assumptions.

When the technical phase of the audit is finished, we will help you negotiate the outcome by applying best-practice negotiation tactics to mitigate the audit bill.

Our leadership will work closely with your executive team and put you back in the driver's seat.

How we work

We help you minimize the penalties and consequential damage by using a proven methodology shaped in battle. We know how they work and think. So, we replicate the audit process ensuring that you are always a few steps ahead of the auditors.

Of course, it is best to call us right when you receive the audit notice from Microsoft. But no matter when we join your team during the audit, there is an opportunity and the means to defend your position.

SPLA audit process timeline steps

Our comprehensive audit defense process below will be adjusted to your situation depending on where you are in the audit when you engage with us.

{Defend your position in every step of the audit


Understanding the audit landscape

  • Scope and timeframe
  • Where you are in the process
  • Your service catalog
  • Infrastructure diagram
  • Business history
  • Your clients
  • Your partner channel
  • Licensing practices

Initial analysis

Identifying possible issues

  • Gathering inventory
  • Gathering reporting history
  • Gap and risk analysis in reporting
  • Contractual compliance
  • Process analysis
  • Identifying the issues
  • Mitigating honest mistakes
  • Preparing the right data

Data provision

Controlling the data flow

  • Ensuring only the right data is provided to the auditor
  • Avoiding over-submission
  • Providing additional evidence for mitigation
  • Responding to auditor queries
  • Preparing for on-site auditor visits

Report analysis

Technical defense

  • Responding to assumptions
  • Ensuring there are no calculation mistakes
  • Providing additional data and evidence
  • Shadowing auditor communications

Negotiation planning

  • Finalising your defense case
  • Business objectives
  • Map relationship with Microsoft
  • Comercial leverage
  • Plan of action
  • Team preparation

Negotiation execution

  • Multi-cycle negotiation alignment
  • Proposal analysis and feedback
  • Tactical war room of experts at your disposal
  • Closing strategy


We deliberately don't partner with Microsoft or sell licenses. It ensures that our advice is impartial and there is no hidden agenda.


We employ our thorough understanding of contractual compliance, service provider licensing and how Microsoft works to help you achieve the best possible results.


You don’t have to take our word for it. We will organize a reference call so you get first-hand feedback from a provider we helped.

Why work with us

In over 10 years, SAMexpert consultants helped avoid and mitigate over $500 million of audit penalties.

We have worked with multiple service providers ranging from boutique SaaS companies to multinational business process outsourcing giants around the Globe.

We have distilled our joint experience into a battle-proven process that is continuously updated to meet the latest trends in Microsoft audit defense.

{Over $500 million saved

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