Skip to main content

Cerno - Save on software license fee demands

Oracle, SAP, Microsoft: their demands and penalties can be challenged

  • By London Councils



License reviews, new software purchases, preparatory internal audits: Cerno's combined contractual + technical + commercial expertise can reduce your software license costs.

The large software vendors have a tight hold on councils and, using software audits or license reviews, often impose high penalties for any under-licensing they uncover.  The databases and technology used by councils means that they cannot readily switch and still need to support legacy systems.

The dependence of councils to their systems means that they can be exposed to unfair demands with little opportunity to resist. Cerno challenges assumed interpretations of the contracts and manages any dispute with the software vendor. It establishes the true exposure of the council – and then negotiates forcefully to reduce the costs.  

Cerno are experts in the license structures imposed by Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, Adobe, IBM and other main software vendors – these are often opaque and ambiguous. The vendor’s assertions can often be challenged and identifying alternative technical deployment can often sidestep very high unexpected license requirements.


Cerno brings together three key elements:

  1. Commercial: knowledge as to pricing and negotiation skills
  2. Legal: expertise to search out defects and ambiguities in the contracts;
  3. Technical: recommendations for most effective deployment without limiting usage.

Unlike many advisers, Cerno is completely independent. It is not a reseller nor does it have any commercial relationships (either open or unseen) with any of the software companies.



The benefits of working with Cerno include:

  • Reductions in penalties/ licence fees in software audits/license reviews;
  • Preparatory advice as to deployment and licenses needed in advance of any audit;
  • New purchases and ‘Unlimited License Agreements’ : most appropriate licenses acquired at lowest cost;
  • Removal of jeopardy for unrealised claims.
  • Total software licence costs reduced.

Cerno operates on a fixed fee basis for an initial report; on-going work is charged at a percentage of savings achieved (if the initial report determines no savings can be secured, the fee is reimbursed). 

Visit Cerno's website


Contact us

Thomas Man Head of Capital Ambition ([email protected])

Lisa Henry Capital Ambition Programme Manager ([email protected])