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The four most important aspects of software due diligence audits

Phil Odence

Aug 18, 2022 / 3 min read

At some level, the pitch for any software-related service is the same: We have the expertise to provide high-quality solutions to your challenging problems. Sometimes that expertise is “powered by” proprietary technology. That’s well-aligned to what prospective clients look for in most software service scenarios

Four aspects of software due diligence audits

Expertise and quality of analysis (and the technology to power it) are key aspects of services that support software due diligence as well. Additionally though, the nature of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) add to the list of important features to look for. The Black Duck® Audit team has been in the middle of dozens of M&A transactions for more than a decade, and it’s become clear that in addition to the technical basics due diligence teams require, two other factors are critically important.

Anyone who’s been part of an M&A transaction knows that it’s usually a pretty wild ride. All service providers in that space (including lawyers, accountants, bankers, etc.) know that it’s not a 9-5 job and that deals often have a mind of their own—and they can proceed at a breathtaking pace. These transactions are also characterized by the millions of details involved. This all bears directly on the choice osoftware due diligence audit provider: In addition to doing great work, they need to turn on a dime and rapidly build trust with all involved

Hyper-responsiveness / timeliness

Due diligence timelines are short, typically a few weeks, and clients are not always bringing in service providers at the front end. So it’s critical that teams are ready to mobilize as soon as the phone rings. Further, transaction close dates are often set in stone, so missing dates is not an option. Scale and flexibility are therefore essential.

These comments all come from NPS survey responses. (You’ve probably seen these simple surveys—they mainly ask how likely you would be to recommend a product or service to a friend or colleague. The scoring scale ranges from –100 to 100. Top companies like Costco, Apple, and Ritz-Carlton tout scores in the 60s and 70s. We receive (and value) constructive criticism, but with the Black Duck Audit score hovering around 80, it’s no surprise that the comments we get are overwhelmingly positive.)

  • I contacted Black Duck's emergency hotline and within the hour, they contacted me.
  • They are very responsive and proactive in following up and providing updates. They work as a team to help accelerate and deliver audits.
  • They are exceptional. They are knowledgeable and prompt. We were moving on a fast timeline and they worked alongside us. They deftly guided us through setup, they were resourceful in meeting our asks, and they responded quickly to every question.
  • Customer service was excellent (always very quick responses, willingness to attend unplanned calls to explain the reports), and the timing exceeded expectations (which were already high)

Trusted reputation

Uncertainty abounds in M&A transactions, and the due diligence process is about building trust. With so many moving parts, it’s essential that acquirers trust that due diligence teams will do their job and deliver. Clients need to feel that “we’ve got this.” Huge and invasive demands are placed on sellers in these pressure cooker situations, and they need to be comfortable with the people and organizations to which they are disclosing highly sensitive information.

  • They worked as an all-around service provider and thought-partner to make the process smooth and reassuring.
  • The Synopsys team never misses a deadline.
  • I am comfortable putting them in front of our due diligence targets when needed.
  • Communication throughout the audit process was outstanding as well, to ensure our confidence in Synopsys being able to hit the commitment date.


Experts are required to assess all aspects of a target’s software and development environment. One of the key elements of trust, beyond confidentiality and delivery consistency, is that the people providing the information are world class.

  • A team with very profound knowledge.
  • Great interactions, great people, clear commitment to a job well done.
  • Always available, friendly, intuitive, insightful, and honest.

Quality of results / world-class tools

The bottom line of software due diligence audits is providing useful, insightful results in the form of reports. Behind the scenes are world-class tools and experts who are available to explain, interpret, and advise on results.

  • They provided an excellent walk-through of our audit. They presented the information at the right level of detail, they were able to provide additional color and context to audit results, and succinctly walk us through our assessment. Fantastic team!
  • Report was thorough and identified exactly what we were looking for. Review session was clear and understandable.
  • The reports were very detailed and thorough. They broke down the information in multiple ways, which is useful for multiple company functions.
  • Thorough and well-laid-out information.

 M&A software due diligence demands technical excellence, but it’s clear from customer comments that there is a premium placed on speed and trust as well in this unique scenario.

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