The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) and Investors in Software (IiS) have joined forces in a bid to provide more clarity on licence compliance and software asset management to the end user community.

The two groups have formed one entity, branded FAST IiS, which aims to promote best practice for licence management and mitigate compliance risks.

The FAST brand will continue its focus as a lobbying and software IP protection body, whilst IiS will promote best practice and consistent standards in software asset management.

Anti-piracy organisation FAST was formed in 1984 and lists software vendors, such as Microsoft and Oracle, resellers, distributors consultancies and law firms amongst its members.

John Lovelock, chief executive of FAST, said: "This is the culmination of the work we have been doing in recent months to position ourselves not only as a lobbyist and protector of software IP rights, but as an organisation determined to help end users through education and best practice.”

Head of anti-piracy at Microsoft, Michala Wardell, welcomed the operational merger: "The intrinsic link between software asset management (SAM), software licence management (SLM), compliancy, and the protection of software IP can often be unclear. The coming together of FAST and IiS creates an entity covering all of the above that can offer clear and considered guidance and assistance to the end user in a practical manner."

Enterprises have to display good corporate governance through compliance audits, but equally want to reduce software procurement and support costs, said Shaun Frohlich, chairman of IiS. These two concerns of enterprises drove the decision to merge the two groups. "There is no doubt in our minds that this is a natural, next evolutionary step creating an organisation that spans the continuum from SLM to SAM," he said.

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