Waiting and postponing are usually bad business practices. Only very few problems vanish into thin air over time. Regarding the Indirect Access, the user association DSAG has long relied on waiting in the hopes that SAP will ultimately show understanding towards the association and its thousands of members. However, that was not the case: SAP made an important step towards regaining the trust of customers which seemed to have been lost recently, according to what DSAG CEO Andreas Oczko stated in a press release.
In April, SAP finally introduced a new licensing model which should be seen as an alternative to the existing use of Indirect Access. DSAG was full of praise for this alternative and for itself because it was the only external organization that was allowed to help SAP with developing this new licensing model.
Meanwhile, the associations Voice and IA4SP were considering how they could really help existing SAP costumers. Ultimately, it is about determining the legal position and transparency for the user who will always see the topic of licenses in its entirety- in business, organizational, technical and legal terms.
In addition to the general problems of licensing based on USMM, LAW and SolMan, Indirect Access was the most talked about topic in the past. That’s because its principle is very hard to understand. The EU Software Directive 2009/24 states: “The function of computer programs is to connect and operate with the other components of a computer system and the users. This functional link and interaction are commonly known as interoperability; this interoperability can be defined as the ability to exchange information and to use the exchanged information reciprocally.” What SAP is describing as Indirect Access is known as interoperability in legal literature.
Bending the law?
On December 32nd, it’s too late to determine whether or not the ERP monopolist is abusing its dominant market position and bending the law by re-interpreting interoperability as Indirect Access. It was and still is important to actively resolve the SAP antitrust law issue in Berlin, just as a user association in a similar situation had already done with the Swiss antitrust authority Preisueberwacher.
At the same time, existing SAP costumers naturally need comprehensive technical and organizational information. A work group consisting of SAP partners, user associations and lawyers designed a one-day seminar to be held on September 18th this year at Print Media Academy in Germany. Remaining seats can still be booked on e-3.de/lkh.
The meeting about licensing for existing SAP costumers in Germany has two purposes: information and planning on further steps towards an integral and joint solution for the problem of interoperability and Indirect Access. Uncertainty and ignorance harm SAP as well as existing customers and partners.
Legal certainty is a necessity on the road to digital transformation with blockchain and IoT. A global supply chain with blockchain and Indirect Access is unimaginable. Now, it is important to resolve licensing tasks and set the course towards SAP Leonardo (AI, IoT, Big Data, Blockchain, etc.). Because again: on December 32, it is too late.