For many decades now, the transformation of IT has been observable. Applications, architectures and processes are constantly evolving, and many things are changing for the better. Regarding software licenses, however, it seems as though nearly no IT manufacturer has done their homework.
The singular use of algorithms in a one-to-one relationship – computer and person – is relatively easy to depict. Additionally, it is sufficiently organized through activation servers and internet for providers as well as users. Whether it is Microsoft Office 365 or Adobe Suite, the price-performance-ratio, the activation technology and the license management are logical and more or less fair.
Software providers seem completely lost when dealing with complex scenarios, though. For example, if the one-to-one ratio is replaced with a network of on-premise servers, bots, cloud computing, IoT sensors and users. If the data stream gets multidimensional and the data source is not explicitly stated, many well-known licensing terms and rules do not apply anymore.
Some manufacturers escaped this predicament through Indirect Access. This approach is not only easy to implement, but also makes a lot of money. The reasoning is simple: If a program is accessing the data files of another program, meaning that they interact with one another, manufacturers claim that they are technically getting used by the foreign software. Consequently, licenses for this “Indirect Access“ have to be paid for.
Indirect access: fairy-tale castle or illusion?
But Indirect Access is an illusion! SAP’s wish to make more money is responsible for creating Indirect Access. From a technological perspective, the interaction between user programs is called interoperability which is strictly regulated by the EU software directive. Therefore, it is the very nature of every software to communicate with other programs.
If SAP now tries to charge for a basic function of an algorithm, regardless of technological, economic or organizational reasoning, then every IT system reduces itself ad absurdum. Indirect Access simply cannot exist. This term is an illusion designed to trick SAP customers into paying more for licenses.
With promises and threats, SAP created a fairy-tale castle which looks desirable as well as menacing from a distance. Upon closer inspection, the castle collapses in on itself, revealing the illusion it was all along. What is left is a disaster, because Indirect Access has no logical explanation.