The Challenges Of SAP License Management
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The Challenges Of SAP License Management

Compliance aspects are just as relevant as economic efficiency. Efficient SAP license-management's recipe for success is based upon a well-balanced and efficient mix of people, processes and tools.

In many instances, there is no governance structure for establishing the interfaces/communication paths between Purchasing, Legal Affairs, IT Operations, Controlling and License Management.

This forms the basis for compliance and also cost-efficient and resource-efficient management of license audits.  In addition, it is only in building upon this that strategic topics can be established – such as license pooling – because without a corresponding governance structure the necessary information paths remain undefined.

Defining License Concepts

It is important for license types to be added to existing role concepts and authorisation concepts; this is so that, if one or more user accounts are made available for a team member, licenses are allocated according to that person’s designated function.

This helps to ensure basis compliance and can usually be managed by using SAP standard tools. Anyone who establishes deactivation mechanisms for unused user-accounts and issues suitable default license types on the system side, is well equipped – from the technical viewpoint – for an upcoming survey of use.

But take note! Not only dialogue-users are deemed relevant for surveying; communication users can also be taken into account in terms of licencing law. An additional factor in success is knowledge of existing licencing contracts and maintenance contracts.

Rights of Use

In the case of rights of use, the date when the contract was concluded is significant, as is (for instance) the list of prices and conditions forming the basis for the purchase.

Likewise the type of contract is an essential information source for determining conditions that are important in licencing-law terms – such as the definition of the criteria on the basis of which a user is considered to be active, from SAP’s viewpoint.

Tools for the Job

Some SAP customers, if in the comfortable situation of having the points referred-to under control, concern themselves with the guideline on system surveying and with the notice that user-licenses should be allocated on the basis of actual use.

Various producers of software and tools have specialised in analysis of this information on use, or they have supplemented their existing portfolio of license management solutions so as to include relevant components.

For selecting the toolset that exactly fits, it is essential to carefully consider one’s own IT infrastructure, the identity-management processes and also, in particular, the contractual conditions and rights of use.

The reason for this is found in the way that the respective tools are installed and also in their functional scope. For instance, relevant questions are: what ramifications does an agent-based installation have when compared to a central installation or a cloud installation?

Which ECC versions are covered by the tool? Is the data read? Or is it also written back into satellite systems? All of this has an impact on the licencing type used and serves the purpose of clarifying whether there is a case of indirect use.

Here the distinction should be made as to whether this can be covered through platform-user licenses or it entails a licencing of NetWeaver Foundation for Third-Party Applications.

In the latter case, if the decision has favoured a (selectable once-only) licensing model (user or core), (where applicable) this has negative implications on the introduction of the preferred tool solution. Caution is required if a vendor/advisor is promoting ‘automated’ licencing management.

Finding the Basis

The principle that applies here is that, in licensing-law terms, the individual contract always forms the customer-specific basis. Proposals for the definition of license types that are based on model-use, CPU use etc. are only in very few instances given a green light by SAP.

The promise usually continues to apply solely for the user-area and for the presentation of engines, which are surveyed through the USMM/LAW. Products such as Sybase, Business Objects, Ariba and engines not surveyed by SAP are usually not covered.

E-3 Magazine, KPMG

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