SAP releases preliminary Indirect Access detection tool for customers

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by | August 16, 2018

SAP officially released its stand-alone tool for customers to estimate their annual consumption of business documents created via non-SAP applications on July 31st, 2018.

The long-awaited tool was released as a consequence to SAP’s April 2018 Indirect/Digital Access pricing update, which revolves around 9 types of business documents. The tool can be downloaded from the SAP marketplace as Note 2644139 (for ECC) and Note 2644172 (for S/4HANA)

Our SAP License Advisory group has been analyzing the note since its release, and we believe the following information is critical for you:

In a previous blog post we explained SAP’s intent to charge for business documents created within the digital core (ECC/S4) stemming from 3rd party (non-SAP) systems, and that these fees will be based on the level of individual line-items. That is to say, one Sales Order including ten line items, would result in 10 documents at a starting price of 0,50 EUR per document. The attached sample output from SAP’s tool confirms the line-item approach. Our advice is to consider all present and future use cases for these 9 types of business documents, and realize that counting at the line-item level can produce drastically higher consumption levels than you may have previously expected.

SAP is planning to add automatic discovery for Indirect Access to its regular USMM/SLAW audit process by the end of 2018. In other words, if you choose to wait until your 2019 annual self-measurement – SAP will force you to discuss your Indirect Access document consumption on the basis of their audit results. The current version of SAP’s preliminary tool still has the following limitations:

– SAP cannot distinguish between business documents created by non-SAP applications and licensed SAP applications, which means you have to manually specify technical users that are used to connect a non-SAP application to your SAP systems. For organizations with hundreds of technical users who are unsure of their interface landscape, the tool won’t produce helpful results.
– SAP previously stated, that all productive processes including EDI are required to be licensed under its updated Indirect Access policy. The current iteration of SAP’s tool only focuses on technical users that you manually specify, and may drastically understate the actual, total volume of annual documents that require licensing as per the policy definition.
– The tool cannot do a reconciliation for documents created by users behind external applications, who are otherwise licensed SAP named-users. This will be critical in order to avoid that SAP customers pay double for indirect access to SAP by already licensed users.
– SAP stated previously, that additional processing as part of a workflow that was started by the creation of an initial business document will be free of charge. In other words, if the indirect creation of a Sales Order triggers the creation of additional documents such as Financial or Invoice documents (you can imagine your own scenarios here) – only the creation of the initial Sales Order (counted at the level of line-items) will incur a charge. All additional documents created to complete the process will be free of charge. The problem is that the current version of the tool doesn’t have a processing logic that factors process completion into its document count.

While it may seem premature to criticize the Indirect Access detection tool in its current iteration, the omission of critical logic for process, interface, and user reconciliation begs the question whether SAP intends to enable an accurate detection of Indirect Access documents that will be transparent for customers. If you are adopting SAP’s new document-based licensing policy, you’ll want to get in writing that no new document types can be added to your contract in the future – and what audit and detection methodology shall be followed by SAP to count your annual consumption.


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