Treading softly around SAP license compliance

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by | November 6, 2017

At Sapphire, SAP announced improved transparency about license compliance and licensing terms and Hala Zeine wrote at some length on the new terms in a piece entitled Modern Pricing for Modern Times over on the website.

The news offered little solace to most SAP customers who seem as unsure about their additional liability as they were before. What exactly these new terms really meant, seemed unclear.

Now comes the further news that SAP recently offered a tool to SAP customers to help them get a better understanding of how the product is licensed and the new Licensing Transparency Center has started to gain traction in the community

Licensing has been a hot button topic particularly since a wave of license compliance cases like the Diageo ruling where Over £50 million was assessed as the payment associated with hooking Salesforce CRM to SAP ERP.

This despite the fact that interchange technology used, was also a SAP component.

The initiative is claimed as having been been driven by the SAP User Group Executive Network (SUGEN). Customers can take advantage of the tool either in a named or anonymous way and depending on the approach one chooses.

SAP will provide varying levels of insight and information. Where submissions are anonymous, the results are generic. the “uber-SAP user group” as Den Howlett describes it in diginomica, tries to function as an umbrella representative of all the regional groups like ASUG, DSAG and UKISUG and has recommended that members join the SAP Licensing Transparency Center.

Scott Carey quoted Paul Cooper of UKISUG in Computerworld UK that “The problem for most organisations is they have no idea whether they are correctly or incorrectly licensed” and that many customers are reluctant to have the hard conversation with their SAP account managers out of fear of being assessed as liable for indirect usage licenses.

Yet in reality this is pretty much the only assured way of arriving at an answer that confidently addresses the question as to whether an SAP customer needs to pay more for the kind of access that they are leveraging.

SAP is not the only ERP vendor whose licensing terms and conditions represent a challenge to customers. Rebecca Hill also reported in the Register that Oracle has “often been accused of using aggressive tactics when it comes to brokering deals, licensing, and carrying out audits”. On the heels of the SAP news comes the revelation that UK’s Oracle user group met to discuss their own ” murky world of licensing and software asset management” as she described it in that piece.

Members of UK & Ireland SAP User Group can submit anonymous use cases or scenarios to:


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