We are getting closer to that time of the year again. No, I am not talking about stockings over the fireplace here. SAP self-audit season is coming up with the second half of the year approaching. The German software vendor will request LAW reports from its clients in order to control that their products are used according to contractual agreements. With the great variety of products, licensing terms and metrics, ensuring compliance is a rather complex task for every license manager. Therefore, we have put together these 10 tips making the annual system measurement a piece of cake.
1 – Be prepared
I have said it before and I will say it again: It is not an easy task. So don’t take it lightly. Be prepared and treat the SAP system measurement like a serious project. Make a timetable for every step to take and define responsibilities. Know exactly what is expected of you and dedicate enough time, resources and effort into gathering the relevant data.
2 – Know what you pay for
Most organizations run several SAP systems and products. Identify the productive systems that are critical to your business. Test systems are not relevant for system measurement since developer licenses are already accounted for in your active systems. However, you have to make sure they are not used for any actual work. In the end, this little investigation will help you focus your efforts on only the relevant systems, reducing the time needed for the whole project.
3 – Know your usage
Knowing your license landscape like the back of your hand will give you a better position in your negotiations with SAP. Therefore, you will need to revise all your contracts to clarify what has been agreed upon. Now comes the challenging part: get all the relevant usage data in order to verify that your usage is compliant with those terms. This is a lot easier and faster if you consider using SAM software to collect the data for you.
4 – Optimize your license inventory
SAP wants you to “classify your users in accordance with the current use and the underlying price list before every system measurement.” So make sure you are only looking at the current use of your SAP users. Then optimize your user classification accordingly. You don’t want any users to navigate through SAP without a license. They will be accounted at the expensive rate of a Professional license if found during the system measurement. Also, delete any inactive accounts and make sure to assign only one license per user, since licenses can be used across several systems.
Also, be aware that SAP can see any changes you made to the licenses in the previous month just by looking at the LAW report. Therefore, consider making any changes well ahead of the self-audit if you want to avoid unpleasant questions from SAP.
5 – Tackle indirect access
During system measurements and audits, SAP is increasingly looking for indirect use of SAP data. If this usage has not been agreed upon or regulated with SAP, affected user companies are often charged with high penalty fees. Use a SAM tool to detect all interfaces to third party and homegrown applications and understand how they use the SAP data.
6 – Don’t forget about engines
In addition to the named user licenses, you will also have to track your engine consumption. Payment for software engines is calculated according to usage. Analyze which engines are really being used to ensure that your company is paying for only the necessary ones.
7 – Analyze a sufficient amount of data
One last word about analysis: Have valid results. We encourage everyone to examine at least three months’ worth of data. The more data you analyze, the more accurate your conclusions will be. However, in most cases the recommended analysis period is one year.
8 – Seize the opportunity
You have done all the hard work of analyzing your user licenses. You know which transactions are being used. Great, this is the perfect opportunity to negotiate some custom license types in order to reduce your costs. Having to stick to the standard licenses that, however, might not match with your usage needs, only results in unfavorable costs.
9 – Learn from the past
SAP is very eager to ensure its software is used correctly. Any incompliance will cause additional license purchases at an undiscounted rate or painful penalty fees. If you have experienced that, you do not want to go there again. So, if you are able to identify any shortcomings beforehand, address them well before the audit. You will be able to reduce your financial risk considerably. Also, remember previous audits and system measurement. You might get some hints of what is about to come.
10 – SAP licensing consultant are there to help you
Yes, it will cost you money. But rest assured, under-licensing and indirect access are by far more expensive. So consider talking to a consultant, if you feel like you need advice from an expert in SAP licensing negotiations. Consultants are specially trained and know the latest trends and developments in this field. They can give you a lot of useful tips and guide you through the process.