Lord - From Shelf Ware to Assets
For more than 95 years, LORD has worked in collabora-tion with its customers to provide innovative oil andgas, aerospace, defense, automotive and industrial solutions. With world headquarters in Cary, N.C., LORD has approximately 3,100 employees in 26 countries and operates 19 manufacturing facilities and 10 R&D centers worldwide. In 2017, LORD embarked on a change management initiative align internal processes with emerging trends and standards. That year, Krishna Battula joined LORD to bring a fresh management approach to the company‘s SAP environment. As LORD’s Global ERP leader, he is now responsible for LORD’s global SAP strategy including ancillary systems in the U.S. and Mexico. Interview between VOQUZ Labs and Krishna Battula, Global ERP Leader at LORD.VOQUZ Labs: Krishna, what was LORD’s goal for the introduction of a SAP license management tool?Krishna Battula: At LORD, SAP ECC was first implemen-ted in 2002. As you can imagine, several different ERP and procurement leaders have come and gone since then, and each bought numerous licenses and products for different areas, e.g. HR modules, Limited Professional Licenses, B2B licenses, etc.
After more than a decade of this, we ended up with a pile of shelf ware, and nobody had a clear picture on which licenses we were actually using to run our business.When I joined LORD, it wasn’t clear which licenses we owned, what the contractual definitions were, and whe-ther we were in compliance with these definitions. One big task at that time was to answer these questions. This was no easy feat, since so much inventory had been purchased over the years. I was struggling to maintain order using multiple Excel worksheets.My assignment was to clean up our licensing model, optimize our license usage, and assign the right license type to each of our different SAP users. I started looking for a solution that would fit my requirements. We initially brought up the topic with our basis partner. I learned about their partnership with VOQUZ Labs, and they recommended the trial of the samQ License Optimizer to solve our licensing challenge. I previously wasn’t aware of any companies that specialize in the area of SAP Licen-sing that combine tooling and advisory services, so fin-ding VOQUZ Labs was eye-opening. I realized their samQ solution offered exactly what I was searching for.VOQUZ Labs: Why samQ? Krishna Battula: We really needed a tool that could help us understand our SAP landscape from a specific licensing point of view. We were looking for a long-term solution to help us reorganize our licenses and keep them clean on an ongoing basis.After I was introduced to the features of samQ I did my own research and searched for comparable tools, but had trouble finding any. Even though other tools exist as part of other vendor SAM suites, I wasn’t looking for a bulky suite of applications. I just needed a best of breed appli-cation for my SAP licensing needs – therefore, samQ was the perfect fit for us.
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VOQUZ Labs: What was your experience with the initial samQ License Position Quick Assessment (POC)?Krishna Battula: VOQUZ Labs ran a samQ session at an annual technology event. LORD Chief Information Officer, Michael Lubak and I attended the session and we were offered to run samQ within our landscape to see analysis output in real-time, and build a business case for our cost optimization potential. Once we saw the potential impact of the POC results, Michael and I decided to implement samQ.VOQUZ Labs: We are happy that we could convince you! Now that you have the tool, which functions of samQ do you use?
Krishna Battula: samQ is connected to our production and development environments – it is managing our entire SAP landscape. We use samQ mainly for under-standing our licenses and license definitions, and we use the autopilot functionality to classify our users to types for cost efficiency and compliance.Last year before submitting our LAW audit results, samQ played a huge role in the preparation process. We hooked up all the systems and went through the exercise of cleaning up artifacts. Using samQ we resolved multiple long-standing compliance items which were then accep-ted by SAP’s auditors. samQ and the VOQUZ Labs team helped us through the entire audit process.
VOQUZ Labs: During the implementation we coached you through your SAP negotiations. What role did our license advisory play for you? Krishna Battula: If we had just bought any tool and used it, we would not have had the same benefit. I could always reach out to the advisory team and knew that they would respond quickly. We could count on their help inside and outside of what we signed up for. From an advisory point of view, VOQUZ Labs guided me on how to approach SAP, which questions to ask, and what to avoid. License ne-gotiations with SAP aren’t my specialized area, so it was incredibly helpful to have experts on my side.In the end we were able to modify our existing use rights to bring them in line with fair market terms that allowed us to repurpose shelf ware for new productive uses without making any new purchases. Without VOQUZ Labs’s insights into our contracts we wouldn’t have been able to identify our individual risks and opportunities.VOQUZ Labs: One unique challenge that you guys had was that you went to SAP knowing you had to renegoti-ate certain problematic terms.Krishna Battula: That’s true. We went into discussions with SAP knowing that we had to renegotiate two particu-lar licensing topics.
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As a manufacturing company, we had cases where we needed to assign more than one license per person. In some of our plants for example employees use desktop and handheld devices, so we had two licenses assigned to one user. Otherwise employees would be kicked out on one device when logging into the other. For productivity reasons and to ensure that they are able to keep both systems logged in, we assigned multiple licenses to the same user. While that artificially increased our license demand on the one hand, SAP flagged us for non-compliance on the other hand, as in some plants multiple employees were using a shared kiosk to perform tasks within SAP. That’s a very tricky situation and one of the biggest challenges we had. Using samQ, we looked at our inventory and realized that despite SAP’s demands we didn’t have to buy any ad-ditional licenses, as we could manage with what we alrea-dy owned. We also don’t have to deal with shared licenses anymore – and that was only possible with samQ. VOQUZ Labs: You were aware of some audit risks befo-re we started our collaboration. SAP would have simply relied on the LAW output which we proved was inaccu-rate – you initially were over on some categories, but still achieved great cost avoidance, right?Krishna Battula: That’s right. When I joined LORD, the li-censes weren’t assigned very effectively. The team wasn’t aware of licensing practices, so they just sent a whole bunch of audit files to SAP. The auditors weren’t happy with the results. They came back to us and asked us to clean up our licenses and buy additional inventory. This was a turning point for us and we understood that we had to bring some order into our licenses and manage them on a continuous basis.
We also achieved savings. My security person now ma-nages the licenses and I made samQ part of her monthly audit process, so we can monitor our licenses and keep them clean automatically. Fortunately, we don’t have to do anything manually as we enabled samQ’s auto-pilot. If somebody is inactive for more than 20 days, samQ will reclaim that license.VOQUZ Labs: Last question – did anything stand out about working with us?Krishna Battula: The biggest thing for me was the customer focus. I feel like I have a great partner in samQ and VOQUZ Labs, where I can bounce ideas off to get perspective and recommendations. One example is that we are dealing with some data masking, archiving and S/4HANA questions right now. I mentioned this to the VOQUZ Labs team and we were referred to an expert in their SAP-centric network. That’s very valuable for me and LORD.I think that there a lot of companies who are dealing with the same SAP licensing issues as LORD and don’t know there’s a solution for it. To give just one example: When I was dealing with license optimization, a former colleaguewas reaching out to me and asked me about the topic. I’m really content with VOQUZ Labs so I recommended samQ to her – and they are now a happy samQ customer as well. “I have to thank the whole VOQUZ team for helping LORDbecome more effective with its SAP license management program. I was really impressed by the team’s responsive-ness and high level of customer service.They were always willing to help us.” —Krishna Battula