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It’s time for LAW to make way for the new generation – PT II

By Burton Culley | January 20, 2015

As an SAP Basis Administrator for 15+ years, I have worked directly with the procurement and budgeting of SAP licensing and maintenance. I have also observed the rising cost of maintaining the “black box” that is SAP. Why “black box”?

SAP in the Enterprise is a core system; everyone relies on it for control, management, reporting, and just about any other part of the business. Yet few really understand the system, the requirements, use, the expenses and the environment. Thus, the black box in terms of recognition, understanding, and budget. It is necessary to keep SAP running. SAP is a cost of doing business. This is the expense of running the most comprehensive ERP system available, right? The entire process can be highlighted with three observations:

  • The costs always seems to go up
  • There is little-or-no power to negotiate them down
  • It is an ever increasing budget line item

So every year, organizations write checks to pay the maintenance/license fees. Every year, those costs seem to go up. Some years they go up more: new licenses to purchase, usage changes, additional modules, growth…

Since joining Snow, I’ve seen how the Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software (SOS) can give you more power, control, flexibility and time savings, all of which leads to cost reductions of your SAP investment.

For those dealing with the challenges of SAP software licensing and maintenance costs, I thought I would take a few moments to highlight some of the ways that the Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software will really help:

  • SOS provides baseline data with detailed usage and log on history
  • SOS constantly optimize by removing duplicate and erroneous users and adjust license types on the fly
  • SOS can automate changes using the Rules Engine to reduce risk and renewal costs
  • SOS will show indirect access analysis to reduce or eliminate excessive costs
  • SOS can “right-size” the licensing structure, reducing the need for additional licenses

First things first, to alleviate concerns about “adding the unknown to SAP”: The Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software installs natively and runs embedded within SAP.

The Optimizer uses the standard SAPGUI interface and communicates via RFC connections from Solution Manager (or the designated Master system) to satellite systems. This means that, compared to “tool-sets” you can use to measure SAP usage, the SOS platform provides numerous benefits:

  • No additional hardware or software needed
  • No security problems or concerns
  • SAP standard authorization concept
  • Full control by your SAP Basis/Security team
  • No critical information leaves your systems to be “managed” outside.

The Optimizer focuses on three areas in the SAP landscape:

  • Collection/Inventory/Reporting
  • Analysis/Optimization
  • Administration/Management

One of the most powerful resources for the SAM Practitioner for SAP systems is the detailed view of the license allocations in the system(s).

Rather than your SAP team trying to manually track the current license allocations, the Optimizer maintains up-to-date details on which licenses are assigned where.

The Optimizer solution allows SAM administrators to rebalance license allocations on-the-fly, and to right-size the licensing across the SAP landscape. Rule-sets can be created to quickly and correctly align the user with the correct license in the correct system, based on the users’ activities.

The Optimizer can also give warnings when you reach a limit of contractual number of licenses, engines, or specific activity types. All of this will enable you to avoid additional costs or penalties.

How many Basis folks have had calendar reminders to run the system measurement and check license allocations? How often? Monthly? Quarterly?

I used to have mine set every month: 2-4 hours/month spent on the LAW. Compared to past experience of spending hours, days or sometimes weeks, gathering license data from each system, and comparing that data to the actual license assignments, using the Optimizer allows this to be done very quickly.

  • We aggregate every user and their usage within SAP
  • We constantly optimize and analyze the data to find immediate cost savings
  • We can automatically adjust user license assignments to reduce your costs

The Optimizer SAM-platform has even more to offer. When it comes time to renew your contract, or to negotiate new licenses due to growth, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), or any of a number of situations, you can use the Optimizer to run “what-if” scenarios. This is done by assigning license types to users, and showing the resulting costs and fees associated with the possible distributions.

You are able to experiment, without actually making changes, with different options of licenses from SAP, to determine the “best-fit” for YOUR Enterprise. A solution which not only maintains, but provides you the opportunity to present evidence in your favor as to what licenses YOU need to run YOUR business.

As a force-multiplier in the cost reduction battle, the Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software streamlines operations, making them much simpler.

With the ability to speed the collection/inventory/reporting, analysis/optimization, and administration/management of licensing, security and users, the SOSS will present your licensing and usage in a single location, while reducing the effort and person-hours required. Elimination of duplicate users, unused licenses, over-allocation, etc. are huge cost reductions up front.

Additionally, the reduction in the amount of time required to maintain license allocations will free people to perform the tasks and duties the company actually needs them to perform! How many hours has your Basis Team spent combing through the license allocations?

In my experience, the Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software is the most powerful resource in the SAM practitioners’ SAP toolbox.

The return on investment will be seen immediately. Snow has observed an average of 20%-30% savings on costs associated with SAP licensing and maintenance.

Snow has provided the tools, reports and background for numerous companies to reduce or eliminate the penalties and costs associated with indirect access, licensing audits, additional license purchases, and excess maintenance.

The ongoing return will be recognized as you and your company discover that the Snow Optimizer allows you to hold down costs, streamline audits and operations, and provide a foundation for negotiation of licensing and maintenance.

Remember the three points?

  • The costs always seem to go up (The Optimizer allows YOU to hold the line)
  • There is little-to-no power to negotiate them down (The Optimizer gives YOU power in negotiations)
  • It’s an ever increasing budget line item (The Optimizer helps optimize your budget)

To change the game and learn more about the Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software and how we can reduce your costs, improve your operation and free your people from time-consuming tasks, why not contact me or one of my SAP expert colleagues at Snow?

Burton Culley is a Senior SAP Consultant at Snow Software. Connect with him on LinkedIn

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