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SAP Jargon Buster - Licensing & Tools

By Brian Skiba | March 16, 2015

Our next installment in the ‘Jargon Buster’ series of Software Asset Management (SAM) blogs turns its focus towards one the world’s largest software publishers, SAP.

Many organizations have been using SAP software for more than 20 years, yet few fully understand the vendor’s approach to licensing.

Here’s a quick crash-course in some of the more often-used acronyms, starting with the very basic!

SAP – SAP today stands for “Systems Applications and Products”.

As the company was founded in Germany, it was originally “Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte”.

ABAP – ABAP is a high-level language created by SAP for programming the Application Servers. It is an interpretive language with syntax similar to COBOL. The ABAP acronym was originally formed from the German product name “Allgemeiner Berichts-Aufbereitungs-Prozessor” (which roughly translates to the “General Report Creation Processor”) although today it stands for Advanced Business Application Programming.

ASFU – Applications Specific Full Use: An ASFU license is sold by a Solution Provider in conjunction with its proprietary software (example: installations of SAP that run on Oracle ASFU databases). ASFU licenses may not be used with more than one application. For SAP deployments, SAP normally resells the Oracle ASFU license for each user. Normally partners provide front line support to their end users, while Oracle provides second line support to the Partners.

ESS – An Enterprise Self-Service License, known as ESS, is a lower-cost SAP license type that enables employees to create, display, and change their own HR-related data in the Enterprise Portal or intranet. In Personnel Administration, for example, employees can use the Personal Data service to create and edit their own personal data. In this way, employees can keep their own data up-to-date, while simultaneously reducing the number of time-consuming and expensive activities performed by the Human Resources Department. Employees can generally access working time, personal data, benefits and payment, travel management, qualifications and appraisals as examples.

GRC – Governance, Risk Management and Compliance Governance (known generally as GRC), is the umbrella term covering an organization's approach across these three areas. GRC are three pillars that normally work together, in conjunction within an organization with the important purpose of assuring that it meets its objectives.

LAW – The License Administration Workbench, known as “L-A-W” is used as a tool to prepare audit data for SAP to review. LAW collects and consolidates SAP license-relevant measurement data (users, engines) for the component and central system. System Administrators can get a more consolidated overview of the licenses provisioned and deployed. SAP uses LAW measurement data to bill customers when additional licensing is required. It’s important to note that LAW is NOT an optimization tool and does not indicate which users are inactive or over-licensed.

USMM – SAP Audit Measurement Program: Tool to classify the named users in all the satellite systems before using LAW (License Administration Workbench) on the Master System to pull all the audit data together for SAP. These are just a few of the sometimes bewildering array of acronyms used by SAP and its partners. By understanding the technologies and contractual terms behind these TLAs and FLAs (Three and Four Letter Acronyms) you will at least be better equipped to query what they really bring to your organization – both in terms of benefit and cost!

One of the main considerations when looking at SAP tools such as LAW and USMM is to remember that they were developed by SAP primarily for its own benefit, to highlight usage that it can bill you for (and, of course, that’s an entirely legitimate thing to do). What these tools will not do is highlight opportunities for your organization to reduce its costs – they are not designed to highlight redundant licenses, or license types that have been wrongly assigned.

For that you need to take matters into your own hands and perhaps turn to yet another acronym: SoS. In this case it stands for Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software, an independent (but SAP-certified) solution from Snow Software that enables SAP customers to track, manage and optimize their SAP usage and licensing.

 Talk with a Snow SAP expert today and learn how your organization could save millions.

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