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"More of the same" from SAP?

By Brian Skiba | July 31, 2015

We are hearing from an increasing number of customers that they are being told by SAP that in order to be eligible to continue purchasing “Limited Professional” license types after August 14th 2015, they must first submit a written definition of what constitutes a Limited Professional user in their environment.

Customers in the DACH (German, Austria, Switzerland) region tell us that they have been receiving letters from SAP, advising customers that they will no longer be able to purchase “more of the same” Limited Professional licenses unless they have submitted a definition to SAP by August 14th 2015. Essentially, what SAP wants is a definition that restricts the Limited Professional user to a specifically-described set of activities in the SAP software (which might include limited access to reports, time logged-in, approval rights for work orders etc.). 

The onus on creating the definition is placed squarely on the customer organization. If customers fail to provide a definition by this date their right to purchase more Limited Professional licenses expires and will no longer be available.

While so far we have only seen these letters hitting customers in the DACH region, we think it’s a safe bet that SAP customers in other parts of the world should take this as early warning of impending action in their local area. The aim of the simplification project was to significantly reduce the number of different user types.

However, the removal of the Limited Professional user type will not be popular with many organizations, as it has been used to good effect to support between occasional users or users with only a few transactions and doubly expensive Professional Users. In 2001, a rule was introduced to limit the number of Limited Professional Users to a maximum of just 15% of Professional Users; this limit was increased to 50% in 2011.

From SAP’s side, the number of ‘special’ users has grown to a point where it is no longer sustainable: by 2013, there were 17 or more special categories of user on the SAP price list.  Confusing for customers and difficult for the vendor to manage that many licensing schemes.

What does this really mean for SAP customers?

SAP customers have previously been able to use their own discretion when assigning the appropriate user categorization. Now, however, existing agreements will be subjected to a detailed examination and stand to be adjusted accordingly. Inevitably, this could mean higher costs for SAP customers. Because the licensing rights from the original agreements, which had no time restrictions imposed on them, cannot be limited unilaterally by the licensor, SAP can only provide helpful recommendations on how to respond to its request in individual cases.

What should SAP customers do?

Solutions like Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software can be employed to quickly calculate both an optimal license status based on actual usage data as well as a contractual licensing position in consideration of the relationship requirements of SAP licenses. The usage intelligence is also vital in creating an accurate and individual user-definition for companies that is tailored exactly to meet specific SAP requirements. Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software can simulate what happens when you apply these definitions to your own SAP landscape.

This allows companies to see immediately what impact it has on the company and, thanks to the accurate analysis of usage and behavioral patterns, guarantees long-term compliance with current and future audits. Snow Optimizer for SAP® Software provides companies with more information about their SAP systems than anyone else, allowing them to optimize their systems in a targeted manner and giving them a clear advantage when it comes to negotiations and audits.

Why act now?

The deadline from SAP is firm.  Regardless of external factors such as the local postal strike in Germany, the vendor is demanding that customers submit their definitions by August 14th if they wish to continue to be able to purchase Limited Professional license types moving forward.    For many SAP customers, losing the ability to purchase these licenses just isn’t an option.

To learn more about safeguarding your SAP license options, speak to a SAP licensing expert at Snow today.

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