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digital access

What You Need to Know About SAP's Digital Access Model

By Myrja Schumacher | October 09, 2019

With the introduction of the Digital Access Adoption Program (DAAP), SAP aims to help customers determine their current digital document volumes and switch to the new licensing model. The prerequisite for this is the use of SAP's own counting tool or support from the SAP Global License Audit and Compliance Team (GLAC) service. For my initial thoughts on the DAAP, please see my last blog post: SAP’s Digital Access Adoption Program: Licensing Win Or Trojan Horse?

The DAAP which is due to run until May 2020, guarantees that customers do not have to pay retrospective maintenance costs or penalties.

For those considering the DAAP, SAP proposes a two-stage approach:

  • Step 1: Measure the current consumption of your documents
  • Step 2: Choose one of the two financial incentive options

There are two ways of measuring your document consumption. You can either work with SAP’s GLAC to identify the estimated number of documents created by current use via the SAP Digital Access Service, but customers should be careful as this is still an estimate made by SAP.


Customers may implement support packages containing the SAP Passport tool then, with help from SAP´s Audit Team, identify the estimated number of documents created by current use, but should be aware that:

  • The release of the tool has already been delayed
  • The tool will initially only be available for the latest versions of ECC
  • The document counting starts from the time of installation - so you don't get an immediate and accurate annual estimate.

“Once you have calculated an accurate document count, the next step is to estimate the Digital Access license fee. Once again, SAP offers two methods, which Gartner describes as:

  1.  “The 15% growth method” — Under this method:
    • The customer licenses at least 115% of current estimated document count.
    • SAP charges a Digital Access license fee based only on the 15% growth portion.
  2.  “The 90% discount method” — Under this method:
    • The customer licenses at least 100% of the current estimated document count.
    • SAP charges a license fee based on the entire document count."

Option A is more expensive and if the number of documents you need decreases, you will not be able to reduce your maintenance commitment, however, it is worth bearing in mind that with the increase in robotics and artificial intelligence, the number of digital documents may well increase.

SAP does allow you to trade-in eligible licenses for conversion, but 100% of the maintenance base of converted licenses is carried forward.

As an SAP customer, you must calculate which scenario best suits your needs and even though the discounts look very tempting, you should keep an eye on the results of the document count to ensure it is correct.

Note that the digital access model is still error-prone: If a single user is both directly connected to a named user account as well as indirectly accesses SAP via a 3rd party solution, you pay according to the document-based model for both direct and indirect access.

At Snow, we recommend the following steps:

  • Analyze your actual use of 3rd party access and choose the license model that is right for your organization. You should carefully examine which model is the most favorable for your business, while ensuring that they are compliant.
  • Determine your actual volume of digital evidence based on objective data and forecasts that reflect historical and current developments.

Our results may differ from those estimated by the SAP Global License Audit and Compliance Group, as we can analyze - even retrospectively - existing data to arrive at a true document count, deducting those documents created by users with named user licenses.

With this foundation, you can begin to negotiate the exact number of required digital documents with SAP.

If you decide to switch to the document-based model, you should first determine your shelfware (i.e. licenses that are no longer used) that is eligible for exchange (credits). This allows you to achieve a lower cost.

Although the DAAP program makes it clear that there are no other discounts apart from the two financial incentives, you should still negotiate with SAP to reduce future risks:

  • You should prevent SAP from adding new document categories in the future.
  • You should ensure that all Digital Access licenses are reimbursed if SAP is forced to completely abandon the Digital Access model as part of the anti-trust proceedings, currently brought by Voice and playing out in the German courts.

We have developed a program for all SAP customers dealing with indirect use. The "Snow Digital Access Assessment" combines the results of objective SAP license management and optimization with many years of expertise from our Snow SAP license consultants.

This assessment provides an analysis specifically tailored to your business that identifies the most cost-effective option, while advising on contractual safeguards and minimizing audit risks.

If you determine that you are under-licensed, you need to act quickly as the incentives offer will probably expire next May. So, you should start preparing immediately as this is the only way for your organization to make the best decision.

One question I have been asked by almost every organization I speak to is, “Do we have to switch to Digital Access model when migrating to S/4HANA?"

If you have a compliant Indirect Use license and perform a S/4HANA Product Conversion, you can remain on the classic Indirect Use license.

When you perform an SAP S/4HANA Contract Conversion, you will need to move to SAP Digital Access as the only valid option.

If you wish to find investigate further, download this complimentary Gartner Report on SAP Digital Access Adoption Program.

Or alternatively, the Snow team is here to support you in this process - take the first step now and arrange a meeting with our SAP consultants.

Talk to us about how we can help you identify your license requirements and current usage. Snow Optimizer for SAP Software ensures full visibility of your entire SAP estate, enabling you to optimize all license types and authorizations.

Footer: Gartner, SAP Now Offers Incentives to License Indirect and Digital Access, but Long-Term Cost Exposure Remains, 25 July 2019, Bill Ryan, Roberto Sacco, Lori Samolsky

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