Believing Something’s True Doesn’t Mean It Is

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Many license managers are very content with their current approach to impending SAP license audits. After all, SAP has accepted all of their audit results in the past. Why change anything? Instead they choose to go by the motto ‘Never touch a running system’ – after all, the sports-world equivalent works well for many successful soccer clubs.

This approach rests on the widespread assumption that as long as you purchase new licenses, SAP products, usage rights for HANA or the cloud, each year, SAP will leave you in peace. But is this assumption actually correct? Let’s just say that it’s a dangerous balancing act. There’s a risk of falling at any time – if, for example, you run into a slightly overambitious SAP sales rep who convinces you that you need to buy products or licenses that aren’t actually necessary. Basically, it’s important to note that an audit result that is accepted by SAP is neither necessarily correct, nor will it be deemed as accepted forever. On the contrary: Non-validated audit results lie concealed in a company’s underground, like landmines. They’re always ready to go off at the slightest nudge, and this would have a financial impact almost 100 percent of the time.

Things to keep in mind

A license audit is a self-disclosure regarding a self-defined licensing landscape. Using manual methods, it would take an incredible amount of effort to determine whether licenses are ultimately distributed appropriately. Those who don’t have a factual basis that enables them to provide SAP with meaningful information on every distributed license could quickly find themselves in a tight corner. For this reason, it’s advisable to use job analyses to carefully allocate every individual license in each system – this way, everything will run smoothly from SAP’s perspective as well. License optimization software can provide the necessary basis for this and even drastically reduce the effort involved.

Most license managers firmly believe that their SAP sales representative will tell them which licenses are needed for which jobs. This is how things should usually go, and it usually works out well, too. However, it’s important to realize that your SAP sales representative has many customers and isn’t able to focus on every last detail of each respective company’s requirements. This means that they make a very rough estimate of each company’s licensing needs, and don’t take more cost-effective alternatives into consideration. After all, many activities can be covered by various licenses, all of which are ultimately suitable. For example, Worker license requirements can be partially covered by a Professional User license, and the list price comes in at over €2,000 less than the latter. An in-depth job analysis is needed to determine exactly whether this license can be purchased or not. Given that this isn’t usually available, the Professional license is often obtained to make sure all angles are covered. Why not treat yourself, right? Quality license optimization software offers analysis options that identify the required licenses at the press of a button – without any special effort, and even on a scalable basis. It doesn’t get easier than that.

Ignorance is no excuse

Due to the complexity of the SAP licensing landscape, it’s easy to give into the temptation of selecting the version that’s cheapest for the company, regardless of whether it fits perfectly or not. This might work well for a few years, but it’s also a ticking time bomb. The most important thing to remember is that relicensing causes the company to lose any discount it has negotiated with SAP. Moreover, the company will now need to purchase subsequent licenses at the list price. That definitely won’t be cheap. Plus, SAP will now provide a rough estimate of later repurchasing costs. Dissuading SAP from this estimate will be a difficult, nearly impossible effort. Even worse, SAP can claim maintenance fees that were evaded in previous years. This then becomes very expensive, very quickly. What many companies often fail to take into account is that the decision to purchase what they refer to as the ‘cheapest version’ is one usually made based solely on habit. ‘We’ve always done it that way’ isn’t a sound line of reasoning.
License optimization software, on the other hand, would immediately identify the actual best solution at the press of a button. Even if said solution would go beyond covering current licensing needs, the software would show how subsequent licenses could be purchased in the most cost-effective way.

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