After a year of uncertainty for customers, SAP presented a new approach to Indirect Access in its whitepaper „SAP ERP Pricing for the Digital Age“ this week. Nevertheless, some questions remain unanswered …
Following a period of lawsuits and vague statements about Indirect Access last year, many customers were left in the dark about how to license what which way. To make things a little clearer, SAP now published an addendum to last year’s white paper. This new white paper explains that users only have to pay for 9 specific document types at their time of creation within SAP, and no longer pay for access to existing documents that are being changed or read via external applications. However, these new rules only apply if you choose to migrate over to the new licensing policy.
The new ERP Price Model
The new ERP Price Model consists of a central Digital Core and three other parts:
- SAP Application Access (no additional licenses needed),
- Direct Human Access (User Licenses)
- and Indirect/Digital Access (Document Licenses).
See the video for further information:
Indirect Access becomes Digital Access
Not only was the term Indirect Access (which most likely has garnered a bad connotation for most customers by now) changed to Digital Access, but it’s also gotten a much more specific description.
„Indirect/Digital Access is when people or things use the Digital Core without directly logging into the system. It occurs when humans, any device or system, indirectly use the Digital Core via non-SAP intermediary software, such as a non-SAP front-end, a custom-solution, or any other third-party application. It also occurs when non-human devices, bots, automated systems, etc. use the Digital Core in any way.”
In some ways, these new policies are somewhat groundbreaking given their focus on an IoT and cloud-dominated future. Let us be clear – there are still gaps SAP will need to address, such as how customers who choose to ‘do nothing’ will be treated – but we need to give credit where credit is due. These new policies are a step forward in terms of transparency and future-proof simplicity.
To define Digital Access more accurately, SAP lists 9 types of documents that require licensing:
- Sales Document
- Invoice Document
- Purchase Document
- Service & Maintenance Document
- Manufacturing Document
- Time Management Document
- Quality Management Document
- Material Document
- Financial Document
(In the first version of the white paper, there were only 8 types listed. Therefore, we are talking about 8 types in the video.)
Pricing is still unknown, but given SAP’s historic secrecy around pricing we don’t expect a public statement. Last year, the order-based licensing SAP suggested had a customer-reported wide spread of $0.80 to $8.00. The next 6 months and especially the response from customers will shape how the story continues.
How should I treat the topic as an SAP customer?
There are three options to choose from:
1. Do nothing
2. License Exchange
3. Contract Conversion
SAP might feel they’ve done their job by announcing new options – now it’s time for customers to choose which way they want to go. If you stay with your old contract, you have to keep an eye on potential Indirect Access. The question remains if SAP will target you, and how you will be treated after an audit if you do nothing and remain in your old contract.
If you choose the License Exchange, you are on the safe side within terms of Indirect Access. Furthermore, you get the opportunity to investigate shelf-ware and convert them over to the new document-based licensing scheme. Please keep an eye on your contract – otherwise previously beneficial language could also be changed without your knowledge. This pertains in particular to user type entitlements and your ‘use definition’.
If you want to do a complete Contract Conversion with a migration of your system, do not hurry. It’s important that you plan and measure everything precisely. A well-organized migration can offer a lot of advantages. With a full conversion it’s even more dangerous to lose track of all contractual changes. Speak with your legal team and seek outside counsel as needed. Only by these means you can prevent changes that you don’t want, SAP’s recent trend of authorization-based licensing is just one example.
SAP’s whitepaper is an important step toward the clarification of Indirect Access – you should continue asking questions and demand additional clarification. We’re here to help you with all questions about Indirect Access and will keep you informed about any new announcements.
In closing, the white paper mentioned there will be a new tool supplied by SAP to calculate document-based licensing cost. Our samQ License Optimizer for SAP will soon be able to give you objective measurements and comparisons of your current contractual obligations vs. the new policies. Give us a call if you’d like to know more at: (917) 818-2932