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31 March 2020

SAP licences - always a cause for dispute?


In recent years, SAP has thrown many new terms into the opaque fog of SAP licensing. Both in the cloud and in the area of OnPremise. Why are many customers going to the barricades and where is this fog clearing?

Some licence ambiguities are cleared up with S/4HANA at the latest. Not until you opt for the "S/4HANA only" licence model, but still. But what does this "only" mean? In the course of the disagreements between SAP and various database manufacturers, SAP has had to deal specifically with the issue of reimbursement for database use outside the intended standard.

The issue of "third party" licences has arisen specifically in this context. Thanks in part to DSAG, SAP has strongly backed down on this issue in recent months. However, if one decides to only use the HANA database and to undergo a contract change in the process, then this topic will become almost obsolete. A legal basis is still difficult to classify, but SAP is happy to suspend this topic for most customers.

Digital Access Licences

Almost, of course. Because the new "digital access" licences remain a major topic. These finally tangible guidelines for indirect use are also mainly due to the efforts of the DSAG. Now the definitions of indirect use can be defined much more precisely. Currently, 12 transaction data (e.g. FI booking lines, order lines, purchase order lines, etc.) have been defined, the origin of which - if not created by licensed SAP users - must be covered by digital access licensing.

But beware: here too, the devil is in the detail. For example, current licence models such as "Sales Order Process" cannot be mixed with the new licence type "Digital Access". It is always advisable to arrange a consultation with the SAP partner in order to make the right decision.

A further simplification in licences is the allocation of business processes to categories such as "Professional Use" or "Functional Use".

The previous classification of Professional User and Limited User often led to problems with measurements. Now, however, it is clearly defined which business process can be represented with which user. But here too, you can only enjoy the benefits when you change contracts.


Because with this change, one waives the previous licence entitlements, and thus also partly usage agreements of functions that are no longer possible in the new licence model. However, many of the young key account managers at SAP no longer know these conditions - and this is where the disputes between the customer and SAP often begin. That is why it is always advisable to first take a look at the existing contract structure and compare the functionalities used.

Especially topics like SRM and CRM can stand in the way of a contract change. Here, it is always advisable to work out the exact roadmap for the next few years - and to combine the licence negotiations with the change of solutions. As long as you are still working on old contracts, it is ultimately always a dialogue that can be conducted here in many respects. With SAP, with your partner and also with DSAG. Then solutions can always be found without barricades.

Licences for Cloud Solutions

The topic of the cloud remains a complex area. It is still difficult for SAP partners to estimate the costs of planned scenarios in advance. This is because the interaction between cloud solutions, the SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Cloud Integration (connection of ERP to cloud solutions) only rounds off the correct price spectrum. And here there is a multitude of promotions, discounts, early birds.

Particular attention should be paid to  theintegrating third-party scenarios into the cloud concept. Here again, it is important to question exactly, in which scenarios the topic of "digital access" or even data storage on the SAP Cloud Platform is involved, right into the ERP. Unfortunately, the only option here is to go through SAP or an SAP partner. Therefore, it is not necessarily advisable to take a look at the price list and be discouraged.

Define the requirements and approach SAP or its partners openly.

Otto Kitzmüller, Managing Director INFORMATICS 

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