SAP’s product groups coverage by SAM tools

SAP Business Cloud HANA Database

We started our series on SAM tools for SAP introducing the most common tools used, FlexNet Manager and Snow Optimizer for SAP, and we’ll continue today with an article that goes into the specifics of the SAP product groups covered by SAM tools. The different SAM tools’ functionalities available on the market for SAP are designed to cover as much as possible the various SAP products. When acquiring licenses for software programs that are not included in the same product group, the complexity of managing them increases. Usually, the software programs not belonging to the same product group are not based on the same data sources and licensing models. This can be either because they were developed in different periods of time, using different technologies or because SAP acquired the software program which was built on a completely different source and having its own licensing model (e.g. Business objects, Sybase).

Data Sources

The data sources represent the different tables where the software runs. The data sources can be database tables or application platforms (such as NetWeaver ABAP Application Server Platform).

From a software asset management perspective, a data source is where data originates from and it dictates the way data will be collected to get usage evidences. Data sources represent the base of every software program’s technical analysis.

Understanding the diversity and complexity of the data sources will provide a clearer image on the
limitations of a SAM tool’s coverage. Having one single tool that can cover for the usage detection of the entire SAP’s product offering is not a realistic scenario.  Thus, it’s very important to set reasonable expectations and to check the product categories you need to keep an eye on before acquiring the right to use an inventory tool.

Each product group has a different source of data (database tables, product interface, external repositories) which leads to different ways of retrieving usage information. Besides that, in each group there are software programs for which the proofs of usage are irrelevant for the contracted licensing model.

Information Model

The most accurate way of licensing a software program is based on hard evidences easily visible in your systems. Therefore, multiple software vendors, including SAP, try to follow this model.

Hard evidences can be represented by:

  • number of users authorized to access a software program
  • number of users having a license type assigned
  • number of objects created by a software (orders, forms, payroll master records, records of business contacts)

A license model based on these types of evidences is an accurate and incontestable usage indicator. In some cases, technical evidences either cannot be easily retrieved or they are not necessarily relevant to measure how much a software program is used. As such, non-measurable metrics are defined, for which end users should take the initiative of manually monitor them. For the benefit of the large enterprises (mostly), SAP encourages the licensing of software programs on enterprise metrics (revenue per year, number of employees, etc.) for which the technical evidences are irrelevant. This kind of compliance check involves manual work and for this a SAM tool will only help by centralizing and storing the usage information found.

We developed a 5 layer information model that explains the different types of data that is typically required to be collected in order to perform a deployment and license compliance validation. This model is highlighting the importance of having an extended entitlement analysis that defines the different data elements required to perform a complete and accurate compliance analysis.

Using nothing but a SAM tool to retrieve usage information and to establish the compliance overview will only bring all the evidences that the tool can detect into one place. In order to decide what is relevant and what is not, as well as what is captured and what is not, further investigations are required that cannot be automated and for which licensing knowledge is needed.

information model

1 – Hardware Discovery
Collection of hardware and hardware configuration details

2 – Software Inventory
Collection of installed software products/components that are part of a software license

3 – Software Configuration
Collection of how the installed software is configured and what modules are enabled to be used

4 – Software Usage
Collection of software usage details to determine who and how many distinct individuals are authorized to make use of the different software products/components

5 – Non-System Data
Collection of data elements that cannot be captured through tools and scripts, but which are required to determine your compliance position (e.g. what legal entities are allowed to make use of the software, in what specific countries is the software entitled to be used)

SAP Business Suite

SAP Business Suite is a bundle of integrated applications including but not limited to:

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)
  • Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)

SAP Business Suite is written in ABAP (SAP’s own programming language) and it has been the core of SAP’s business ever since it has been released (February 2009). Its licensing model is based on a combination of named user licenses and engine licenses (which represents the software licensed used by the named users).

The data sources of both users and engines are the ABAP tables. Users information can be found in the USR tables (e.g. USR01, USR02, USR06) and information related to their authorizations can be found in the UST tables (UST12 – stores user authorization details, UST 04 – stores SAP user profiles).

Engine information is also stored in the ABAP tables, and for each engine a different table or even multiple tables exist. They are also accessible by using SAP transaction codes. When an engine is used, it shows indicators of use in the source tables (e.g. number of service or sales orders per month, number of forms created, Gigabytes consumption registered per month).

The usage evidences visible in the ABAP tables can be retrieved either with SAP transaction codes directly in the SAP Graphic User Interface (GUI) or by using SAP’s own Audit Measurement Program – the USMM Transaction that triggers the users count and engines’ usage measurement and License Administration Workbench (LAW) that consolidates the results of the measurement performed on multiple SAP Systems (from all the productive and non-productive environments).

Apart from the engines for which technical evidences of the installation and use are available in the ABAP tables, there are also engines for which such evidences are not showed in any of the SAP ABAP tables that are retrieved via USMM/LAW. This occurs either because the specific programs are not ABAP-based or because they have different source tables that cannot be captured by USMM/LAW or because their licensing model is not based on technical evidences but on enterprise metrics (such as number of employees, revenue, spend volume, etc.).

To determine the consumption of these software programs, separate instructions are available that support the end users in identifying and declaring their usage.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Suite is a software platform offering analytics and reporting capabilities.  SAP acquired the BusinessObjects company in 2007, therefore the source of the software is not ABAP-based.

The data source of BusinessObjects is the Central Management System Database (CMS).
CMS is the core center of BusinessObjects. The relevant usage information (users, login details, authorized modules) are stored in the CMS Database Tables.

To measure its usage, SAP uses the License Management for Business Intelligence Platform (LMBI), that is retrieving users’ information and details about the installed modules.

Since LMBI is made available only by request or during audits, another way of measuring the use of BusinessObjects is by using the Query Builder. Query Builder is a tool that enables you to query the CMS database for retrieving the same information as LMBI does.

SAP HANA Database

SAP HANA’s main usage indicator needed for the license compliance overview is the database memory consumption.  SAP Hana operates by managing its own memory pool and requesting memory from the Operating System to store different data structure (in-memory data, system tables, temporary data, etc.). At different stages in time, only parts of SAP HANA memory pool are actually used. Thus, the usage indicators are taking into consideration either the total amount of used memory per month or the peak amount of memory used in a predefined period of time.

SAP Sybase Database

SAP Sybase is part of the SAP Database and Database Management software programs offering.
SAP Sybase’s standard licensing models are machine-based and device-based. Therefore, for determining the compliance of Sybase software programs, different usage indicators such as number of machines/servers where Sybase runs, CPU count of the machines/servers where Sybase runs or number of network seats (concurrent users) are taken into consideration. These usage indicators cannot be retrieved in any of the SAP tables collected by their measurement tools. Separate usage determination instructions are followed in order to check the compliance position.

SAP Cloud

SAP Cloud solutions are offering cloud services, hosted applications and business networks. Among the cloud offerings of SAP, the most common ones are: SAP Analytics, SAP S/4HANA, C/4HANA, SuccessFactors and SAP Anywhere.

Each of the hosted programs have their own licensing model, based on different usage indicators (user counts with specific user access rights, concurrent sessions, number of business account contacts, number of views per month.

The data source of these indicators is retrieved directly in the application interface being easily accessible and trackable by the end user.

If you’re curious about the SAM tools capabilities for SAP, their strengths and weak points, keep an eye on our blog, as next week we’ll publish an article covering exactly this.

Read also:

Most common SAM tools for SAP
SAM tools capabilities