Although it’s been a while since SAP’s infamous indirect access became known in the SAM world, there are still companies that don’t fully know what it is and how it might impact their businesses – and it’s not their fault. SAP indirect access is still a complex matter that gives headaches even to well-prepared SAM managers. But what exactly is it?
SAP indirect access – what is it?
In simple words, SAP indirect access takes place when an SAP customer allows third party applications to communicate with the SAP system data. A traditional SAP license allows customers to use the SAP software directly, therefore, when a third-party system accesses it, SAP considers that “indirect access” and a breach of the software agreement.
When a company purchases SAP software, it usually comes with a “Named User” license. That allows the company to distribute and use the software with its employees, with employees of its affiliated companies or of third-party companies authorized to access the licensed software directly or indirectly, regardless of the technical interface chosen.
Naturally, you might wonder what is then the issue with the indirect access, if third-party companies are also allowed to use the SAP software. The indirect access becomes an issue when a person that is not identified as a named user (unauthorized) is accessing the SAP software.
SAP indirect access – how can it affect you?
If you’re an SAP customer, you might have already heard a lot about SAP indirect access and are probably tired of it. But do you know what its impact might be on your business? To put it simple: large financial impact. How come? Let’s say that you, similarly to what Diageo did a few years back, want to access the SAP data through a Salesforce application. It’s more user friendly and your staff is used to it. Even if your SAP applications are properly licensed, if you don’t have the Salesforce application licensed as well, in case of an audit, you become liable to additional licensing fees or become vulnerable to paying fines.
In 2018, SAP announced the “first of its kind” pricing model for indirect access. This new model intended to help customers better understand how the SAP indirect access works by using clearer and transparent language. Probably the most important change is the distinction that SAP is now making between direct/human access and indirect/digital access, explaining clearly what each of this kind of accesses mean.
SAP indirect access – what can you do?
As usual when it comes to software asset management, the best thing you can do regarding SAP indirect access is have (and keep) an overview of your software agreements. In addition to having the overview of your licenses, it would be good if you can also keep track of what is included in each of these agreements. What might seem overwhelming to do by yourself becomes accessible when you have the right party at your side.
If you want to try and deal yourself with SAP indirect access, you might need to dive deeply into the topic and understand how it affects your own business and your needs, as each business set up is different from another.
If you want to have someone by your side to guide you through the process of understanding and dealing with SAP indirect access, our specialists are ready to have a conversation with you and make a plan. Feel free to reach out to us.