Do you really need more SAP licenses?

SAP LAW tool audit

The software audit you went through with SAP is coming to an end. Is this a good time to finally relax? It really depends on what findings SAP reports back. If everything went well and your software usage was compliant, then you can relax. On the other hand, if you were deemed to be non-compliant, you can anticipate another round that might put pressure and bring unnecessary stress: ‘commercial discussions’ with SAP.

As a consequence of the audit, SAP customers are commonly asked to purchase additional licenses. What also happens rather often is that customers are not entirely sure if those licenses are really needed. When they receive the ‘offer’ from SAP, they start investigating internally about how the audit was conducted and the results that were obtained. By then, however, it’s already too late – SAP has determined that the audit results point to over-usage, and so the customer is going to be pressed to purchase extra licenses. Does this mean that the audit results are not always accurate?

Are the audit results always accurate?

Depending on the individual situation of each customer, it might be that they are faced with audit results that are not aligned with their expectations. The main reason why that can happen is because the customers submitted USMM results independent of a key ‘consolidating tool’ known as LAW. The latter is essential in terms of audit accuracy but use of LAW is presented to customers being audited as ‘optional’ rather than mandatory.  When that happens, the results might show over usage (e.g. duplicated users), in which case the customer will have to pay for what is most likely a misrepresentation of true and accurate data.

The other key area that can confuse (and by extension, cost) the customers is that of SAP ‘engines’.  Engine measurement is a complex process that can provide false consumption results. As such, the customer has to be alert to and knowledgeable about how engine measurement functionality works. In particular, customers need to be wary about USMM commonly delivering measurements for engines that are not used at all. Again, this can result in costly SAP surcharges, largely because the customer has no awareness of the engine types that actually support their business.

In order to submit correct results to SAP, the customer needs to understand why data is being incorrectly displayed in USMM, as well as which and how measurements can be corrected. Generally, this requires extra resources, knowledge, and effort; however, given the alternative prospect of post-audit ‘commercial discussions’ with SAP, it’s on balance an effort very much worth making.

Customers should always bear in mind that SAP will only analyze the reports submitted by themselves. As such, it is critical that they make every effort to ensure complete accuracy. But even when the measurement has been performed correctly in a strictly technical context (e.g. correct client selection, system type, job completion instructions), the background settings might not have been maintained by the customer. In these scenarios, both the customer and the SAP audit review team might reasonably believe that the results are true and accurate: however, had the customer properly maintained the background settings, the audit results might have been vastly different (and less costly).

How can you avoid spending costs on additional licenses?

In order to avoid being faced with potentially inaccurate audit results, there are a couple of things you need to consider.

It cannot be stressed enough that before submitting any measurement results to SAP, you need to have them thoroughly reviewed. Our recommendation is to collaborate with SAP licensing experts. Someone with a thorough knowledge of what the nuanced data represents can support you in the audit process. Equally, this expert can prove invaluable in any post-audit commercial negotiations with SAP. A specialist will be able to understand the entitlements and any special agreements that there might be between you and SAP. It’s often the case that customers are unaware of additional agreements that have an impact on their compliance. Trained specialists, however, can identify and understand these contract ‘add-ons’ and potentially work them to the advantage of the customer, rather than SAP.

In the end, it all comes to paying a fair price for what you’re using. In order to do that, you need to have a clear understanding of your software consumption landscape and, ideally, a software asset management process in place.

Next steps

It’s never too early to prepare for an SAP audit. Sooner or later it will come and it’s better to be ready than to be taken by surprise. The easiest way to successfully navigate an SAP audit is to hire specialists who will help you provide SAP with the real picture of your consumption.

Do you want to perform a software compliance review and make sure that you’re in control of your compliance? It all starts with an email or a phone call. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

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This article was published on 20-10-2020