Jun 01, 2017

Using Grey Zones to Save on SAP Licensing

SAP creates countless “grey zones” in their price lists. Why? While SAP key account managers may not have expertise on your licenses, SAP account managers do have excellent negotiation skills. And these grey zones often work to SAP’s advantage. But savvy SAP customers can use these same grey zones to negotiate improved contracts and savings – if you know where to look.

What's your true SAP usage?

To understand how SAP customers can best use these grey zones to their advantage, we spoke with Janik Schipp, SAP Consultant at Aspera GmbH.

Q: What are the biggest licensing pain points for SAP customers and how can they be resolved?

Along with the “constant pain point” of SAP indirect access, companies struggle to identify the right type of licenses based on the customer's specific usage and integrate it into their license portfolio. This is due to several factors:

  1. In the named user area, SAP offers 17 standard license types. But these license types don't even begin to cover all of the customer-specific needs.
  2. SAP argues that the professional user license covers almost all usage in every company. This is indeed true, but has nothing to do with customer-based license management. It only simplifies assigning the right license per employee in the SAP environment.

The Solution: Defining many license types to cut costs

The majority of SAP customers have less than 5 customer-specific license types, but at least 10 are recommended per company. This can be implemented at any time, is a one-time investment, and reduces the number of expensive professional users. The investment is definitely worth it in terms of licenses and the benefits received on a financial level.

Get 3 tips to save on SAP licensing costs!

Q: How are customer-specific license types defined?

SAP license experts provide support to customers based on a four step process:

  1. Discussion/definition of the desired license types based on work areas and job functions
  2. Analysis of the current usage data depending on the defined area
  3. Specification and description of the desired customer-specific license types
  4. Expansion of SAP contracts in order to exchange the new license types for current standard license types

The following illustrates an example of a potential starting point for an SAP customer:

Empowered by license analysis insight, the customer is able to present a counter proposal to SAP and more effectively negotiate new contracts:

After contract analysis, the current usage data can be clearly viewed:

Q: How else can customers cut SAP licensing costs?

For customers who don't want to undergo the investment of custom analysis, it is even more important to use SAP grey zones SAP to their own advantage. Grey zones and negotiations are key savings strategies!

Let's take the example of Standard SAP Named User license types: There are of course limits here. For example, I can't use an employee self-service license for my government risk and compliance (GRC) activities. But it is completely possible to create a more defined distinction between Employee Self-Service Core, Employee Self-Service, and Employee and Manager Self-Service.

Guarantee your SAP compliance

With the right expertise and knowledge of how to use them, grey zones mean pure money. Companies which lack time resources or professional expertise are best off seeking the support of experts.

Have more questions about SAP licensing? Listen to our webinar! SAP Indirect Access – Control your risk

Janik Schipp advises customers in SAP licencing and optimization and is responsible for the continued development of new services for SAP Named Users, Engines, indirect usage, S/4HANA and Business Objects.

Topics: License Optimization, SAP