Your Top 6 SAP Licensing Questions, Answered

Ann Marie Gray in Indirect Access, Licensing May 13, 2018

Ever since SAP released its official announcement about its new documents-based licensing model in early April, we’ve been receiving lots of questions from ASUG members about the changes. But we’ve seen some common themes emerge from all of them. To help others in the SAP community who might be asking themselves the same things, we’re sharing the top six most common questions and their answers here.

This is a complex topic that needs some real-world scenarios to help us all better understand it. So please keep your questions coming. If you don’t see the answers you need, send your own to licensing@asug.com or watch our webcast on demand to hear the questions your peers are asking.

Q. Is the way I’m currently using my ERP system an example of indirect use?

A. If you are engaging your SAP systems in any way that does not involve human users, there’s a good chance it is an example of indirect use (also known as indirect access). All use, whether it’s by humans or by interfaces, bots, EDIs, Internet of Things (IoT) networks, or similar scenarios must be appropriately licensed and documented in your SAP contract.

SAP defines indirect use as “when people or things use the Digital Core without directly logging into the system.”

Possible indirect access examples include any data that comes into an SAP system that’s created or updated through an external interface such as EDIs, BAPIs, APIs, or XIPI, for example.

At the most basic level, you should fully understand how data is getting into your SAP systems, and whether you have the appropriate entitlements written into your contract. That’s the only way to be sure you’re not at risk of exposure to unlicensed use.

We know that there will be many scenarios that may be difficult to categorize cleanly as direct or indirect use. Reach out to us at licensing@asug.com if you have a specific scenario you’re looking to better understand, and we’ll get to the bottom of it.

If you’re looking to get educated, you’ll find a lot more details about SAP’s definitions of indirect and direct use in our SAP Licensing 101 article.

Q. What SAP products are covered under the new documents-based licensing model?

A. The documents-based licensing model applies to ERP systems only.

If you’re appropriately licensed to use other cloud-based SAP products, then the input or transfer of data between these products and your ERP systems will be included at no additional charge.

Q. What if I use a third-party product or SAP-certified solution? How do I know if I’m appropriately licensed for the way my systems are interacting?

A. If you’re appropriately licensed for products purchased through your SAP account executive and contract, you likely will not have an indirect access issue.

If you have third-party certified products purchased directly from the third party, you may not be appropriately licensed to modify SAP data using that tool. If you're unsure of whether you have the right entitlements, it’s in your best interest to reach out to that third-party partner and SAP to clarify whether you have the appropriate entitlements in place to use these products with your ERP systems.

Q. I’ve heard that SAP now has a price list for its new documents-based licensing model. How can I get access to this price list?

A. You’ll need to reach out to your SAP account executive. SAP does not currently have a publicly available price list. SAP’s pricing tends to be highly customized for each customer and contract, and the pricing that results from these negotiations is considered confidential for each customer.

What we can share with you is that there are multiple tiers on the price list based on the total number of documents that your business generates. There’s a price for each document, regardless of which of the nine document types you create. Financial documents and one other document type are priced at 20% of the other seven document types. To illustrate this, if the cost per document were hypothetically $1, then the cost for a financial document would be $0.20.

Q. If my company decides to switch to the documents-based model from the named user-based model, how would this work? Would the same discount we’ve already negotiated in our current contract be applied to a license exchange?

A. The license exchange approach SAP has described is a “net to net” conversion. If you have gone through license exchanges in the past, you will know that these are always subject to intense negotiations. These are typically not straightforward, especially if you have licensing entitlements that span multiple contracts or appendices.

You have two options to convert to the document-based licensing model. The first option is to simply convert existing entitlements to documents and keep your existing contracts. SAP would issue an appendix to your contract that details this exchange. The other option is to convert to the Simplified SAP S/4HANA contract, which would require renegotiation of any special terms and conditions you have negotiated for in the past.

Q. If I’m interested in licensing as a topic, how can I get involved? Do you have an associated community or Special Interest Group (SIG)?

A. We don’t have a SIG set up, but you can subscribe to this topic stream to receive future updates. Just visit our Licensing Resource Center and fill out the form near the bottom of the page. (Look for “SAP Licensing Questions? We Can Help.”)

We’ll be posting new recorded webcasts regularly on the Licensing Resource Center. We’ll also continue to publish more articles, as we hear more from customers about the new pricing model and its effects. If you have an idea about a good topic to cover, please send your suggestions to licensing@asug.com.

Licensing has already been a hot topic within ASUG’s Executive Exchange. We’d love to have someone from your executive team join us at one of our national or local events.   

How to Get Answers to Your Licensing Questions

Listen to our recorded webinar, where customers had the chance to ask ASUG CEO Geoff Scott and Ron Gilson, CIO of Johnsonville Sausage, their questions about SAP licensing changes.

You can also visit our Licensing Resource Center for our latest coverage of this topic.

And you can always send your questions to licensing@asug.com. Your comments and observations will help shape our conversations as we continue to engage with SAP on licensing-related topics.