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SAP enterprise customers are concerned when it comes to licensing matters

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August 24, 2017

SAP has been notified by a recent survey that its enterprise customers are worried in initiating an open conversation with the software company about indirect access.

The customer survey indicated that most users had concerns that opening up to SAP could backfire, specifically in the area about user licensing matters.

SAP's rules on indirect access simply mean that customers can be slapped with additional licensing fees to cover any and all software that connects, even indirectly, to any data stored on SAP systems.

That can drastically affect enterprise systems like those used for various customer lookups, order processing or inventory queries.

SAP has been pursuing such cases with increased determination, hitting headlines earlier this year when the company Diageo was told by Britain's High Court to pay £54.5 million in additional licence and maintenance fees after introducing two new Salesforce.com systems to its IT infrastructure.

In the end, SAP pledged to modernise and simplify its pricing policy and, in guidance issued to users in July said that it was "committed to working with customers", telling them to "engage with us".

Unsurprisingly, given that most software vendors' propensity towards various audits and increased charges, perhaps the offer has been met with limited enthusiasm...

According to a straw poll carried out by licensing site 'ITAM Review' about 78.3 percent of SAP users have some level of concern about talking to SAP reps about indirect access.

This is despite the company saying that it "will not pursue back maintenance payments" for customers who "proactively engage with us in good faith".

Of the fifty or so SAP users sampled in the poll, almost a third said they feared the consequences, while 36 percent said had concerns about talking and 10 percent said they wouldn't be happy to talk at all.

A further 16 percent said they would be happy to talk, while just 8 percent said they would talk openly, no matter what.

Paul Cooper, chairman of the United Kingdom and Ireland SAP User Group, agreed that indirect access was "still a major concern" for customers.

"To be sure, indirect access is obviously a sensitive issue, so while it's good to see SAP encouraging dialogue there are always going to be organizations that don't feel comfortable outlining their exact use cases," he asserted.

"This is the reason it's imperative that SAP puts as much information in the public domain as possible, with working examples that customers can clearly understand," he added.

Asked to comment on various users' concerns, SAP pointed us towards a blog post from corporate development officer Hala Zeine highlighting the following:

If you're fully licensed, there's no action for you. However, if you're questioning whether you are under-licensed, let's talk about it. We want customers to proactively engage us on this topic.

SAP assures customers who proactively engage with SAP to resolve such under-licensing issues of SAP software that we will not collect back maintenance payments for such under-licensing.

We will look at your specific circumstances when resetting your licensing agreement, including providing you the opportunity to receive some credit for certain products you may have already licensed so you can update to the new metrics.

We'll keep you posted in the meantime. SAP is used by many big firms so this is a topic that surely attracts a lot of attention. When it comes to enterprise software, licensing is always a hot topic, no matter how large the company or organization is.

Source: SAP.


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