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SAP licenses - always a reason to argue?

In recent years, SAP has thrown many new terms into the opaque fog of licensing. Both in the cloud and in the on-prem area. Why are many customers getting up on the barricades and where is this fog clearing?
Otto Kitzmüller, Informatics
April 2, 2020
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Some license ambiguities are cleared up with S/4 Hana at the latest. Not until you opt for the "S/4 Hana Only" license model, but still. But what does this "Only" mean?

In the course of the disagreements between SAP and various database manufacturers, SAP has had to deal specifically with the issue of reimbursement for database usage outside the intended standard.

The issue of third-party licenses has arisen specifically in this context. Thanks in part to DSAG, SAP has backed down considerably on this issue in recent months.

However, should one decide to use only the Hana database and undergo a contract change in the process, then this topic becomes almost obsolete. A legal basis is still difficult to classify, but SAP is happy to suspend this topic for most customers.

Only almost, of course. Because the new digital access licenses remain a major topic. These finally tangible guidelines for indirect use are also primarily thanks to the efforts of the DSAG.

Now the definitions of indirect usage can be defined much more precisely. Currently, twelve transaction data (e.g. FI posting lines, order lines, purchase order lines, etc.) have been defined, the origin of which - unless created by licensed SAP users - is to be covered by digital access licensing.

But beware: Here, too, the devil is in the details. For example, current license models such as "Sales Order Process" cannot be mixed with the new Digital Access license type. It is advisable to arrange a consultation with the SAP partner in order to make the right decision.

The assignment of business processes to categories such as "Professional Use" or "Functional Use" represents a further simplification in the licenses. The previous classification of Professional User and Limited User often led to problems during measurements.

But now it is clearly defined which business process can be displayed with which user. But here, too, you only get to enjoy the benefits when you change contracts.

And it is precisely this change of contract that poses the danger. Because with this change, you give up your previous license claims and thus also partially give up usage agreements for functions that are no longer possible in the new license model.

However, many of the young key account managers at SAP no longer know these conditions - and this is where the disputes between the customer and SAP often begin. That is why it is always advisable to first take a look at the existing contract structure and compare the functionalities used.

Especially topics like SRM and CRM can stand in the way of a contract change. It is always advisable to work out the exact roadmap for the next few years - and to combine the license negotiations with the change of solutions.

As long as you're still moving on old contracts, it's ultimately always a dialog that you can have here in many respects. With SAP, with your partner, and also with DSAG. Then solutions can always be found without barricades.

The topic of the cloud remains a complex area. It is still difficult for SAP partners to estimate the costs of planned scenarios in advance. This is because the interaction between cloud solutions, the SAP Cloud Platform and SAP Cloud Integration is what rounds off the correct price spectrum.

Particular care should be taken when integrating third-party scenarios into the cloud concept. Here again, it is important to ask exactly in which scenarios the topic of "digital access" becomes important, even into the ERP. Unfortunately, the only option here is to go through SAP or an SAP partner.

That's why it's not necessarily advisable here to take a look at the price list and get discouraged. Define requirements and approach SAP and partners openly.

Otto Kitzmüller, Informatics

Otto Kitzmüller, Management Informatics.

Work on SAP Basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. This gives the so-called Competence Center strategic importance among SAP's existing customers. Regardless of the operating model of an S/4 Hana, topics such as automation, monitoring, security, application lifecycle management, and data management are the basis for the operative S/4 operation. For the second time already, E3 Magazine is hosting a summit in Salzburg for the SAP community to get comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. With an exhibition, expert presentations, and plenty to talk about, we again expect numerous existing customers, partners, and experts in Salzburg. E3 Magazine invites you to Salzburg for learning and exchange of ideas on June 5 and 6, 2024.


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024


Early Bird Ticket - Available until 29.03.2024
EUR 440 excl. VAT
Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT

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Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.