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SAP Savings Plan

SAP is expensive, but with a few tricks up your sleeve, you can save when purchasing from SAP. In addition to the recommendation to wait until December 31 before signing a contract, there are a few more tips you can try out.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
November 16, 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Used software from Axel Susen

The term "used software" is a bit misleading because it reminds us of items that are no longer brand new, and which may even be defective. Software, however, is always as fresh as the day it was released. We are referring to software licenses that have previously been in other hands.

For years, there has been controversy over whether it is permissible to pass on a software license and transfer the right to use the software. Apart from exceptions and special cases, the answer is now yes, and there is a flourishing market and standards for the transfer of software licenses, especially in the Microsoft sector.

For a long time, SAP resisted the software license transfer with all kinds of legal tricks and repeatedly citing the issue of maintenance fees as an argument. If an SAP license was decommissioned for three years and then taken over and activated by another user, SAP tried to charge a maintenance fee for the previous years. Of course, this sleight of hand does not work, and SAP was only able to avert its own disaster by slashing prices.

Software reseller Axel Susen had been making good money for many years by "renting" a software package from R/3 Professional Users. The trick was simple, but it worked: the customer told SAP that they wanted to buy 300 Professional User licenses from Axel Susen. SAP threatened with lawyers and the like, but the customer stuck to their guns and openly communicated which licenses they wanted to take over from Axel Susen and at what price. It did not take long for SAP to make an alternative offer: the same number of licenses, but at a considerably cheaper price than Axel Susen's. The difference was split between the SAP customer and Axel Susen.

To this day, SAP fears the free second-hand license market like the devil fears holy water. With the transition to cloud computing and subscription, however, this conflict has eased. However, there are still "used" SAP licenses on the market.

Save with Celonis and Workday

It started with "used" SAP licenses, but the same principle can be transferred to other areas. SAP customers interested in process mining should make sure to obtain quotes from Celonis in Munich and Signavio in Berlin. Celonis was on the SAP price list for a while and SAP partners began training their employees on Celonis. However, because the process mining pioneer did not want to be taken over by SAP, SAP withdrew its trust from the Munich-based company and bought the Berlin start-up Signavio instead.

Anyone who is now running business process mining with Celonis and is about to extend their contract will most likely receive an alternative offer from Signavio at a dumping price. New Process Mining customers should also be sure to obtain a complementary Celonis offer for Signavio.

This price dumping is now beginning to catch on in the HR sector. The finance and HR software provider Workday has been conquering the SAP community with great success for several years. SAP has alienated its own HR on-prem customers with a botched cloud strategy and a poorly connected SuccessFactors (cloud only). They only achieved orchestration between the SAP ERP core and the acquired SuccessFactors HCM cloud solution at a very late stage. Workday seized the opportunity and was ultimately able to convince many SAP customers that a cloud-native system from Workday was the better choice.

HCM without legacy issues

The comparison may be unfair because SAP has decades of HR legacy of while Workday was founded as a cloud company and can thus claim to be cloud native. From a cloud perspective, S/4 and SAP HCM are just lift and shift, giving Workday an unassailable lead for many years to come. In terms of integration with an SAP S/4 system, Workday and SuccessFactors are a level playing field, so in many cases the price will ultimately be the deciding factor—and SAP has taken up the fight here, often to SAP customers’ benefit!

Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (, AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: and Tel. +49(0)8654/77130-21

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


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

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


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.