Embrace the opportunity of an SAP license audit

It normally happens once a year: The SAP license audit. And you should be prepared when the time comes. So, here’s what you need to know: Base your negotiations on hard data and you can transform an SAP license audit from another case for Risk Management into a real opportunity.

Making analysis an integral part of corporate processes

Because the SAP licensing model is so complex, organizations very often use simplified assignment methods. They may base license assignment on authorizations, on the quantity or type of transactions used (display, update, etc.), or even on the frequency with which specific transactions are executed. Nevertheless over-licensing and incorrect licensing are the outcome when license assignment does not reflect actual user activity.

When changes are overlooked or disregarded, the disparity between licenses assigned and actual license needs becomes more pronounced over time. But experience shows that organizations take neither bold nor timely action to correct such incongruity – which makes agile and reality-based license management all the more critical. License assignment must be continually re-aligned with internal changes (such as employee turnover and job transitions within an organization) and external changes (including altered rules and regulations or an elimination of license types – Limited Professional User being a case in point).

Frequent real-time analyses lay the foundation for agile and reality-based license management when they are solidly integrated into corporate processes. We recommend reliable software-based analytics, such as RBE Plus Compliance – periodic, real-time license assignment founded on sound, verifiable data. Reliable analyses boost the accuracy of license allocation and eliminate the need for simplified assignment methods. They facilitate compliance with laws and regulations, reduce costs, and simplify the administrator’s task of assigning licenses to users.

Matching SAP licenses to real user needs

The SAP licensing model is usage-based, so licenses should reflect the users’ actual activities. We advise corporations to gear their purchases toward what we term the “least-license” principle – keeping licensing to a minimum by assigning users only the licenses they really need:


  • Licensing based on authentication
    Limiting system usage and license assignment to current employees only (named user license).
  • Licensing based on authorization
    Assigning license types according to employees’ positions. This allows licenses to be purchased and issued in line with users’ routine activities.
  • Licensing based on usage
    Conducting an analysis that delivers extensive insight into real network access behavior. SAP requires licenses for direct usage (named user licenses), for additional software functions (engines) and even for indirect usage e. g. by interfaces to third-party software.
  • Licensing based on analytics
    Establishing a “least-license” concept that conforms to your organization’s changing needs means conducting periodic reviews via automated usage analyses and making the necessary modifications.

Seize the opportunity: Real data means real negotiating power

Software in general, but Enterprise Resource Planning solutions in particular, typically become so inextricably intertwined with an organization and its business processes that considerable resources are needed to modify – or, worse still – replace an existing solution. Because of this inevitable dependency, it is clearly to your advantage to embrace license negotiations as an opportunity. This means coming to the table prepared, and being able to back up your position with hard data – such as that supplied by an RBE Plus Compliance analysis. Under-licensing will be a known fact heading into negotiations; and over-licensing will offer a chance to negotiate licenses based on your corporate- and IT strategies – perhaps by opting for one of SAP’s extension policies – to update and re-allocate licenses in line with future requirements.


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