SAP LAW and Considerations

to Minimize Audit Exposure, Risk, and Unbudgeted Expenses

SAP LAW and Considerations to Minimize Audit Exposure, Risk, and Unbudgeted Expenses

Historically, SAP’s “standard” audit methodology requires every (ERP) Enterprise Central Component (ECC) and SAP Business Suite 4 with HANA Database (S/4HANA) customer to extract system measurement data annually from SAP’s Audit Measurement Program, transaction USMM (embedded in SAP Software). Measurements are then consolidated into SAP's License Administration Workbench (LAW) which is their license measurement, consolidation, and reporting tool used by SAP’s Global License and Compliance team.

It should be noted that LAW is a measurement and reporting tool, not an optimization tool. Reports from LAW make plenty of assumptions that favor SAP and provide limited to no insight into the efficiency of licensing assignments and deployments. Its primary purpose is to provide a foundation from which SAP’s Global Audit and Compliance team (GLAC) evaluates the potential for additional true-up of license sales annually.

SAP’s Published Use Definition for LAW

“The License Administration Workbench (LAW) supports you during the License Audit Process for complex system landscapes. You use the LAW to collect and consolidate license-relevant measurement data (users and engines) for the component systems and the central system (LAW system) in which LAW is run. This provides system administrators with a better overview, and the system measurement is simpler and more reliable.”

It is up to the customer to ensure their SAP systems are maintained and optimized in a way to minimize the risk of being confronted by SAP with additional unbudgeted license fees. You must gain a thorough understanding and insight into SAP’s license definitions, system measurement process, techniques, and LAW report output to properly evaluate and make adjustments to manage users, user classifications, engines, and 3rd party applications that access your SAP Systems. Blindly answering SAP’s Global License and Audit Compliance (GLAC) queries and submitting LAW reports without this understanding will make what SAP tells you to purchase to maintain compliance hard to defend.

There are several Software Asset Management tools in the market to evaluate, make change recommendations, and automate the optimization of measurable licenses, usage, and metrics. However, a certain level of SAP license experience and expertise is required to properly configure rule sets within each tool. In addition, a large percentage of SAP products cannot be evaluated through the use of a tool and require a certain level of expertise to navigate your way around usage measurements, risk mitigation, and license optimization strategies.

Basic Considerations to Mitigate Risk and Cut Spending on SAP

Perform a detailed review of all your contracts. It is essential to understand your SAP contracts, use definitions and metrics of each product owned to determine a compliance position. Product names and metrics of products have changed on some products over time. It is important to understand and document standard user terms when you purchased, special terms you may have negotiated allowing special use scenarios against today’s terms and conditions. Without this information, how can one understand how SAP has evaluated your measurement and if the evaluation of their evaluation is being performed correctly?

  • Review your production and development systems for duplicate users, unclassified users, technical users maintained as dialog users and test users active in your production environment
  • Evaluate individual user needs and assign the “ideal” license for each user which is compliant with your contracts and at the lowest cost
  • Create a process to check for inactive users across your SAP estate to allow for license re-harvesting and reassignment
  • Ensure duplicate users are identified so that your organization does not double-pay for an individual user
  • Perform an analysis of your engine measurements to determine what results are relevant, not-relevant, an indicator of use. Validate which measurements are correct or if SAP Notes are required
  • Establish a process to measure the various USMM and Self Declaration engine metrics regularly to avoid nasty surprises at annual review
  • Take time to understand Indirect Access use cases within your organization. Understanding Indirect Access is the key to minimizing financial risk and overspend

Final Thoughts

In summary, SAP licensing is both complex and open to interpretation. Typically, environments have been running for many years, so it is difficult to get a handle on which licenses are assigned to which users, whether those licenses are correct for the user, and indeed whether a license is required at all. There are also third-party systems, engines, and many other licensing nuances that must be accounted for. It is important to seek the support of independent expertise to prepare for an SAP audits.

By working with professionals who have specific knowledge, organizations can minimize potential cost implications arising from such audit. Our experts who thoroughly understand SAP procedures, including measurement logic and legal aspects of SAP contacts, support customers to achieve substantial cost savings and avoid non-compliance situations. If you require specialized SAP knowledge, SoftwareONE is here to provide guidance to help you understand your SAP system measurement, minimize risk/exposure, and achieve cost savings through our SAP Advisory Services.

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Steve Gahr

Steve Gahr

Practice Lead – SAP License Advisory Services

Publisher Advisory | SAP

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