In this article I am going to cover the full Annual SAP License Audit process from start to finish, explaining the process itself and highlighting the steps that SAP customers can take to prepare properly. Good preparation will help customers mitigate SAP licensing risks, avoid over-licensing and optimize SAP licensing costs.
The definition of an SAP License Audit: An SAP License Audit is the process where SAP customers self-declare software usage to SAP by performing and submitting a System Measurement supported by standard SAP audit tools. The Annual SAP License Audit is referred to as a self-declaration because the System Measurement is performed by the customer and is based on the customers own configurations, which must be maintained in compliance with their SAP agreements. SAP compare the measurement data provided by the customer to entitlement records to identify license gaps and prepare schedules for additional license fees and support and maintenance fees owed.
On the other hand, an Enhanced License Audit (ELA) involves SAP auditors performing their own examination of software usage typically involving deep-dive analysis in excess of what System Measurement tools are capable of. This can involve reviewing products that measurement tools are not able to measure, requesting provision of system screenshots, data extracts or other things like architecture diagrams. Whilst Annual SAP License Audits are obligatory and annually re-occurring, Enhanced License Audits require written notice to be submitted by SAP according to the audit notice terms in the contract. As a self-declaration process, the Annual SAP License Audit is technically not full and proper License Audit.
The Annual SAP License Audit Process
SAP’s measurement Request Notification is typically received by e-mail. It will contain Measurement Instructions, Measurement Plan, Self-Declaration Form and SAP Support Notes. Typically, only 60-70% of your license estate is in scope of the audit. Products not in-scope can include JAVA based systems, cloud products, database products and third-party products. The in-scope products that can’t be measured by SAP tools need to self-declared.
The measurement is performed by extracting usage data from the SAP systems, which are then consolidated in the SAP License Audit Workbench to give one view of software usage. The Audit Closure Process is then dependent on the outcome SAP’s review of the audit data. Possible outcomes are as follows:
In the no response scenario customers should chase for information about any findings and if none are forthcoming then request formal notification that the audit is closed. Where a measurement report is provided but no license shortages have been identified the audit can be closed. Where a schedule of additional software licenses required is provided, SAP and the customer must come to agreement and the license fees need to be paid in order for the audit to be closed. In the case of an Enhanced License Audit addition findings and license fees may be presented or no additional findings made. The audit would thereafter be closed accordingly. If customers are using a SAM Tool like samQ for SAP license management, they are better able to monitor SAP licenses pro-actively and outcomes will be more under their control. So how should SAP customers prepare for an Annual SAP License Audit?
Preparing for the Annual SAP License Audit
Preparing effectively depends on understanding what is in scope of the audit and understanding the process. The following steps should be performed before running and finalizing the measurement to ensure data is accurate, optimized and reflective of your actual use of the SAP software.
SAP’s measurement tool License Audit Workbench needs to be configured properly before it is used to ensure an accurate measurement. If you are running your first measurement, then it will need to be configured from scratch. However, even if you have run measurements in the past you should always review and validate all settings in the tool before running the measurement again. Information is available on SAP’s Support Portal to hep with tool settings. If you are unsure if your configuration is accurate and up to date you can ask a VOQUZ Labs licensing expert for support.
Support Notes provided with the measurement request should be reviewed to identify notes relevant to licensed SAP products in scope of the audit and these notes should be installed. The support notes may make changes to measurement functionality so you need to understand and identify what change the note will have on the measurement of licensed products and if this is aligned with the specific license metrics in your SAP contracts.
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The measurement request will contain a table of all systems to be measured including installation ID, system ID, systems type and system name. It should also contain a measurement scope data file that can be imported into the SAP License Audit Workbench tool to help manage the collection of relevant system usage data. Once this has been set-up the usage files gathered from each system can be matched to the measurement plan log to ensure the measurement is performed in accordance with the plan. Doing it manually from the provided list could lead to omission errors in the data consolidated in the measurement tool.
User licenses can account for up to 75% of an SAP customers license estate so managing user licensing effectively is critical in controlling and optimizing costs. Each SAP user’s activity in all systems accessed needs to be considered for determining their license. Customers are required to maintain user classifications in each system to reflect their activity. Aside from certain dual licensing scenarios the measurement tool will identify the highest prevailing user classification for each user to determine their license type according to how the customer has maintained the systems. The measurement results will show the number of users per user type and this can be compared to the license inventory.
User classifications are maintained in SAP at a systems level using the USMM transaction. SAP’s License Audit Workbench tool also has ways of reviewing and changing user classifications. The options available include User List, Mass Change, Migration of Pricelist, Reference User, Role Based, User Data Analysis and Inconsistency Warnings. These options are not completely reliable or straight-forward ways to classify users and require significant manual effort. They provided different methods to classify users, but they don’t provide the logic required to ensure that users are being classified with the right license type, which of course is the most important part.
SAM tools like samQ can be configured to automatically analyze and classify users with the cheapest compliant license type across all SAP systems and keep them continuously up to date. This significantly reduces license management efforts and users are already optimized and properly classified come audit time letting customers focus their time on executing the measurement and managing successful audit outcomes.
You can use a SAM tool like samQ to check engine consumption in advance of an SAP License Audit. Or if you know how to read the measurement log files in the SAP License Audit workbench then you could perform a pre-audit measurement to help you identify any shortfalls versus the licensed level for each product. If SAP License Audit Workbench is measuring a different metric to your contract you may want to review the SAP support notes for a fix or take note that a correction will need to be made to the measurement results when sent to SAP.
Regarding the self-declaration products, it is also very useful to gather these from the business well in advance of the audit. Because these are being self-declared it is vital to declare the correct value to avoid both under and over-licensing. For each product to be absolutely clear on the metric and description in your contract and gather the usage values accordingly. You can also find measurement information sheets on all self-declaration products and individual product metrics on SAP’s Support Portal which can help you understand how the product metric is to be measured and declared.
Updates to SAP measurement tools allow auditors to view data around technical interfaces to the SAP systems and the data can indicate potential SAP indirect access. If this is the case it is likely they will investigate these third-party system interfaces to establish if use is properly licensed according to the contract. Every third-party system connected to SAP should be thoroughly investigated to ensure usage is licensed properly well in advance of a license audit as the fees can be significant.
Performing the System Measurement
If you have performed the necessary preparations the Annual SAP License Audit should run smoothly. You should understand any SAP license gaps that may arise in advance and SAP user license data should be optimized to reflect the optimal SAP user licenses actually needed whilst remaining compliant and controlling costs. Even the measurement process itself can be made easier. samQ automatically gathers usage data for all systems in scope of the SAP License Audit and populates the data into the SAP License Audit Workbench. This can save weeks of time and manual effort gathering usage data across complex systems landscapes. The time and effort saved allows businesses to focus on the commercial aspect of an SAP License Audit which is often overlooked or only addressed once SAP returns its license audit report.
SAP License Audits don’t have to be painful if you follow the right processes and make use of automation tools like samQ, which will save time, streamline processes and optimize SAP licensing data for you.
VOQUZ Labs offer a License Audit Optimization service using our samQ software solution. To find out more click this link to our advisory page or click here to watch the video!
Jan Cook has been Practice Director for VOQUZ Labs inthe UK since 2019. Jan is responsible for sales and delivery operations within the UK market and also operates as Senior Consultant for VOQUZ labs advisory serving customers across EMEA and globally.
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