SAP licensing tools: Data vs. Knowledge

SAP licensing tools: Data vs. Knowledge

There are a number of tool-sets and solutions on the market for optimizing and managing the licensing of SAP landscapes. Some are very highly rated by companies who specialize in evaluating and rating such solutions.

However, a very large part of any solution is: how to use the data provided? The knowledge of the people, those who specialize in analyzing, balancing, cleaning and managing SAP licenses, is critical to a successful project or audit defense.

When the "tool vendor" approaches, look for the ability to effectively use the data for your needs, not simply rely on "templates" or "best practices". Reliance on templates and best practices will go a long way to optimizing the SAP licensing landscape, on the order of 80-90%. However, to reach an effective licensing position approaching 98% accuracy requires understanding not only the data presented, but the entitlement position, scope of business practices, and possible future strategy. Having the level of control approaching the 98th percentile is indicative of effective license management, and shows more engagement when the auditors knock on the door.

Data is good. Knowledge in how to use the data is critical... Contact us at AOF Solutions for strategy, planning, and management. We can help keep you Always Out Front!

Optimization Beyond Compliance

There are a number of companies who specialize in Software Asset Management (SAM).  Most, if not all, of them reference the “compliance” and “savings” aspects of SAM.  Compliance management is a tactical effort which can show a significant reduction in spending, either directly (now) or in cost avoidance (immediate or near future) over purchasing additional licensing.  However, there are other benefits to optimizing the software licensing and usage in a company.  When we think “beyond compliance”, other options, possibilities and paths open up.

The first of these is strategic planning.  Once a compliance position is reached, the solution you use should be capable of presenting data on how your organization has been utilizing your software assets.  The more data you collect, the more accurate the trend over time becomes, allowing you to more effectively and efficiently plan future architecture needs, and software requirements.  Knowing how the systems and hardware have been used will allow the technical teams to properly plan expansions, new procurement, and tuning of existing resources.  Software usage is just as critical.  Knowing what has been used, how often and by whom allows for planning, negotiation, and efficient management of the software estate.

Efficiency is an oft-overlooked aspect of a SAM program.  Many companies spend long hours attempting to track what is owned, in use, and outdated.  Multiple spreadsheets, databases, and processes are not the most scale-able or efficient methods.  Nor are most of the “manual” processes viable if personnel depart the company.  Is it possible for someone to step in and pick up the role of SAM management when the transition occurs?  In many, many cases, the answer is “No”.

Another area where SAM is highly effective is in vendor relationship management.  The software vendors provide a product which allows your company to do business.  Any product has an expectation of payment, be it software, hardware, or consulting.  In the case of software, unlike the other two, it can be more difficult to track and maintain control or oversight.  How many users have downloaded an application or program for their use, on a company machine, without first checking the licensing/use requirements in a corporate setting?  A proper SAM solution allows for oversight of the estate, and provides insight when discussions open with the software vendors.  Having control of the landscape shows a willingness to abide by the rules, and to maintain control.  This can go a long way to easing tensions and stress during audits.

Which brings up another aspect of compliance/beyond compliance.  Most, if not all, software vendors have an annual reporting/audit cycle.  Creating the reports for these vendors can be a nightmare, impacting efficiency, and increasing the headaches of compliance, procurement, and technical teams.  A well-designed SAP solution will allow you to generate the reports needed with much less effort, reflecting control and a willingness to abide by the use rights in your contracts.

Many of these “non-compliance” points refer back to the contracts, compliance, and control.  That is something which must or should always be remembered: SAM is primarily focused on compliance, on the contractual terms by which software is used, BUT it also is able to impact planning, efficiency, and management in a positive way throughout the company.  There are companies who insist they do not need “compliance” oversight, or believe that compliance is an end state, and they reject any discussion which begins to touch on contracts. That can be an extraordinarily short-sighted view. Other companies may have the view that compliance is not necessary, that strategic planning, efficiency, management are their goals, and do not want to discuss compliance.  This is also short-sighted, and ignoring the compliance aspect can, and usually does, lead to incorrect assumptions and long-term strategic miss-steps.  Compliance is nothing short of a jumping off point that is very much connected and interwoven within the fabric of strategic planning, efficiency, and vendor management.  It is when a company focuses on “beyond compliance” that future growth, new expansions, new procurement, and tuning of existing resources becomes reality.

Contact us at AOF Solutions for strategy, planning, and management.  We can help keep you Always Out Front!

Do you need assistance with your yearend LAW submission to SAP?

 

The annual LAW (or SLAW2) can be time-consuming and a serious headache for your Basis and Security teams.

AOF Solutions can help.

Our team can begin analyzing your usage and allocations, reviewing and abstracting your contracts, and allow you to concentrate on the yearend activities critical to your company.

We can assist you in sorting through the options available for consulting, solutions, software, and a myriad of other challenges you have in determining how to get a SAM for SAP process up and running.

Beyond the LAW/Audit submission, AOF Solutions can assist in a quarterly check-in/managed service process.  This means your people are not tasked with the additional headaches and time required to maintain your SAP licensing and usage status.

Contact us at aof@aofsolutions.com for more information.  We can make your SAP life easier and keep you Always Out Front in SAP license management.