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SAP customers want clarity, not a conversation

SAP customers want clarity not a conversation – 76% in straw poll have concerns or fear the consequences of raising indirect access concerns with SAP

Since the multi-million dollars exposures at Diageo and AB InBev hit the headlines in 2017, SAP Indirect Access risk has, to quote one SAP customer, ‘spread like wildfire’ around senior management teams.

For too long companies have done everything in their power to avoid publicity and ensure licensing exposures are swept under the mat. But these increasingly absurd penalties are getting out of hand. The risk at AB InBev was so large that they declared it as part of their US stock exchange filings. This has the ability to hit share price, profitability, jobs and ultimately in the case of AB InBev and Diageo – the price of a pint.

I predict a customer uprising and backlash against this blatant profiteering. This behaviour by old software dinosaurs like SAP is not sustainable.

In my experience, 99.9% of ITAM Review readers respect intellectual property and copyright. In the face of licensing greyness, they just want clarity. They want clarity on how things are measured and how the can reduce risk and ensure efficient spend.

Rather than offer clarity, SAP has decided to introduce new pricing mechanisms and suggested SAP customers “Engage with us”. New licensing mechanisms means a new negotiation, or god forbid, a sales conversation around cloud. “Talk to us” is the typical licensing spiel from a dinosaur vendor, the same can be heard from the Oracle LMS team. They are old farts dad-dancing at a cloud party, they can’t initiate a conversation through innovation or business transformation, so let’s initiate one via audit threat or licensing confusion.

Paul Cooper, chairman of the UK and Ireland SAP User Group, speaking in the Register said:

“Indirect access is obviously a sensitive issue, so while it’s good to see SAP encouraging dialogue there are always going to be organisations that don’t feel comfortable outlining their exact use cases,” he said.

“This is why it’s imperative that SAP puts as much information in the public domain as possible, with working examples that customers can clearly understand.” Source

76% in straw poll have concerns or fear the consequences of raising indirect access concerns with SAP

SAP customers want clarity, not a conversation

27th July webinar straw poll results, n=50

This behaviour is also uncompetitive. In the case of Diageo, they were trying to innovate around their sales order processing system using Salesforce.com. SAP would prefer if you only innovate once you’ve asked SAP’s permission. This is akin to a garage saying you can only buy new tyres from another supplier once you’ve spoken to us about how to remove the wheel nuts. Market restriction from a bully with stagnant growth. See also “Duke Law Professor Says SAP Indirect Access License Fees Are Illegal

The poll results were captured during a live webinar, available on demand (with registration) here: https://www.itassetmanagement.net/event/webinar-eradicate-sap-indirect-access-anxiety-4-practical-steps/

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About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin is the Chief Agitator at the Campaign for Clear Licensing, a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the SAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770 and board member of Free ICT Europe which supports the ICT secondary market.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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