SAP – Improve the inventory, optimise the licensing

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SAPSAP contracts contain an audit clause, which requires an annual inventory to be performed. This inventory is based on a report generated by the clients themselves – the SLAW summary – which may be accompanied by additional declarations for products that are not reported in SLAW.

Although this technique allows the inventory to be mostly automated, it exposes the client to an uncontrolled risk as a consequence of the functioning mode of the SAP transaction.

IN A SLAW SUMMARY, HOW ARE “USER” LICENCES COUNTED?

SLAW is the report generated by the transaction of the same name, which consolidates the USMM files coming from each ERP system. It can determine the number of SAP “user” licences that are used.

For “user” licences (Professional, Employee, etc.), SLAW consolidates the user identifiers, then carries out simple duplication removal without taking into account other elements, such as forenames, surnames or email addresses. In the general case, the transaction then assigns each user the “highest” licence from amongst the pool that is held.

For the central organisation responsible for sending the SLAW summary to SAP, the major disadvantage of this is the lack of any index or report detailing the effects, positive or negative, caused by duplicate removal and automatic consolidation between the systems.

Some best practices before generating a SLAW summary

1st level of optimisation: cleaning

The users of ERP software are only identified by the SLAW transaction through their identifiers. So, if a user has several identifiers (and therefore several accounts), several licences will be allocated to him/her, even though one would be enough. There may be many causes of duplicate accounts:

  • Overlap between an old and new protocol for assigning identifiers within the organisation
  • Internal transfer, or a staff member being hired permanently without their former user account being deleted
  • Creation of temporary accounts which are not deleted after use

This cleaning operation therefore consists of identifying and deleting the duplicate accounts that the SLAW summary does not manage to identify.

2nd level of optimisation: homogenisation

A user is often registered in several ERP systems, which may be administered by different departments or subsidiaries. Consequently, a given user may be assigned different licences according to the systems on which he/she is registered. It is therefore crucial, to avoid “dual counting”, to make sure that users are counted only once.

3rd level of optimisation: requalification & profiling

Applying the allocation rules provided by SAP can prove to be difficult. This last optimisation consists of analysing the rules and metrics applicable for the different types of “user” licenses, then defining categories of users to which a single type of licence is assigned according to their usage (example: job 1 = licence of type 1,…). This approach improves coherence between the jobs of users and their allocated licences, to avoid licensing as Professional Users by default. This profiling can generate very significant cost savings when we bear in mind that a Professional User licence costs nine times as much as an Employee licence.

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