IPR-Insights Sapper


21 May, 2021


Guideline for different SAP accesses – Part 1/3

An overview on Digital Access

Indirect Access has been a major topic for SAP customers in recent years. We help you navigate the SAP licensing maze. Written by Gábor Hédai (IPR-Insights).

Recently, concerns about indirect and Digital Access have been highly publicized. Some of the disputes over the licensing implications of this have been addressed by the court. These events have understandably raised customer demand for a more transparent model.

To gain a better insight into Digital Access, let’s review in FAQ style what are the key features of legacy constructions.

What is Direct Access?

Direct Access is when the user accesses SAP directly through the user account using his/her username and password. This is essentially the classic ERP model, where there are Named User licenses (Direct Access is licensed according to the traditional metric, i.e. on a per user basis).

What is Indirect Access?

Indirect Access is when SAP software is used indirectly, through a third-party non-SAP application or other front-end interface. Here, the concept of use itself carries weight. Usage is defined by SAP as “the activation of the software’s processing capabilities, which means loading, accessing, running, applying, or displaying information from such capabilities”.

The licensing risk of Indirect Access is defined in the contract, but is not always clear and obvious. Indeed, many companies and organizations are not aware that a license may be required for this type of use. Indirect access has kept SAP customers in the dark for years (due to an imprecise definition) and has caused many unpleasant surprises due to the significant and unexpected fees incurred during audits.

In the legacy model, Indirect Access is user-based. However, pricing is complex. The complexity is caused, for example, by the fact that SAP classifies the users who have access to the software into types based on their activity (Professional, Limited Professional, Employee, Manager Self Service, Developer) and assigns differently priced licenses to each type. If a company has not yet switched to Digital Access, it uses this model as default.

What is Digital Access?

In April 2018, SAP introduced a new, outcome-based approach to indirect use licensing called Digital Access. According to the company, the new model is simple, modern, flexible, and provides customers with greater transparency and more predictable costs than before. The Digital Access licensing model takes into account documents that have been indirectly created in SAP through third-party, non-SAP applications.

SAP has assigned the following nine document types to Digital Access:

● Sales document

● Purchase document

● Invoice document

● Manufacturing document

● Material document

● Quality Management document

● Service & Maintenance document

● Financial document

● Time Management document

The quantity of documents is calculated by multiplying the number of documents by the number of items on the documents. In addition, documents are weighted according to their value level. The type of Financial document and Material document is calculated with a multiplier of 0,2, the others with a multiplier of 1. The quantitative price structure is based on the total number of indirectly generated documents.

After SAP presented its outcome-based licensing and pricing model, many opted to take advantage of the SAP option (Option 1: Status Quo – Do nothing) and stick with the licensing model previously used. This decision was mainly taken by customers who considered that Indirect Access, even with its ambiguity, was more transparent and therefore preferable to Digital Access.

For those who are willing to make the switch, SAP offers two additional options: users can choose between License Conversion (Option 2) and Contract Conversion (Option 3).

In the next session, we will discuss the benefits and possible risks of not adopting the Digital Access Adoption Program (DAAP) launched by SAP.