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SAP Named User License Optimization – Beyond the Basics

Chris Hughes, Flexera Software

This article has been contributed by Chris Hughes of Flexera Software.

Generally, when we think about SAP named user license optimization, the focus is on three key optimizations:

  • Identifying inactive users
    Inactive SAP user accounts are retired to free up licenses for other users and to forestall additional purchases.
  • Identifying duplicate users
    Each SAP user requires a single named user license regardless of how many SAP systems they are using. When generating a SAP LAW1 license audit report, SAP consolidates user accounts based on one or more user fields.

If a user has different usernames on different SAP systems, that user’s accounts may not be consolidated correctly by SAP and the company will end up purchasing multiple licenses for a single user. Identifying such instances in advance allows enterprises to update their user account details and eliminate duplicate users.

  • Assigning the optimal named user license type to each user
    SAP puts the onus on its customers to assign the appropriate named user license type to each user account. This can be easily accomplished using generalizations such as “Everyone in the finance department requires a Professional User license”, and indeed this type of analysis may drive initial license purchases. However, by analysing whether and how individual users actually utilize SAP, a different picture often emerges that can reduce SAP license consumption significantly. See the chart below showing an example of the considerable difference that can occur between the LAW report of licenses consumed (allocated to users) and the actual usage of the system for several categories of SAP licenses:

These optimizations rightfully belong at the forefront of any discussion of SAP license optimization and each can bring significant cost savings to an enterprise. However, some related topics also deserve consideration. Let’s explore.

  • User data validation and cleansing
    User account data is not always in a state to allow all duplicates to be easily identified. Enterprises that have been through a merger or acquisition are likely to have changed user names and email addresses. Other fields may be blank. A single user may go by different names, for example I could appear as Chris on some systems and Christopher on others.To ensure duplicate users can be reliably identified and resolved, existing user account data must first be validated. This includes identifying the following:

    • Empty fields
      This is critical for fields used by SAP LAW to consolidate users. It is also important for other fields such as username, first and last name, email address and accounting number, which can be used to identify duplicate users.
    • Naming conventions
      For enterprises with username and/or email address naming conventions, finding exceptions to these conventions might help identify duplicate users, particularly if the same users have additional accounts on other SAP systems that do conform. Flexera’s naming convention is< firstinitial><lastname> My proper email address is then If was found in SAP and there is no in SAP, then there is no problem, except for violating the naming convention. However if both are found, it’s clear that is a duplicate and you are paying twice for the license.
    • Plausibility / activity checks
      When a system measurement is run, checks are performed to ensure SAP systems are being appropriately used. While not an optimization, enterprises should ensure that these checks don’t reveal questionable activities that could bring their license position under unnecessary scrutiny. Some examples of these checks include:

      • Users who have changed the source code in the last 12 months and therefore should require a developer license.
      • Users who are working around the clock with no break in their usage patterns, which may provide evidence of indirect usage2.
      • Users who have been recently expired.
      • Users who have logged on since their validity has expired.
      • Users with multiple concurrent logins.

Several license management solutions provide at least basic support for identifying inactive and duplicate users and assigning named user license types. But there is disparity in the richness and flexibility of the approaches to calculating a user’s optimal license type.

When looking to optimize your SAP named user licenses, consider how each solution helps to bring your user data into a clean and consistent state that will maximize the outcomes of the other optimization techniques. Also look for an understanding of plausibility / activity checks and the ability to run similar types of analysis more frequently than your SAP system measurements.

This article has been contributed by Chris Hughes of Flexera Software.

1 LAW: License Administration Workbench supports users to perform an SAP license audit, consolidating user and engine measurement data from all SAP systems into a single license position.

2 Indirect usage: Non-SAP systems that exchange information with SAP systems require a license, as do users of these systems.

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  1. Lori S says:

    Very good article.   I spent over 2 years validating SAP licenses for a global company and found similar issues.   Two additional pieces of information are that I also found a very user friendly piece of software to really do the heavy lifting for assigning categories and invalidating users.     SAP’s LAW report is not meant to be user friendly – but automated cleansing and determination of categories can save companies millions of dollars.    When you have that data, you can then tailor your contract for more specific usage rights for the organization.    I have not seen Flexara’s system but know that cleansing your SAP system is the most effective use of any SAM Manager and businesses time.   

  2. Kumar says:

    On what basis the License types had been classified or distinguished as professional . semi prof, employee ?

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