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SAP: “We will clarify and simplify our licensing models”

SAP UK MD Tim Noble: “standardise our terms, software rights and conditions globally”

SAP this week holds the US leg of its TechEd 2012 developer and user conference and exhibition in Las Vegas. The firm used its opening keynote sessions to detail a set of extended developer services to sit under the umbrella of its HANA brand, the company’s in-memory Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)-centric computing platform.

In line with these announcements the firm has also said that it is currently seeking to clarify and simplify the licensing regulations covering its ever growing base of technologies.

With a mix of home grown and in house developed technologies… along those coming from corporate acquisitions, SAP has a challenge ahead of it if the company is going to provide a single user license for access across its current stack.

Following this vein of news, the UK & Ireland SAP User Group has reportedly expressed some concern over SAP’s licensing practices in general. As stated, the firm itself confesses to complex licensing in some areas as well as a pricing structure that has been said to take “many years of experience” to interpret and comprehend.

The UK & Ireland SAP User Group’s findings suggest that 95% of SAP users say that the company’s software licensing policy is over complicated. A similarly high 88% of respondents to this survey have called for SAP to make its price list completely public (rather than partially as it is now) in the pursuit of clarity.

“This is an excellent survey by the UK & Ireland SAP User Group that shows overwhelming results, which are of no surprise,” said Moshe Panzer, CEO of Xpandion. “We have been witnessing a constantly growing demand for clearer view of users’ behaviour in order to understand the exact need of SAP licenses – amount and types. In this economy, customers seek an understanding of what all their software licenses, which are a significant part in the total IT budget.”

Fight for your (software) rights

SAP UK MD Tim Noble has said that his group is working to address these challenges and “standardise our terms, software rights and conditions globally” for all SAP products including those in the Sybase family.

ZDNet blogger and esteemed tech analyst Dennis Howlett suggests that as fast as SAP is working to address its licensing challenges, the recent acquisitions of SuccessFactors and Ariba will further complicate things.

Howlett writes,

“One of the user group’s aims is to bring SAP more in line with other vendors that produce price books. That is not necessarily going to translate into transparency and simplicity but it is a start. SAP must know it is only a matter of time before they have to fully come out into the open on this ongoing and vexing topic.”

SAP is not alone in these challenges, Oracle has been similarly castigated for complex and non-transparent licensing that is said to be costing firms millions at a macroeconomic level.

About Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist specialising in cross platform software application development and data analytics as well as all related aspects of software engineering and project management.

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