The Winning Combination: Merging SAP Licensing into Your Workflow Processes

Workflow Winner

The Gate Keeper for SAP Licensing

Who’s in charge of SAP licensing in your organization? Is it you? A dedicated Licensing Manager (aka Software Asset Manager, aka SAM)? Maybe it’s the IT manager or the CIO? Someone is doing this job, because each year, many vendors including SAP, conduct software licensing audits and someone is providing the reports. It’s not an easy task, things fall through the cracks, and even the most minor mistake or oversight can be embarrassing, or ahem… illegal. We’ll explain how you can avoid an unpleasant situation and ensure software compliance.

We’re focusing on SAP as it is one of the most complex systems to control and also the most expensive one. In a medium-sized company with multi locations and a couple of local system administrators and business managers, tracking the current number of allocated SAP licenses and their types is very complicated. In a global organization with multi-country structure, the work of controlling SAP license allocation and inventory becomes really hard. From our experience, the best way to regulate such situations is to include licensing aspects in the user lifecycle management processes, especially in processes like “user-creation” and “user-elimination.”

Step 1: Putting Things in Order – Workflow Processes

I assume that you already have a workflow process in your organization for creating new users. If you do, go to Step 2. If you don’t, you should.

We have witnessed that organizations that put workflow-based user-creation and user-elimination processes in place tend to have a good sense of control over their IT systems. With an effective workflow process, “create user” and “eliminate user” requests are generated automatically when triggered from the HR system, or manually by a portal. The requests are usually approved by a line of approvers, including the CISO. A good mechanism will also include an alert for when a user is created or eliminated without using the workflow, meaning that someone was trying to bypass the standard procedure.

Step 2: Adding SAP Licensing into the Mix

Now that you have an ordered workflow process, to ensure SAP software compliance, you need to add licensing into the process too. We recommend including it either manually or automatically:

  • Manually means including the licensing manager in the process as a separated workflow step, so he can verify that the organization has enough licenses and that any new user’s license is included in the current quota of SAP licenses.
  • Automatically means that during the process there is a step that checks if there are enough SAP licenses from the required type. If the answer is no, (i.e., the organization has already occupied 100% of the licenses or 100% of the licenses from a required license type) the new license request will go to the licensing manager for his approval. If the answer is yes, the process will continue automatically without interruption.

With a more sophisticated system, when license consumption reaches 95%, the system will send an alert to buy new SAP licenses or to perform reclassification processes of SAP licenses, so that the organization will not run into legal issues

Step 3: Final Orchestration

When both the workflow and licensing facets play together harmoniously – “open user,” “check licensing,” “identify risk of licensing overflow,” “grant the right SAP license type” – controlling licensing becomes a relatively simple task, even in a large enterprise. Add to this some additional processes – like checking periodically if people really need their licenses, which SAP license is most suitable for which employee, or if SAP licenses are not being used at all – and you’ll have strong licensing compliance, having used significantly less resources than you would have expected.

Being in control of SAP licensing makes the CFO and CIO happy …and out of jail. What’s better than that? You can start taking control today, too. Xpandion has an integrated workflow and licensing solution that works.

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