SAP Licence Compliance – prevention is better than cure!

By | 23rd October 2018

This is my 2nd post on licensing. The plan is to highlight common errors that lead to problems with compliance. Hopefully, I won’t receive any passive-aggressive emails/telephone calls requesting edits this time!

The current SAP Software Use Rights document is 76 pages long. The information below is to help you around the common mistakes. It’s still up to you to ensure you’re using the software in a compliant manner. I’m only covering the licences where they impact Crystal Server, SAP BI Edge Edition and SAP BI, and only the more common mistakes.

CPU Licencing – I’ve covered this before, but worth revisiting. If you have CPU licences, they’re probably very old and very expensive to maintain (call to discuss). More importantly, it’s very unlikely that you’re compliant! When CPU licences were common, a single socket CPU was just that – a single CPU. Now a CPU has multiple cores and they all need to be licenced (1 for the first core on each physical CPU, 1/2 for each additional CPU. Rounded up.) My 4 Core i5 would need 3 CPU licences (1 + 3 *0.5 = 2.5).

Shared Named User Accounts – This is where you have multiple users sharing a single login, possibly on a single PC. Just don’t do it. If you think you need a shared account for the whole marketing department, it’s time to look at concurrent licences. If you’re audited and the accounts have names like ‘Marketing’, ‘Sales’ etc, you’re going to feel poorer.

3rd Party Access – If you have users who aren’t employees/affiliates/contractors etc accessing the server, viewing data that is owned by that 3rd party, then you’re not licenced. This doesn’t include external users who are viewing your data, just if it’s their own. For example, they can view invoices you’ve issued to them. They can’t view invoices that they sent to their own customers. This is designed to prevent companies hosting SAP software and reselling access to it. I admit that this makes no sense at all, especially as the user needs to have a licence just to login. However, I don’t make the rules. The solution is to buy OEM licences, but they’re not widely advertised (just ask me). The penalty is in the region of 20% of total licence cost per external company. If you have £10,000 of licences, with 10 external companies accessing, you could get a bill for £20,000. In practice, SAP will only ask for an amount they think you can afford. A bit like a mugger leaving you with the bus fare to get home.

Crystal Server Design Licences 1 – There was a change to Crystal Server licensing in 2016 that meant that Named Users were also licensed for the designers (Crystal Reports and Crystal Dashboards). That’s great, but not all licences are equal! If you’re licence specifies the version of Crystal Server (typically 2011 or 2013), then it doesn’t include any design licences. You need to buy separate licences of Crystal Reports or Crystal Dashboard. Even if it doesn’t mention a version, only Named Users are allowed to design.

Crystal Server Design Licences 2 – The designers are for Named Users. Installing on 20 PCs and having everyone login as Administrator doesn’t count. Nor does having a shared user name (see previous).

Dashboard Redistribution – It’s complicated. By the time I’ve worked how to explain it, Flash will have finally deceased and everyone will be using the excellent Metabase. More seriously, read the software use rights, section 7.3 & 7.4.

If you’ve read this far, you deserve some kind of reward! Just contact me to discuss your licences for free.

Next up, I’ll be covering the redistribution rights of Crystal Reports and its runtime.

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