09 Jan

Licensing SAP Mobile Solutions

Licensing SAP Mobile Solutions.

A New access point, a new license?

SAP software licensing is based on two licensing components: package licenses and named user licenses. Package licenses give you the right to deploy and use the software. Named user licenses authorize an individual to access the licensed software.

But what happens when I would start using SAP mobile technology solutions?  In other words I want to use standard SAP or custom built apps running on employee smartphones or mobile devices, which connect to the SAP system. What implication will this have on the licensing I need and which options do I have?

 “When deploying SAP Mobile products, additional licenses may be required”

So, how is it done?

Licensing mobile solutions is done on multiple levels. The first level is based on accessing the back-end data in (SAP) systems. Mobile apps read and or update data coming from (non) SAP systems. When data is read or transferred to or from a SAP system using a mobile application, users who indirectly access the system using the app will need a Named User license. This is, of course, only the case if the user who holds the device does not yet have an appropriate Named User license. If they do this license may also cover this usage as long as this is covered by the license type definition in the contract. If this is the case then no additional license would be required. If not and the usage of the mobile solution exceeds that covered by the existing license the user would need to be upgraded to a more expensive license type. Their previous license would then become available to be assigned a user who required it or reserved in the pool of available licenses. If their usage would now require a more expensive license type, one would need to be purchased as part of the next material procurement with SAP. It is possible to see how complex license management becomes and licensing mobile solutions provides additional complexities for license managers to consider

The second level is called the SAP Mobile Platform. This software is needed to build and deploy apps for iOS, Android, and Windows devices – as well as wearables and desktop apps. It allows you to customize pre-packaged mobile apps from SAP and its development partners. The Mobile Platform is also used for data integration across back-ends (SAP and non-SAP) and security administration. Furthermore, it allows you to deploy apps in the SAP Store. Different licensing and purchasing options are available for SAP Mobile Platform in its simplest form; Basic, Medium and Full Professional versions. You should choose the option which fits your needs. Licenses are to be paid for every person that will use the platform to manage and develop apps. The SAP Mobile Platform license is mandatory.

The third level is the mobile application itself. Here, everything is possible. You can simply buy apps from the SAP store, or develop your own apps on the Mobile Platform (if this functionality is licensed). For the apps you buy, you usually pay, per app, a license per user who will use the app.

“licensing mobile solutions provides additional complexities for license managers to consider”

Key Points

Licenses for mobile applications need to be paid per user, not per device. Just to be clear: one user using a mobile app on a tablet and a smartphone just needs one license for that app.

The SAP Mobile Platform license is mandatory. Even if you choose to run a standard app from the SAP store, you’ll need a license for the Mobile Platform. Of course, in this case, the basic version of the Mobile Platform will do.

Deploying mobile apps entails multiple levels of licenses. Depending on the plans you have with mobile solutions and the situation you’re currently in, costs can become significant. The fact that every user who relates on data coming from a SAP system needs a Named User license in that system is an important point that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the mobile route.

“Licenses for mobile applications need to be paid per user, not per device”

Indirect Access Risk

Is the implementation and use of mobile solutions a form of Indirect Access? Well, it could be. If the application has not been licensed then it can be deemed to be a third-part supply chain system either creating, manipulating, or viewing data in the SAP system. Due to the ring fencing of development within the SAP Mobile Platform, this is only likely if the mobile solution in question has been developed independently or out with the SAP Mobile Platform. It is important that careful consideration is made before deploying and form of application in any environment with your SAP system. To read our Indirect Access article click here

Take Away Message

Eventually, adding an additional point to access your business data besides of your existing desktop logon possibilities will not change much in licensing perspective. Only the license for the Mobile Platform and the app itself are required. Those costs are relatively low and priced per user. On the other hand, if you’re bringing new users with your mobile strategy to the SAP domain, they all will need a Named User license as well. And according to what I have encoutered this can incresease the actual cost of deploying mobile solutions significantly and unexpectedly.


James Cochlin on EmailJames Cochlin on Linkedin
James Cochlin
Principal Consultant - SAP Licensing and Compliancy at JNC Consultancy
James Cochlin is Principle Consultant and Head of Audit & Compliancy Services at JNC, A company which has been providing SAP License Management services since 2009. In total James possesses over 12 years’ experience in SAP License Management and Auditing with significant knowledge and experience in SAP security, Authorisations and GRC. In the past, James was an SAP License Auditor for Deloitte. As Global Technical Lead James audited clients around the world on behalf of SAP, and was involved in the development of SAP’s License Audit Methodology. Now James works with customers helping reduce their risk of non-compliance, identify cost savings and avoid the pit-falls of licensing SAP estates. Throughout his consulting career, James has worked at some of the largest clients of SAP helping them solve complex licensing problems whilst helping them regain control of SAP Licensing and Compliancy. James continues to train SAP Consultants on SAP licensing to the highest standards, he was the lead architect of a well know SAP Software Asset Management tool, and is held in high esteem internationally as a leading SME and authority on SAP License Management.
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