01 Mar

SAP Named User Measurement Explained

SAP Named User Measurement Explained

What does USMM tell me about named user licensing?

Put very simply USMM is SAP’s measurement program and it lists the users, their licence type, and chargeable objects for each engine on the system.  It must be run on each system individually. In this blog I’ll focus on users, or more to point named users.  Named users are the people in your organization who use SAP and thus need a licence.  The LAW tool is then used to consolidate the USMM reports and report the highest licence type per user to SAP. SAP use this data to determine if you have enough entitlement to cover your licensing requirements, a.k.a a license audit, and will use it to determine if you owe them licensing fees for unlicensed or non-compliant usage.

 “If a user is using multiple systems the one where they have the highest access rights and permissions will take precedence for determining what named-user license they require”


What USMM isn’t

Although a user’s licence type should reflect their capability in the system and be in line with your contract; USMM will not automatically reflect changes made to a user’s roles or authorisations.

USMM isn’t what you might call an intelligent auditing tool. There is no dynamic link between a user’s capability and their licence type. A user’s licence type is a static piece of data in the system much like their name. The license type assigned to a user must be maintained by the customer.  Good system administration will update a user’s licence type periodically to reflect their current capabilities, but often it is a process which falls between the cracks.

 “A user’s licence type is a static piece of data in the system much like their name. There is no dynamic link between a user’s capability and their licence type.”

Over the years, I have encountered multiple clients confident their licensing position was compliant, left utterly confused and bemused by what USMM has told them. Had they run USMM and LAW reports, and not reviewed them before sending them to SAP they would have non-compliant as a direct result of not accurately reporting their system usage to SAP. This inaccurate reporting is a direct result of incorrectly configuring user capabilities to match their role, either in the first instance or because of change, and not properly understanding what USMM is counting and how, which would have prompted them to properly manage their user license allocations.

A few recurring USMM issues

  1. Users locked but not expired
  2. Users having multiple ID’s and therefor being counted by USMM multiple times.
  3. Licence type never populated or poorly maintained
  4. Little or no licence optimisation over the preceding years

With a little help items 1, 2 and 3 can quickly be resolved and with a bit more detailed work and analysis item 4 can be addressed too such that USMM accurately reflects system usage.

“Over the years, I have encountered multiple clients confident their licensing position was compliant, left utterly confused and bemused by what USMM has told them”


USMM Reporting Risk

As a result of the points discussed above running USMM on your SAP systems and sending this data to SAP can carry significant risk. Simply running USMM, consolidating via LAW and submitting this information is in essence carrying out a blind audit. Without knowing if the information is an accurate reflection of how your estate should be licences nor the potential implications of the submission you could be shooting yourself in the foot in a big way.

What SAP receive via LAW and USMM is a direct result of the information that you enter or configure into the SAP system. This is why when JNC carry out an SAP License Audit Simulation we can typically improve the potential outcome of a license audit by measuring the as-is compliancy position, followed by carrying out a programme of remediation in terms of the current as-is configuration. We can then carry out License Optimisation to identify the most cost effective to-be licensing position based on usage and discover what licensing you should actually have in place. This level of accuracy put the customer back in control of licensing and gives them something to work towards when negotiating licensing post-audit or when making any new procurements for licensing.

“We submit LAW every year and haven’t had any issues”

If you are not in control of what USMM is counting and what you are reporting to SAP, then you will not be aware of what information SAP are accruing behind the scenes. It is perfectly plausible that SAP note some level of non-compliancy but do not act on it at the time of discovery, and not doing so does not limit them from doing so in the future either. Perhaps you are a buying customer who is currently on a strong trajectory of growth. Why upset the apple cart? Non-compliancy can be a significant cause for discontent between a customer and SAP so there maybe account management or business strategic reasons why non-compliancy is not immediately highlighted. Furthermore, if SAP need to call in the Global License Audit Services (GLAS) team then they need a reasonable internal business case to justify the effort and resource consumption. Why instruct GLAS to audit if there is not much to find?

I have worked with many global scale organisations with 10’s of thousands of users and these issues can amount to 10’s of millions in non-compliancy. By executing the remediation and license optimisation measures alluded to above JNC have successfully reduced the demand captured by USMM/LAW or indeed an on-site audit by up to 90%. You can do the maths! So, if you are using USMM to determine your own compliancy position by rationalising it against your entitlement how can you be sure that USMM is giving you (or SAP) an accurate picture of what needs to be licensed and how?

The issues discussed result in clients paying too much for licensing compared to their usage and actual needs. Managing an accurate licensing position may result in having enough surplus to cover next year’s demand or for that new deployment, which based on your current licensing position you would need to purchase.

Let’s summarize some key points

  1. Understand what USMM does and doesn’t report
  2. Periodically maintain the user licence type on your systems
  3. With the help of an expert there are some simple exercises which can ensure USMM more accurately reflects system usage

Take Away Message

With regards to named users USMM simply counts users and their licence type. The Licence type allocated in the system is static data and is not dynamically linked to the roles or authorisations set or if they are changed. Sense check your USMM and LAW results before sending them off as results may not reflect your actual usage and more likely to return a higher demand for licensing than is necessary. If you have any questions or concerns speak to an actual SAP licensing specialist and have them perform an independent check to ensure that all results are correct. It might just save you a small fortune!

Ciaran Hudson on Email
Ciaran Hudson
Senior Consultant - SAP SAM and License Auditing at JNC Consultancy
Ciaran Hudson is a Senior Consultant with JNC specialising in SAP License Auditing, Compliancy and SAP Security and Authorisations. As well as performing a hands-on role as Senior Consultant, Ciaran also performs the role of Programme Manager for JNC's major customers ensuring smooth delivery of large scale SAP Security and License Audit projects. Ciaran Hudson has delivered projects throughout Europe, America, the Middle-East, Russia and China across multiple industry sectors.
Share this