19 Feb

SAP License Audit: LAW Pitfalls Explained

What You Need to Know Before you hit the Send Button!

To begin with, should I rely blindly on the measurement results? …NEVER!

That’s a tough statement, but let me explain. The measurement program, a.k.a transaction USMM for the techies, is a built-in tool that helps all SAP systems produce the information needed to determine the use of the SAP software. The tool only determines the number of users and the used SAP products (the so-called “packages” or “engines”).

The results from your measurement are then compared to the terms of your SAP contracts. SAP’s verdict is often quite straightforward: You are compliant, or you are not … This verdict is based on what you deliver to SAP. So you can hardly underestimate the importance of sending correct info.

“In 2015, SAP released 47 SAP notes on issues related to the measurement program. Not following these developments will only play against you.”

USMM Results

“Where do these results come from?” or “I didn’t know we were using that product, did you?” are questions which are often heard when the USMM results appear on your screen.  In the USMM results, two areas of major importance need your attention: The Users part and the Engines part.

The Users part reflects the different License Types of Named Users and counts the number of users assigned to each of them. An odd situation would be that you see “newcomers”, i.e license types you don’t know. You should investigate what they are. Errors should be corrected as soon as possible or valid new license types agreed on with SAP. If the last situation is correct, you should check your entitlement. Using named user license types which are not known in the agreements between you and SAP, result in non-compliancy.

The Engines part is more difficult to monitor. In fact, there are three scenarios:

  1. Engines which are – according to you – not in use but show results.
  2. Engines which are in use but show strange results (too high/too low).
  3. Engines which are in use but without any results.

Of course, not all of these situations look bad but you should keep in mind that SAP analyses those figures as well. Strange results also trigger their attention.

“Keeping your measurement tools up-to-date is the best guarantee to deliver true and accurate results to SAP.”

So, what can you do?

For engines which are popping up without any immediate explanation or with odd numbers, you should first check the SAP Support Portal for relevant SAP Notes. Tip: search on the engine ID for targeted results. Implement notes if necessary and potentially helpful. Also, check the available information on engines in the SAP Support Portal under Global License Auditing Service. If changes, errors, or updates have taken place for certain engines, information is normally added to the documentation on the engine ID information sheet.

Don’t forget to consult your functional SAP consultants as well. New engine ID’s don’t necessarily mean errors in the program. New functionalities can be in use as well or existing ones can be used more extensively (higher numbers) or are about to retire (lower numbers). All of these scenarios require an appropriate action.

Keep in mind that not everything can be measured by the SAP tools. “OK, so we start counting ourselves?”.  That’s basically it. Engines with an engine ID starting with “N” are to be measured by the client. SAP normally sends out the templates to be filled in together with the yearly measurement request. So, if you see engine ID’s with an “N” without measurement results, you know there’s work to be done!

Key Points

  • Do not push the “send” button right away after the measurement is completed! Challenge the results, and take appropriate actions to ensure that what you are sending to SAP is an accurate reflection of usage.
  • Keep your measurement tools safe and sound. They are SAP programs which need updates/changes/fixes as well.
  • Keep an eye on the SAP Support Portal for detailed information on the measurement process.

Take Away Message

Know your measurement program, don’t just rely on what the output of the tool tells you. Challenge the results and find current information on the SAP license audit and the measurement tools (USMM and LAW – oh yes, that one also!) on the SAP Support Portal. Also, check for SAP Notes regularly. Understand the changes the in the SAP landscape and make sure these are reflected in the measurement plan. Remember, not everything is measurable from within the system and sometimes self-declaration is needed. Be wary, speak to an actual SAP licensing specialist and have them perform an independent check to ensure that all results are correct.


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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