It’s been a rather positive couple of days at the annual UK & Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG) conference in Birmingham this week. Although the results of the annual survey indicated that SAP has some way to go in educating customers about the benefits of its next generation S/4 HANA platform – the amount of uptake is in line with what SAP expected.
This is particularly true given that S/4 HANA is currently less than two years old.
However, of the questions raised at the conference, one of the only ones that didn’t receive an entirely satisfactory answer was in relation to the impact of the Internet-of-Things on licensing.
As one can imagine, the Internet-of-Things has the potential to create an unprecedented amount of data – and consequently use cases – for companies. And more to the point, these use cases and data streams may well be unpredictable. That’s very different to the scenario that software vendors have licensed for in days gone by.
In fact, licensing has proven tricky for companies that have mapped and planned for their ‘predictable’ software use. Audits are an age-old tactic for catching companies out, where often companies weren’t even aware that they were misusing their licensing agreements.
The SAP UK & Ireland User Group isn’t currently satisfied with how SAP is managing licensing as it relates to the Internet-of-Things. And it doesn’t want SAP to get this wrong. And to be fair to SAP, it agrees that it needs to work this through further.
If this isn’t addressed now, a lot of companies embarking on Internet-of-Things projects in the coming years could find that they are faced with a larger than anticipated bill down the line.
UKISUG Chairman Philip Adams took to the stage this week for his keynote presentation and said:
" I think we really do need clarity in this area. We need to understand and clearly define, what does indirect usage mean in our organisations? Understand the type of scenario where we would fall into that area, and how we could either avoid or mitigate it.
I don’t think it’s an easy fix, but I’m committed to working with SAP to make sure that we can provide that clarity. We all see the benefits of the connected economy, but we all need to understand the implications this might have on our licensing positions.
I got the chance to sit down with Adams at the event to follow up on this point. Adams is actually stepping down from his position in April after four years in the job (and will be replaced by current Vice Chair, Paul Cooper) – however, he said that both him and Cooper see the Internet-of-Things licensing as a priority for the next twelve months.
What Adams and Cooper are keen to see are a set of principles that are developed that could be applied to the varying Internet-of-Things use cases, mitigating the element of surprise as these projects develop.
To read the full article, and to see what Hala Zeine and Cormac Waters from SAP had to say, please click here