SAP users react with concern to SAP High Court victory over Diageo

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SAP users have been reacting to the supplier’s victory over Diageo in the UK High Court last Thursday, when the drinks maker was judged liable for indirect licensing, and related, fees.

The case, adjudicated by Mrs Justice O’Farrell in the technology and construction court of the High Courtn, concerned Diageo’s use of mySAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software in relation to two new-third party systems it put in place in 2012, based on Salesforce technology.

The judge confirmed the reach of licence fees for “indirect access” by Diageo’s business customers and sales representatives.

SAP is seeking £54,503,578 in licence fees and £3,955,954 in interest, fees for back support and maintenance, and an injunction. The exact amount of the award in favour of the supplier will be determined at a later date.

Philip Adams, chairman of the UK and Ireland SAP User Group, said in a statement to Computer Weekly: “This case highlights the growing concern around indirect access. It is a topic we raised at our annual conference in November, calling on greater simplicity and clarity from SAP on what constitutes indirect usage and the implications for licensing. We have also warned all our members to be vigilant and consider their individual licensing positions.

“We are actively engaging with SAP at a global level as part of the SUGEN [SAP User Group Executive Network] licence charter team, and locally we have been running a number of events and webinars to help our members better understand the challenge and share best practice.

“However, clearly there is a lot of work to do, customers don’t like surprises and, without greater clarity from SAP, that is exactly what we could get. This is why we have two members of our board participating in the SUGEN charter and why we continue to raise the issue both globally and locally with SAP.”

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