Sapphire 2017: McDermott declares SAP indirect licensing policy change

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SAP CEO Bill McDermott tackled the controversial issue of indirect licensing in his opening keynote at the supplier’s annual Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Florida.

At the 2016 event, McDermott led on a theme of an ambition for increased customer empathy. This year, he said an example of that is the company’s decision to change aspects of its approach to indirect licensing.

“I hear that indirect access is causing some anxiety, so let’s tell it like it is. Protecting IP [intellectual property] and accommodating ease of doing business is a delicate balance. But, even as we maintain that balance, we can show greater empathy,” said McDermott.

“Today, I announce simplified pricing. The ‘procure to pay’ and ‘order to cash’ scenarios will now be based on orders, which is a measurable business outcome for any business. Static read access in third-party systems is your data, and so SAP will not charge for that.”

Recently, SAP has been embroiled in legal cases – one with Diageo and one with Belgian brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev – which have turned on the putative use of SAP systems and data without appropriate licences.

In the Diageo case, the High Court in London ruled in favour of SAP and against Diageo in an indirect licensing case concerning the use of mySAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software on a Salesforce platform.

In a press and analyst session following the keynote, McDermott said there was “a necessary balancing act between protecting intellectual property and having an empathetic heart”.

In response to a question from ComputerWorldUK, he said the legal disputes between SAP and Diageo and, more recently, the supplier and the Belgian brewer, “were separate and private things, and I am confident it will all work its way out”.

To read more, please follow this link: Sapphire 2017: McDermott declares SAP indirect licensing policy change

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