Indirect access is one topic above all others that raises blood pressure among buyers, consultants, user groups and the vendor – in this case SAP. Let’s be clear, the topic is not new and it is not exclusive to SAP.
In SAP’s case, indirect access as a contractual construct has been around for at least 15 years. The difference in 2017 is that it has emerged from the shadows in a very public way, principally following the outcome SAP’s win in the SAP v Diageo case, but amplified via the accounting provisions InBev made related to SAP licensing issues.
We should add from the get go that the Diageo case is not finalized and may yet turn in Diageo’s favor. Also, the InBev case, while conflated with the Diageo one, has plenty of dis-similarities such as to make the two cases only tangentially comparable. Therein lies a central problem. No two cases are the same yet mention indirect access and everything gets thrown into the mix. It’s unhelpful when that happens.
At SAPPHIRENow 2017 (and beforehand), Howlett had a number of useful conversations with SAP executives and customers on the topic alongside meeting with senior executives from DSAG and SUGEN. UKISUG sent over a press release on the topic and SAP endeavored to start making the topic more transparent both in Bill McDermott’s opening keynote and in a press release. Reed also had conversations, including meeting with Geoff Scott, CEO ASUG and the SUGEN leadership. Both of those meetings were played back on video shoots.
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