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Optimize Your SAP Licensing by Using Workflows

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Say the word “workflow” and most people would probably think you mean a step-by-step process that involves logistics processes or financial modules. Well… this is mostly true, but what about a workflow process for SAP licensing? From our experience, using a workflow here could lead to very interesting and surprising cost saving situations.


Let’s see an example of a common user creation process in SAP:

[Event:] New employee is created in HR -> [Step] Create user account in ERP -> [Step] Email/SMS employee with the new password

And improve it to be:

[Event:] New employee is created in HR -> [Step] Create user account in ERP -> [Step] Allocate suitable SAP license type -> [Step] Email/SMS employee with the new password

The first process is the common process, although many times the steps are done manually and not automatically. Converting them to an automatic workflow makes the process much quicker and more efficient, but this is not the focus of this blog. The second workflow includes the important step: [Step] Allocate suitable SAP license type. What’s so unique in this step? One could claim that allocating licenses to user accounts can be done after the user account has been created or even much later and it doesn’t need to bottleneck the process. Well, this has been proven wrong from an SAP licensing optimization point of view.

Setting the SAP License Immediately at User Creation

Xpandion discovered that when organizations set the suitable SAP license type during the account creation they gain a clearer licensing structure and go through less hassle to optimize licenses later. If someone puts some thought into setting the right license type at the moment of creation, the reclassification process will also be quicker later.
Let’s take it one step further: If you give the department manager the ability to set the most suitable license types because he needs to pay for them out of his own budget – you will discover that he’ll think twice before choosing a “professional” license, which is the most expensive license type. Instead, he will check very carefully what this employee should be doing and in many cases will adjust the job according to the license type that he wants to pay for. Some may say that this is not the optimal situation, but from a licensing point of view, it is a clear way to save. By the way, trying to do the same thing later (i.e. change an employee’s scope of work from “professional” tasks to “employee” tasks) will be faced with resistance.

Want more ideas on how to optimize your SAP licensing? Read the SAP Licensing eBook.

Setting the License Type While Changing a Position

Workflow processes are also great for events when employees change positions. Instead of just letting employees change positions in the HR system, set a workflow:

[Event:] Employee change position in HR -> [Step] Allocate suitable license type

This will ensure that someone checks the employee’s license in every event of changing a position. This is super important because many times people change their position to one that doesn’t require an SAP user account at all, or only requires self-service tasks, which eliminates the need to use expensive license types. Re-inspecting the current SAP license and checking if it is still relevant increases the chances of accurate licensing.

Free up the SAP License When an Employee Leaves

Why not free up some licenses when employees leave the organization? Same as above, you should trigger a simple workflow following the event of “Employee Leave” and you’re done:

[Event:] Employee is terminated in HR system -> [Step] Lock/Delete user account in ERP -> [Step] Free up old license and return to pool

We’ve seen here how setting the suitable SAP license type during account creation and implementing workflows for event changes can highly optimize SAP licensing. These simple steps can save thousands upon thousands of dollars due to the possibility of licensing reallocation.

For more great tips about optimizing SAP licensing, read our highly popular SAP Licensing eBook now.
Do you have more examples of workflow processes for SAM and Software License Optimization? We’d love to hear them! Please share yours below.

Yoav Michaeli joined Xpandion in 2008 as a team leader, and in 2010 Mr. Michaeli began managing the entire Research & Development group of the company. Prior to joining Xpandion, Mr. Michaeli served in an elite technological unit of the Israeli Defense Forces as a team leader for various key military projects. Among other achievements, he was instrumental in pioneering the use of advanced .NET technologies for large scale distributed systems. Mr. Michaeli is an expert in programming, agile development, application security and specialized programming techniques.


  • Guest
    David Morrison 29/12/2014

    I agree with some of your points on assigning license types up front and freeing up licenses when an employee leaves, but why not assign license types to roles instead of users? USMM will assign the highest license type to a user based on security roles assigned such that only a few users will require manual adjustment. Tasking managers with assigning license types seems like a recipe for under-reporting and extensive manual clean-up when it comes time to perform the annual license measurement.

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