The SAP Licensing model is considered to be among the most complex and confusing in the generally bewildering area of software licensing. While many software vendors typically calculate their license fees by counting the number of active and inactive users, or by considering the number of servers and CPUs, SAP defines licenses according to usage — without really examining usage — an omission that may well be the root cause of the confusion. Adding to the lack of clarity are the issues related to “named users” – the basic unit of the SAP licensing model. For example, there are no real names behind named users — and, a named user can have multiple usernames in different systems. This article will describe the basic SAP licensing model, its difficulties, and how SAP customers typically handle the issue of licensing. In order to keep it simple, we will not include a discussion of “engines” (e.g., payroll, etc.), which are additional components that are charged separately, on top of the basic licensing fees.
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