SAP gets tough on violation of software use terms

Software giant is seeking huge back-fees from companies for claimed indirect access violations, analyst says

By , Computerworld |  IT Management, SAP

In addition, some recent changes to SAP's licensing terms now make it a requirement for companies to use only SAP processes to extract data from a SAP system to a non-SAP system, he noted.

SAP did not respond to a request for comment. So it was not immediately possible to verify the accuracy of the scenarios described by Blake, or of the claimed increased enforcement of the indirect access issue.

Frank Scavo, managing partner of the IT consulting firm Strativa, said today that he is unfamiliar with the specifics of the issues raised by Blake. But in the past, software vendors have resorted to similar tactics when they have been under financial pressure.

A company's ability to push back against vendor demands for additional license fees depends very much on where they are in the procurement cycle, Scavo said. Companies that are close to renewing their existing contracts with a vendor, or who may be thinking of buying more products from them, will be in a better position to negotiate a deal than companies that have no immediately procurement plans, Scavo said.

"I would tie forbearance from the vendor [for any outstanding software fee claims] as a pre-condition for doing additional business with that vendor" he said.

Companies that are concerned about being audited should also take a look at their contracts and understand all the definitions and terms of use. They need to take a look at their current use of SAP applications and try to get a handle on the magnitude of the issue before they are called up for non-compliance, Blake said.

Those getting into a new relationship with SAP need to read the fine print in their license agreement and make sure that they have a clear idea of their exposure to indirect access issues before they sign anything, Blake said.

"We have always seen SAP as being more relationship friendly [than other enterprise software vendors]," Blake said. "That, however, has begun changing."

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Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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