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Can you work around SAP indirect access software licensing?

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The High Court has ruled that “only named users” are authorised to use or access SAP’s mySAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software directly or indirectly.

It found that Diageo had broken this agreement after the company’s implementation of a system for its sales reps using a Salesforce application that connected to SAP.

The system, called Gen2, which was developed by Deloitte, uses Salesforce to allow Diageo sales representatives to collate relevant data to assist with the management and tracking of sales, primarily at outlets for sales of drinks to consumers, such as pubs and clubs.

Diageo then deployed a further system, called Connect, to enable its customers and distributors to place orders for products directly using an online portal, rather than having to order via the Diageo call centre.

When the Gen2 or Connect applications interact with mySAP ERP, they do so via middleware called SAP PI (Process Integration).

In the High Court, Mrs Justice O’Farrell stated: “In my judgment, the interactions identified above between the Connect customer and mySAP ERP constitute use of, or access to, the mySAP ERP software. The login process triggers a connection with mySAP ERP via SAP PI. Each stage of the order process requires the customer to initiate the transmission of a message from Connect to mySAP ERP and a corresponding response to be received from mySAP ERP. A customer’s order cannot be completed in Connect; submission of the order initiates transmission of the same to mySAP ERP, where the final processing and completion is carried out. At each stage of the order process, the customer is accessing or using mySAP ERP indirectly through SAP PI.”

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