SAP’s Digital Access Adoption Program Expires May 2020: Are You Missing Out?


Business people running and stopped by missed opportunity

It’s been months since SAP offered the Digital Access Adoption Program (DAAP) to the market and many customers have been asking whether they are missing out given SAP’s positioned May 2020 expiration date.  DAAP is a compelling commercial program for migrating from Indirect to Digital Access, but it is not for everyone and should be approached carefully, understanding the cost and risk implications upfront.  Let me explain.

What is the Difference Between Indirect and Digital Access Again?

Several years ago, SAP began making claims that they had the right to go beyond the scope of many customer’s traditional understandings of audits.  They leveraged publicly available information, casual conversations with customers, and requests for information to make claims that they were not receiving fair payment for Indirect Use of SAP software.  Customers reacted with their arms crossed when SAP positioned Indirect Access findings in the millions of dollars and the trust most customers had for one of their most strategic partners was quickly eroded.

In 2017, SAP took erosion of customer trust seriously and former SAP CEO, Bill McDermott, addressed it head-on during his SAPPHIRE keynote talking about the empathy SAP has for its customers and released a whitepaper to provide visibility into Indirect Access.  Shortly after these efforts failed to hit the mark, SAP released a new document-based model for the digital age which provided visibility into how it intended to make Indirect Access more predictable for customers and reestablish the trust that was once lost.  This was the inception of the new model, Digital Access.

What is the DAAP?

Given such thin adoption of Digital Access, SAP formally announced DAAP in order to drive adoption.  More specifically, SAP’s program offers customers two steps to adopt the Digital Access model:

  1. Measure Digital Access requirements with the help of SAP
  2. Choose a financial option for paying for your requirements by either paying for your planned growth and receiving your current requirements at no cost or by receiving a 90% discount on your current requirements.

From a commercial perspective, this offering is pretty compelling if Digital Access makes sense for you.

Should You Engage SAP on DAAP?

As part of the many strategic negotiations we advise clients on, I find that most SAP customers want to put Indirect or Digital Access behind them, so we do believe companies should engage SAP on these topics as part of their negotiations.  This comes with a caveat.

I recommend you start by pulling information prior to pushing any information to SAP.  More specifically, request information from SAP on Indirect, Digital Access, and DAAP.  After getting self-educated and giving your team the opportunity to conduct a self-assessment on the costs of Indirect versus Digital Access, decide whether the long-term risks of Digital Access are worth the financially attractive DAAP program.

What are the Risks of Digital Access?

Beyond the self-assessment, there are other risks to consider prior to positioning the move to Digital Access with SAP.  When I think about making a move to Digital Access, the most important risks are related to the future of Digital Access.

  • SAP’s Measurement of Digital Access

SAP will most certainly start inserting its Digital Access tool to measure your company’s requirements as part of future audits. Based on our engagements with clients and further validated by Ron Gilson, CIO of Johnsonville and ASUG board member, gaps still remain in SAP’s Digital Access tool.  SAP’s tool is still very immature, where it includes documents not relevant to Digital Access and is sometimes not smart enough to separate initial documents from subsequent documents (which are non-chargeable under SAP’s methodology).

  • Limitation on Document Types

While we have an understanding of the number of documents SAP positions under the Digital Access program today, SAP has never expressly limited the number of documents to the 9 types under the current model. Therefore, it is possible that over time SAP may choose to add additional document types to the model, increasing customer’s exposure as the digital age continues to mature.

  • Automation in the Digital Age

The biggest risk is related to the level of automation we anticipate the digital age to create, resulting in even more documents than many of our customers are leveraging today and can anticipate in the future. Therefore, even if companies are assessing current and future requirements, they are likely significantly underestimating Digital Access requirements for the future.

So, Are You Missing Out on DAAP?

When customers ask whether they are missing out on DAAP given the May 2020 expiration date, the answer is that it typically depends on your environment.  Once we have had an opportunity to conduct an assessment, a majority of the time SAP’s Indirect Access model is more cost-effective for SAP customers than migrating to Digital Access now and into the future.  This does not even take into account many of the unknowns related to the risks highlighted above like SAP’s tool, additional document types, and automation.

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