Livingstone Knowledge

The SAP year in review: 2023

Author: Alex Meijer
Senior Consultant at Livingstone Group


Our SAP senior consultants Lucy Shillito, Marco Claassen and Alex Meijer reflect on 2023 and take a look at all the engagements that took place throughout the year.

A quick summary of SAP 2023 engagements

Over the course of 2023, Livingstone delivered 30 SAP engagements across 26 clients. Managing 2.2M IT users and $1B of total contract value.

We also noted that where the data was available, Livingstone identified $24M of savings overall, which accounted for an average of 21% annual contract value or $29 per IT user.


The main force behind the savings

A combined 41 years of SAP licensing experience is what sets Livingstone apart from the rest. 24 of these years have been gained from working inside SAP, driving discount to the max through our unsurpassed knowledge which enables us to be first in class in detecting and addressing opportunities and risk.

Livingstone developed an in-house tool which mimics SAP’s License Administration Workbench (LAW) tool for de-duplicating users that is more versatile in compressing the user count. It also outperforms most, if not all, well-known market tools in accurately handling SAP’s complex user license hierarchy.


Trends we've observed

We've seen that SAP is pushing their customers harder than ever to the SAP Cloud: commercially disincentivising OnPrem, and messaging negatively on previous promises to develop OnPrem S/4HANA till 2040.

SAP started to increase their maintenance fees and we have seen two clients move to third-party support as a result.

SAP have also used the recent Digital Access audit tool to initiate in-depth reviews of indirect use, including customers who are still on the legacy User model.


What's next?

Livingstone expect these trends to continue throughout 2024 so be prepared for in-depth audits and a strong push towards the SAP Cloud (and especially RISE with SAP) and Digital Access.

In fact, in the first two months of 2024 we have already seen unprecedented audit aggression around indirect use from systems owned by distribution partners - despite not controlling these systems, one of our clients was pushed to disclose (anonymised) partner user lists. Also, we have received indications that in on-premise S/4HANA migrations, the portion of your new estate which can be offset by legacy investments is again dropping compared to the previous year.

If anything we've discussed here resonates with you, don't hesitate to reach out.



Topics: Software Licensing, SAP, Effective License Position