How important it is to properly manage your Oracle E-Business Suite licenses

September 12, 2017
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Although Oracle is primarily known for its database flagship products, the company is also a global leader in front-end applications. Oracle’s ERP modules, commonly known as E-Business Suite or EBS for short, play a leading role here.
EBS offers several modules for everything a business needs, including areas such as human resources, finance, logistics, etc. As with any other software, EBS customers should ensure that they have reliable software asset management programs ( SAM), because Oracle also likes to check EBS licenses during manufacturer audits. However, there are some individual challenges to understanding your EBS usage and compliance. This article addresses some of these challenges and the importance of having a good SAM process for EBS.

Multiple metrics, numerous risks
A challenge in software asset management for EBS is that modules are licensed to many different metrics, each with its own compliance pitfalls. The variety of metrics and their corresponding contractual arrangements often lead to confusion for the customer. For example, one of the most commonly used metrics in the EBS suite is Application User. As we have already highlighted in other posts, an “application user” refers to a user who is allowed access to the program, regardless of whether he actually logs in. By this definition, each user needs a license that has no end date in the software, even if the company is no longer employed by the company, and Oracle assumes that an appropriate license is required in an EBS audit is. Many customers forget to enter an end date with the users and are therefore faced with high compliance fees.

Similar to the “Application User” is another popular license metrics, namely the licensing of “Employee”, ie employees. Again, licensing does not matter how many users actually use the software. In contrast to the “Application User”, the access authorization for the software is irrelevant here. When licensing modules for Employee, customers must license their entire workforce, regardless of who actually accesses or uses the software. This leads to compliance failures for some customers as the number of employees increases, even when users are not using the EBS module at all.

Some EBS modules are licensed by consumption, not by number of users or employees. Oracle sells the application “Internet Expenses” for example according to the metric “Expense Report”, so cost report. In this case, customers must license each expense report created in the system. Another popular application licensed by quantity is Order Management, which is licensed by the number of electronic order lines created with the program. These types of modules can easily lead customers to violate compliance by simply calculating the amount of usage incorrectly when they buy licenses. Although these “quantity-based” programs often cause low unit costs, a large amount can quickly come together if the customer’s usage significantly exceeds their entitlements.

In addition to the metrics discussed above, there are numerous others, including Record, Trainee, or even the cost of products sold in millions of dollars. This variety of metrics makes managing EBS licenses much more complex.

The problem with self-control
Unlike many other applications where administrators can easily see access, usage, and ultimately compliance, it’s incredibly complicated to fully understand EBS compliance. With EBS you can assign users as many responsibilities as you want in the system. Each responsibility is linked to a specific application, which in turn is linked to a licensed product. Combining all this to understand who is doing what in EBS is a complicated process that involves exporting and analyzing large amounts of data. Not to forget the old-fashioned experience with how EBS applications are linked to licensed products. In short, evaluating EBS compliance is a highly specialized process compared to many other applications and can be a daunting task for Oracle customers.

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