For more than 95 years, LORD has worked in collabora-tion with its customers to provide innovative oil andgas, aerospace, defense, automotive and industrial solutions. With world headquarters in Cary, N.C., LORD has approximately 3,100 employees in 26 countries and operates 19 manufacturing facilities and 10 R&D centers worldwide. In 2017, LORD embarked on a change management initiative align internal processes with emerging trends and standards. That year, Krishna Battula joined LORD to bring a fresh management approach to the company‘s SAP environment. As LORD’s Global ERP leader, he is now responsible for LORD’s global SAP strategy including ancillary systems in the U.S. and Mexico.
Interview between VOQUZ Labs and Krishna Battula, Global ERP Leader at LORD.
VOQUZ Labs: Krishna, what was LORD’s goal for the introduction of a SAP license management tool?
Krishna Battula: At LORD, SAP ECC was first implemen-ted in 2002. As you can imagine, several different ERP and procurement leaders have come and gone since then, and each bought numerous licenses and products for different areas, e.g. HR modules, Limited Professional Licenses, B2B licenses, etc.
After more than a decade of this, we ended up with a pile of shelf ware, and nobody had a clear picture on which licenses we were actually using to run our business. When I joined LORD, it wasn’t clear which licenses we owned, what the contractual definitions were, and whe-ther we were in compliance with these definitions.
One big task at that time was to answer these questions. This was no easy feat, since so much inventory had been purchased over the years. I was struggling to maintain order using multiple Excel worksheets.My assignment was to clean up our licensing model, optimize our license usage, and assign the right license type to each of our different SAP users. I started looking for a solution that would fit my requirements. We initially brought up the topic with our basis partner. I learned about their partnership with VOQUZ Labs, and they recommended the trial of the samQ License Optimizer to solve our licensing challenge. I previously wasn’t aware of any companies that specialize in the area of SAP Licen-sing that combine tooling and advisory services, so fin-ding VOQUZ Labs was eye-opening. I realized their samQ solution offered exactly what I was searching for.
VOQUZ Labs: Why samQ?
Krishna Battula: We really needed a tool that could help us understand our SAP landscape from a specific licensing point of view. We were looking for a long-term solution to help us reorganize our licenses and keep them clean on an ongoing basis.After I was introduced to the features of samQ I did my own research and searched for comparable tools, but had trouble finding any. Even though other tools exist as part of other vendor SAM suites, I wasn’t looking for a bulky suite of applications. I just needed a best of breed appli-cation for my SAP licensing needs – therefore, samQ was the perfect fit for us.
VOQUZ Labs: What was your experience with the initial samQ License Position Quick Assessment (POC)?
Krishna Battula: VOQUZ Labs ran a samQ session at an annual technology event. LORD Chief Information Officer, Michael Lubak and I attended the session and we were offered to run samQ within our landscape to see analysis output in real-time, and build a business case for our cost optimization potential. Once we saw the potential impact of the POC results, Michael and I decided to implement samQ.
VOQUZ Labs: We are happy that we could convince you! Now that you have the tool, which functions of samQ do you use?
Krishna Battula: samQ is connected to our production and development environments – it is managing our entire SAP landscape. We use samQ mainly for under-standing our licenses and license definitions, and we use the autopilot functionality to classify our users to types for cost efficiency and compliance.Last year before submitting our LAW audit results, samQ played a huge role in the preparation process. We hooked up all the systems and went through the exercise of cleaning up artifacts. Using samQ we resolved multiple long-standing compliance items which were then accep-ted by SAP’s auditors. samQ and the VOQUZ Labs team helped us through the entire audit process.
VOQUZ Labs: During the implementation we coached you through your SAP negotiations. What role did our license advisory play for you?
Krishna Battula: If we had just bought any tool and used it, we would not have had the same benefit. I could always reach out to the advisory team and knew that they would respond quickly. We could count on their help inside and outside of what we signed up for. From an advisory point of view, VOQUZ Labs guided me on how to approach SAP, which questions to ask, and what to avoid. License ne-gotiations with SAP aren’t my specialized area, so it was incredibly helpful to have experts on my side.In the end we were able to modify our existing use rights to bring them in line with fair market terms that allowed us to repurpose shelf ware for new productive uses without making any new purchases. Without VOQUZ Labs’s insights into our contracts we wouldn’t have been able to identify our individual risks and opportunities.
VOQUZ Labs: One unique challenge that you guys had was that you went to SAP knowing you had to renegoti-ate certain problematic terms.
Krishna Battula: That’s true. We went into discussions with SAP knowing that we had to renegotiate two particu-lar licensing topics.