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Subscription program – From naysayer to yea-sayer

There were several questions regarding the subscription program during Ran Cliff’s session at the community day – mostly around availability in the UK – but also the most basic question: Is it useful or not.

I must admit that I was a nonbeliever when I first heard about the subscription program simply because I could not find any good use for it in my line of work.

The geek in me certainly liked the idea of having a delivery from SAP with tons of DVD’s that you can install in your own environment and play around but my checkbook said otherwise – it’s quite costly if you don’t really have a reason for it.

What has changed now for me to become a supporter of this program?

Well, I am still in the same line of work but I have discovered several areas where subscription program could have saved me some sleepless nights.

I am currently working on an HR portal implementation that is part of a global SAP HR implementation project. Each system in this environment is secured and has role specific access to certain areas e.g OS level access, application access (SAP VA)

I was charged to build a portal prototype and asked for a separate system to ensure that I am not impacting the development team using the available systems. Unfortunately there was no system available and making a system available took 3 to 4 weeks. In addition I would not get access to SAP VA as this is only available to the basis team.

This was a bit of a pain point as we were eager to start with the prototype but it was simply not possible – I also needed to contact basis team frequently to help me with SAP VA settings, which was a tedious process.

I believe that I could have used the subscription program to setup the prototype and thus getting it done quicker and with less headache on my part.

Is this worth the price tag or should I just get some advil for my headache?

Well, if this would be a one time thing then just get the advil, wait till you have a system and be nice to the basis team.

It got me thinking though if this was the first time I encountered it and found the following scenarios where I could have used the subscription program:

  • The SAP environment in my company is not on the latest release and with the help of the subscription program I am able to test our add-on products on the latest release.
  • I am using an external tool to keep track of DDIC/Workbench objects from previous projects but is really not a good way of doing it (especially with ABAP OO components) and with this I could keep all those components in my environment.
  • I had a customer project where I wanted to showcase integration of BI in the portal but was not able to do it because the access was restricted (and we don’t have BI in my company) – now I can run my own BI.
  • I have another client at the moment that is planning to do an upgrade to the latest release but waiting for budget approval, they can’t get a system setup without the budget and I am planning to use the subscription environment to show them how their custom developed components can be upgraded.

Right now those are the scenarios that I came across – would be interesting to hear how other subscription members are using it!

I have only ordered it at the moment but not installed it yet because I am in the UK but the box has already been delivered to my US address. Can’t wait to get it after the Sapphire/Asug conference.

I do hope that my laptop is able to run the systems that I need but I bought a new DELL XPS fully juiced and if it does not work on that machine that I will have a problem.

I understand that the trial versions can give me a lot of the stuff that I can get from the subscription program (except BI) but I really want to use it as a repository of past client projects and can’t do that with the trial versions.

I had an interesting discussion with Mike Pokraka at the community day as he really would like to get the ECC components (preferrebly with IDES) added to the program. I agree with him but it is not really an issue for me at the moment. I also would like to have the full SAP ECC HR system running on my laptop and being able to install/run ESS/MSS BP’s but I hope that I can use SAP ES Workplace ERP system for that – has anyone tried that already?

I have proposed a session on dual factor authentication with custom JAAS login modules for the upcoming TechEd/Asug event and if selected then I will show it on my subscription environment.  

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  • Thanks for taking the time to lay out these points. I was initially sceptical but as you say there are many scenarios where the subscription could save time and money.


  • When the dev subscription got launche at SAP Teched in November last year, I got quite excited, got my creditcard out of my wallet, yet almost immediately got dissapointed as it was only available to German and Amercian based invidividuals.

    We're now June and it still is not possible to purchase this subscription, even more there is no schedule announced when it would become available to other contries.  Making the competitive advantage of our German and American colleagues grow month by month. 

    So we remain at the grace of our customers and their projects to stay current with some of the new technological evolutions in the SAP arena, rather than given everyone the opportunity of keeping close pace with it.

    I keep being a yeahsayer, but am very, very dissapointed by the speed of execution in making this product available worldwide.

    • Just as Nick - I am a yeahsayer but being outside the US and Germany - it is simply not possible to get the subscription.

      Being a freelancer it is a distinct advantage to have access to the SAP software and I see it the same way as Nick that our colleagues in Germany/US are increasing their competitive advantage.

      Usually such subscription programs suffer some legal issues which many times prevent it from being distributed quickly - but with SAP already present all over the globe these issues must well known and should be easy to tackle ?

      Seems like the way to go here is to get a German middleman, such a shame.


    • It does not come with ECC but what I do is to connect it to my companies ECC and the ECC of my clients for proof of concept setups and demos. That works pretty well. I get requests from clients to show them how BI can be used for HR payroll reports or other HR related reports and then I can just connect my BI system to their backend.
      I would prefer an ECC system as part of the package but so far it did not stop me from what I needed to do.
      🙂 Harald