I spoke with Rimini Street CEO Seth Ravin yesterday for an update on their third-party support offering for SAP R/3 customers.
Rimini Street will begin rolling out the service to a pilot number of SAP R/3 customers – between six and 12, Ravin estimated – in January of 2009. And the service will be generally available by the second quarter, or late March to early April, of 2009 at the latest.
But Ravin said yesterday that while the rollout of the ambitious SAP support program is still on schedule, the majority of R/3 customers, many of whose SAP support contracts run out in January and are clamoring for support now, will have to be patient.
Rimini Street wants to test out service on a few SAP customers, in order to figure out what is really needed, Ravin said.
“You’ll see a very modest move into SAP for 2009,” on Rimini Street’s part, he said. “What we’ve seen is a much more rapid acceptance of the concept and the idea. A lot of those customers would love to be in contracts already, but the service just isn’t going to be ready by then.”
Ravin wouldn’t say how many customers he eventually aims, or could, sign on for the offering, only that he’s been inundated with calls. And those customers are looking for value, he said -value they’re not seeing in Enterprise Support, SAP’s new, enhanced offering which will cost customers 22% of net licensing fees, up from 17%. Rimini Street promises support at half the cost of SAP.
“They felt like this has really been a dance,” Ravin said. “It’s not value that a lot of customers want.”
Ravin’s remarks underscore a claim made by many bloggers and analysts recently that SAP still needs to prove to its customers where the value is in Enterprise Support, particularly for small and mid-sized customers.
SAP, for its part, has been trying to make its case. Here in the United States, SAP’s been doing a webcast series through ASUG and hosted a forum on the topic at ASUG’s recent conference in Nashville. Another forum on the topic is planned for ASUG’s conference in Dallas in October.
“SAP customer dissatisfaction with the maintenance fee increase is a bigger story, because it threatens to pose a setback to the impressive strides SAP has made with its customer base in recent years,” Reed wrote.