According to a new survey by the UK and Ireland SAP User Group, two-thirds of the 204 respondents said they’re now using ECC 6.0, up from 35% in 2009, according to Alan Bowling, the group’s chairman. About 22% of those polled are still sticking with the older R3 4.7 platform.
So what’s the reason for the jump?
For one, the user group and its members that upgraded have worked to convince hesitant users of 6.0′s benefits. Additionally, upgrading is no longer the “tortuous path” it has been in the past due to SAP’s efforts to simplify the process, Bowling said.
In the past, upgrading meant a day or so in downtime. Now, it’s more like a few hours, he said.
The same poll found only 7% of SAP shops are using BusinessObjects. “We’re kind of scratching our heads a bit about that one,” Bowling said.
It’s not a total surprise, however, given that it’s only been a few years since SAP acquired BusinessObjects and many companies invested time and money in SAP BI, and may be slow to change direction. The buzz over SAP’s in-memory technology and its HANA appliance, which work in conjunction with BusinessObjects, may spur higher adoption rates, he said.
The survey found that 67% of respondents are on Enterprise Support, almost the same number of those that are on ECC 6.0. It seems safe to assume those are largely the same companies in both groups, though it’s not totally clear. Still, Bowling wondered if that number might drop as Enterprise Support gets more expensive in the future, beginning with an increase in January.
Where does your company fall compared with these responses? Have you moved to ECC 6.0, or are you perfectly set with an earlier release? Are you on Enterprise Support, at least for the time being, or sticking with Standard Support?]]>
I was interested to hear what DSAG thought about SAP’s strategy.
DSAG has made its share of headlines for its criticism of SAP over the Enterprise Support affair. With that issue muted (thanks to SAP’s introduction of a tiered maintenance and support model), I was curious what DSAG considered to be the most important initiatives for the upcoming year.
Right now, he said, they’re focused on working with SAP on future software developments.
My mind readied to type the phrase I hear over and over again — on-demand, on-premise, on-device.
But Oczko instead pointed to something termed “continuous improvements.” This is SAP’s plan to pinpoint where some of the pain points are for customers and deliver a fast solution that doesn’t involve an upgrade, applying a support pack or enhancement package. For example, say there’s a simple problem where every time a button is pressed, a screen appears that doesn’t fit your needs. You have to build a workaround. This is a problem that is probably relevant for many customers, and doesn’t necessarily need to be fixed with a support pack or an upgrade or an enhancement package. It could be delivered in an OSS note that details the code you need to fix it.
Simple. It brings a great development into your landscape — it solves a current problem, he said. These types of problems will be relayed to SAP through the user groups.
What about on-demand, on-premise, on-device? I thought.
SAP’s user base is focused on solving short-term, quick win problems, Oczko said. Sure, the user base is interested in the efforts to develop mobile and on-demand applications, but the actual adoption of those is probably at least a couple of years out, Oczko said.
It was interesting to hear that in juxtaposition with the SAP-related headline in the Wall Street Journal this week — “SAP’s Business ByDesign software struggles to get off the ground.” The subhead was — “Giant’s effort to sell software as an online service has been slow to catch on.”
Considering Business ByDesign was just released to the general market in July, “slow to catch on,” isn’t really fair. But what I think the Wall Street Journal is trying to point out is that exactly who’s going to buy Business ByDesign hasn’t really crystallized yet. I myself have heard lots of different user scenarios, from the targeted, standalone small to medium-sized customers, deployments at subsidiaries and even companies replacing an older SAP ERP system with it.
Comments like those from DSAG’s board member enlighten us as to some of the reasons why efforts like Business ByDesign may continue to be slow to catch on. Many users are focused on solving some practical issues right now with the technologies they have in place, and it may be a while before they look to newer technologies for help.]]>
Oracle also filed more allegations in the case – filing a fourth amended complaint that attempts to make Siebel and Oracle’s database technology part of the lawsuit.
Oracle now alleges that SAP extended TomorrowNow’s illegal business model to Siebel just days after Oracle completed the acquisition. It also says that TomorrowNow’s environments ran on copies of Oracle database software that weren’t licensed for commercial or production use, according to court documents. SAP refused to purchase Oracle database licenses for TomorrowNow’s use, “even though as an authorized Oracle database reseller, they knew full well the permissible uses of database copies,” the document states.
Oracle certainly hasn’t been shy about piling on the charges in this lawsuit – amending its original complaint four times over the past two years. One now has to wonder what this means for Rimini Street, and whether it will now be dragged into this lawsuit.
Often referred to as the cash cow of the enterprise software world, maintenance is a perennial hot-button issue, but very much so in the past year. SAP’s attempt to raise its maintenance and support fees was met with criticism, and similar discontent is brewing over Oracle maintenance and support fees in the Oracle customer base.
While SAP has made strides with its new Enterprise Support KPI program (though we haven’t seen many details), many companies are still interested in third-party support. Ray Wang told me a few months back that of the more than 900 clients he had talked to about the issue, between 60% and 70% were interested in exploring the option.
It’s just that there aren’t a lot of options for them to explore.
Rimini Street is the big game in town when it comes to third-party support. It just announced a global expansion of its tax and regulatory updates for more than 100 countries. In May, it announced the rollout of third-party support services for SAP R/3 releases, ECC 5.0, ECC 6.0 and BW.
Oracle maintains in its motion regarding Rimini Street that it’s perfectly legal to provide third-party support. But does merely calling into question the legality of the business practices of the biggest game in town suggest that third-party support is in for more of a battle?
Will Oracle’s latest move discourage the market for this type of service?]]>
That’s how SAP’s Bill Wohl, who wanted to chat about SAP’s new Enterprise Support agreement, opened up a conversation with me Wednesday. He was referring to Oracle’s decision to give its users on older releases a couple more years at the rates on their current contracts – 22% of net licensing fees
My ears perked up. Nothing like a little SAP vs. Oracle baiting– the Red Sox vs.Yankees of the enterprise software world — to brighten a dreary Wednesday afternoon.
SAP, of course, is riding a wave of good will churned up by its recent decision to delay implementing an SAP maintenance fee increase until it proved it was worth the money. It’ll do this by tracking certain KPIs on a group of 100 customers.
“We have really worked exceptionally hard through some very painful moments in collaboration with our user groups to figure out a formula and I think we’ve found one now,” Wohl said. “That’s pretty much game changing.”
“The best [Oracle president] Chuck Phillips can do for his customers is say ‘I’m going to delay raising your price for a year or two’ on a bunch of legacy applications that we’ve not innovated in three to four years?,” Wohl said. “And so I’m left asking the question, do they really get it over there?”
OK Oracle you’re up. And SAP’s just thrown strike one.
But before we play any further, let’s remember that SAP sort of threw a ball on this issue to begin with. SAP introduced Enterprise Support back in July, and launched it in January. It didn’t have this formula attached to it then — that was something negotiated by user groups.
“I admit it, we went to the woodshed and back and for some user groups this was really a serious issue,” Wohl said. ”But I still maintain through it all the issue was really a function of, how do we describe the value proposition for our members? Price became a lightning road, but it wasn’t the biggest issue. The biggest issue was —show us the value.”
Fair enough, but what about those like Salesforce.com’s Mark Benioff — who say these software maintenance fees aren’t even worth it in the first place — you know, his recent calls for “the end of maintenance?”
“Mark would like the world to believe that because it’s a good sound bite that there is no cost of maintenance in on-demand software and that’s just not true and he knows that,” Wohl said, adding that it’s “baked in” to the per seat cost.
Moreover, Benioff is also “trying to play in a big-boy’s game without a solution that gives him legitimacy to play. He’s not offering a solution comparable to SAP, or to Oracle for that matter, by any stretch of the imagination. He just wants to play in the game.”
So who’s really ahead in the count on when it comes to maintenance fees? Does SAP now have the upper hand on Oracle? Or do vendors like Salesforce.com, who, like the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East, still threaten to be a contender?]]>
But claims that the vendor was doing so put maintenance and support back on the radar yesterday, sparked by a post on Twitter that generated quick buzz around the blogosphere.
Back in December, we heard that German and Austrian customers were getting another year of maintenance at the rates on their current contracts. SAP said it was because of a legal loophole in those countries, and it wouldn’t apply to anyone else.
And months later — it hasn’t. Enterprise Support is being rolled out and bills are increasing.Oracle customers are starting to buzz for relief from maintenance fees as well, according to this blog from by colleague Shayna Garlick.
It’s a reminder that SAP customers have few options when it comes to third-party maintenance as it is. Rimini Street is launching support for SAP R/3 customers sometime this winter.
Forrester Research proposed a solution to this in October, when it published its report on the SAP maintenance fee hike, it said it has “started to see SAP become more aggressive about discounting when competing against Oracle — a practice SAP has not historically embraced. At face value, this may seem like good news for new customers. But it also may spell trouble as parity between these two giants grows – along with the distance between them and smaller apps vendors.”
“To keep the market competitive, government regulators may ultimately have to force a third-party maintenance option via antitrust legislation,” the report reads.
While many people say software needs to stay on an upgrade track because of its very nature and purpose, the economy may be forcing more and more people to look for a choice.
Have you faced pressure from SAP to avoid third party maintenance? Do you think your options are limited? Or would you just as soon stay on vendor-provided support and maintenance?]]>