There has been something of a slow burn recently on a couple good blogs about SAP SRM 6.0. The word around is that the product, also referred to as SRM 2007, won’t be released beyond those customers currently in the ramp-up phase. Obviously, this isn’t great news for SAP, but how bad is it?
To clear some things up, we talked to Andrew Bartels, an SRM (supplier relationship management) analyst with Forrester Research.
SAP says between 10 and 50 companies are in the ramp-up phase for SAP SRM 6.0 (Bartels puts that number closer to 10 or 20). Bartels said these companies will be able to continue implementing the product, but SAP will not be taking any new customers. Rather, the idea is that SAP will focus on getting SRM, SCM (supply chain management) and all its “alphabet soup” products on SOA (service-oriented architecture) by the fourth quarter of 2008.
So, is this a disaster for SAP? Not according to Bartels.
On the plus side, the SRM 2007 product itself doesn’t have a lot of new features and functionality, according to Bartels. Rather, most of the improvements were in usability, and SAP may have some service packs in the offing to help in that area.
SAP will also continue developing the areas that have needed the most attention — spend analysis, CLM (contract lifecycle management) and e-sourcing — all of which will be available for sale separately.
However, with the next SRM product now likely debuting in the fourth quarter of 2008, that puts a large two and a half year gap between major SAP SRM releases. Also, some customers were counting on the usability improvements and will be disappointed. But we shouldn’t expect a mass customer exodus for SAP, Bartels said.
The bottom line?
“This is not good for SAP,” Bartels said. “But it is not, by any means, too bad for them — they still have competitive products out there.”