SAP Watch

Aug 20 2008   2:25PM GMT

Enterprise Support reveals a continental divide among SAP user groups

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

When a warranty runs out on a car, you don’t typically opt for a more expensive warranty, or even extend it. You undergo the obligatory maintenance and when the car starts running really badly and breaks down, you put a lot of thought, and money, into outright replacing it. You then purchase a new warranty to cover maintenance on the new car.

SAP users attending a webinar Tuesday seem to be equating  SAP’s new, more expensive Enterprise Support with paying for a warranty on a 2009 model when you’re driving a 1999.

During Tuesday’s webcast, the first of a four-part series, two SAP executives gave an overview of the Enterprise Support features, and promised that using the tools and strategies would help a customer lower their total cost of ownership.

ASUG’s response to SAP’s new maintenance plan is remarkably different from the rally cry heard from other against this new support model. While ASUG is inviting members onto calls to convince them of the value of Enterprise Support, other user groups, specifically in the Ireland and the UK, are encouraging customers to tell SAP to reconsider this mandate. SAP customers paying 17% of net licensing fees for maintenance and support will move to a 22% structure over the next four years.

There’s little doubt Enterprise Support is an enhanced offering. Analysts have said it could in fact lower the total cost of ownership for larger customers. SAP said repeatedly that using the tools correctly, specifically the enhanced version of solution manager, would lead to quicker response time when problems arose and therefore, smoother operation.

But, as Forrester Research analyst Ray Wang often brings up, most customers aren’t using their current maintenance and support that often. One caller posed that quandary particularly well.

“We’re a smaller business with little technological complexity, how will this benefit us?,” the participant  asked.

Which leads to a very good question asked via a live chat room during the call, but not answered, “What release do I have to be on to get the most value from Enterprise Support?”

The head of the rebelling UK and Ireland user group told ZDNet’s Dennis Howlett, that there is more value in Enterprise Support for companies running the latest version of SAP. During yesterday’s call, SAP stressed its enhancement package strategy –downloadable upgrades and new functionality for customers on the NetWeaver platform — as part of the value in Enterprise Support.

Do you think Enterprise Support is another push toward an upgrade? Is its advent another thing pushing your company toward one?

Courtney Bjorlin, News Editor

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