SAP Watch

Oct 24 2008   10:09AM GMT

SAP and Oracle vs. third-party support?

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

Forrester Research’s recent SAP support fee report has made quite a splash over these last couple of weeks – with its challenge to customers to push for more value from Enterprise Support.

But it also raised something that’s getting little press – a suggestion that bolder measures might need to be taken to contain maintenance and support costs in the long-run.

Third-party support provider TomorrowNow’s operation officially comes to a close at the end of next week, and the court is starting to push Oracle and SAP toward a settlement in the TomorrowNow case.

It’s all a stark reminder to customers that their options are limited when it comes to maintenance and support. Oracle customers have a few alternatives, but the vendor has a cigarette-like warning label on its website cautioning its customers about using them. And while Rimini Street is getting ready to deliver third-party support to SAP R/3 customers in January, the options for SAP customers are limited.

Plus, Forrester says 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.

Some argue that enterprise software, because of its very nature and purpose, needs to stay on an upgrade track.

But it seems more and more customers want a choice. In contrast to the picture the economy is painting for much of the rest of IT, Rimini Street announced this week it had a record quarter. And netCustomer CEO Punita Pandey said in an interview earlier this summer that they were exploring providing support for SAP customers.

Is Forrester’s suggestion the way to ensure customers have a choice?

Courtney Bjorlin, News Editor

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