SAP Watch

Feb 5 2009   10:09PM GMT

SAP: We’re not restricting customers from seeking third-party support

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

SAP is not putting clauses into contracts that restrict customers from seeking third-party maintenance despite claims to the contrary, an SAP spokesman said today.

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?

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  • Damean
    I have read of verifiable stories of Oracle DB customers that opts for 3rd party support. Again, the "claw back" clause does NOT exist in the Oracle contract. But when the 3rd party vendor could NOT provide a critical patch; the client end up coughing up all the maintenance fees for the last few years; plus a few hundred K extras for consulting. Anybody heard of such story on the SAP side?
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