SAP refuses to budge on hikes in support costs

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SAP has admitted that its plans to force its customers on to new support contracts will result in many of them paying for services they do not need.

The software maker has angered many of its users by insisting on changes to its support contracts.

Earlier this month, SAP confirmed customers on its Standard Support contracts would be transitioned to Enterprise Support agreement, which provides a more comprehensive level of support.

The UK User Group chairman Alan Bowling argued the new offering was “a one size fits all strategy for support”, and that many users would not use the extensive support package they would be paying nearly 30 per cent more for.

But SAP has no intention to add more flexibility to the support offering, even if it means users paying for services they do not need.

Bill Wohl, SAP vice president of product technology group communications, acknowledged not all customers would benefit from the new offering. “Is it perfect for 100 per cent of our customers? No, but neither is our software. We will go ahead with the programme as planned.”

Wohl maintained that the majority of its user base would benefit from the changes.

“Our job is to be broad enough to help the majority of our customers,” he said. Most customers need a level of support that addresses expanding IT complexity and increased adoption of a service-oriented-architecture (SOA) strategy.

With Enterprise Support, which SAP calls “proactive risk reduction”, customers will be given guidance on how to improve business processes and how an SOA strategy can be successfully delivered.

Wohl added the remaining customers that did not need the next generation of support now would do in years to come. “Our job is to provide support offerings whether they [SAP customers] need it now or in the future,” he added.

But users remain unconvinced by these arguments. “The fact still remains that our members are unhappy about the mandatory nature of this change,” said SAP UK User Group chairman, Alan Bowling. @ 2010 Incisive Media

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