The head of the UK and Ireland SAP User Group has expressed some concern over the pricing for the German technology giant's latest flagship product, the "digital innovation system" called Leonardo.
Leonardo started life as an IoT platform, but has evolved into a system to allow customers to take advantage of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, advanced analytics and blockchain. The idea is for customers to come to SAP with a business problem so that the vendor can bring its expertise to design and prototype a solution, regardless of the technology required.
SAP has created three routes to accessing Leonardo capabilities through its Innovation Services arm. These range from a more self-service express edition — which promises an eight-week implementation of working code for "predefined business use cases" — right up to a fully bespoke enterprise edition.
Naturally this means that pricing for a product like Leonardo will be pretty bespoke as it comprises various cloud software components, bundled together with services like the design thinking process.
Speaking on the phone during SAP's Leonardo Live event in Frankfurt this week, the new UK and Ireland SAP User Group (UKISUG) chairman Paul Cooper says that members of the trade group will want to see actual customer use cases over the coming year, as they strive to see the value it could bring. "Seeing other people demonstrate it other than a consultant or an SAP person is the key for us," he told Computerworld UK.
The user group spends a lot of time engaging with SAP over licensing and pricing issues, and the long-running indirect licensing issue — which was ignited after UK customer Diageo was ordered to pay £54,503,578 in back-licensing fees — has been the priority over the past few years.
Now Cooper wants SAP to ensure it doesn't repeat this mistake with Leonardo, especially as the pricing guidelines are pretty vague at this early stage.
"We would caution SAP on its licensing approach in this area," Cooper said. "Hopefully Leonardo is not an area where it suddenly becomes very complex and difficult to understand and puts people off because of that commercial complexity."
Cooper admits that he hasn't looked into the way SAP prices Leonardo too closely, but advised that the company sticks to its promise to keep pricing simple, as "there is no point if customers cannot understand it".
Speaking at Leonardo Live, president of SAP Leonardo, Mala Anand said of the pricing that "customers will not have to assemble pieces and parts to solve a business problem. We will use included services that tailor predefined software elements for the specific customer implementation. Everything will come at a predefined price and our engagement is time-bound, so every customer has an accelerated time-to-value".
Anand has also said that the more packaged solutions will come at "a fixed price within a fixed time period". What this means for users, we all will have to wait to see.