SAPPHIRE: SAP users want pricing transparency

SAP’s announcement of price rises for its enterprise support packages is unlikely to worry users at the vendor’s giant Sapphire event in Berlin this week.

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SAP’s announcement of price rises for its enterprise support packages is unlikely to worry users at the vendor’s giant Sapphire event in Berlin this week.

That was the prediction of Alan Bowling, chairman of the SAP UK user group, as delegates gathered for the event. Bowling said that the new packages offered significantly improved support.

“They only apply to new customers, though existing customers can trade up,” said Bowling. “The new products offer more formal SLAs than existing support packages – and that is obviously a cost to SAP.”

Despite his support for the new service packages, Bowling said his members still want clearer pricing on SAP software. “The principles behind how it (pricing) works need to be clearer,” he said, “not necessarily the actual numbers but principles.”

Bowling will join leaders of SAP user groups from round the world at Sapphire to discuss with the enterprise software giant how it can improve its products and services.

Perhaps inevitably the ERP upgrade strategy tops the agenda. SUGEN, the SAP User Group Executive Network, will compare the availability of different resources from SAP in different geographies. “We will be trying to pick out best practice from the many ways that things can be done with SAP, “ said Bowling.

Enterprise SOA will be a fundamental corner stone of ERP use in future, but both the vendor and the user groups are finding it challenging to get organisations to understand the best ways to adopt and deploy SOA technology.

“The user group can help organisations with practical examples,” Bowling said. “We are working with SAP to get more information on how to deploy and use SOA to the SAP’s customer base.”

The user groups will also focus on how they get into a position to influence SAP to produce the right products at the right time. “They generally do, but we can help, because we represent so many organisations,” said Bowling.

He complimented efforts by the vendor’s UK MD, Steve Rogers to get close to customer base, after Rogers frank admission to the user group conference last November that “A little complacency had crept in to the way we managed relationships with customers.”

Bowling said, “We have just had our first Customer Success Council, where we as user group sat down with SAP and reviewed the customer satisfaction scores and how they could be made better. It was a really positive move, SAP did a lot of listening.”

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