SAP: High software support costs and a lack of innovation

With many organisations squeezing their IT budgets, it is worth examining the validity of one of the main reasons SAP customers stay with SAP Support. The key benefit often quoted is SAP innovation; customers get access to software upgrades that provide new functionality.

When SAP released version ECC6 of its ERP software in 2006, it introduced the concept of enhancement packages. These could be installed to activate software innovations that would provide new functionality.

SAP described enhancement packages as “delivering continuous innovation around a stable core.” For the first few years of ECC6, the delivery of enhancement packages was reasonably continuous.

The end of the road for SAP innovation

However, the latest enhancement package – EHP8 – was released over four years ago. It’s now looking like it will be the last one released for ECC6, with no mention of an EHP9 from SAP.

This lack of any future innovation for ECC6 is hardly surprising given SAP’s current focus on the Cloud. Just search for ‘SAP innovation’ on Google. You’ll discover lots of information on HANA and virtually nothing on ECC6.

In fact, one of the best ‘new features’ EHP8 brings quoted in SAP’s guide on the upgrade is “a foundation for ERP customers to transition to S/4HANA.”

SAP is spending the money it makes on your (limited) software support to fund innovation in software you don’t even use.

Is “access to software upgrades that provide new functionality” your main reason for remaining with SAP? It’s worth asking yourself if SAP are “delivering continuous innovation” to you and your organisation. Most importantly, it’s worth asking yourself what it is you’re paying SAP’s increasingly high support costs for.

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