Vendor traps: SAP’s enhancements (or lack thereof)

One of the major perks of staying in support for a business software solution with the vendor is that you get the benefit of any new features, such as SAP’s enhancement packs.

And while many of those enhancements may not directly benefit every customer, there’s always the hope that a new release will have tangible benefits for your business.

But here’s a question: is it really worth paying a fortune to stay in official support for your ERP solution just to get those enhancements? And how often do they get released anyway?

In this series of blog posts, we’re taking a look at some of the most common traps Oracle and SAP set. We’re also explaining what (if anything) customers can do about them.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at SAP’s release schedule for enhancement packs. It’s apparently a major benefit of remaining in its official support program. It has left us wondering – where are they?

Enhancements are coming (eventually)

One of the main reasons why customers choose to pay SAP’s 22% support fees each year is to ensure they receive the latest software versions and functionality updates. In their official support documentation, SAP makes the following claim:

“During mainstream maintenance for an SAP core application release, SAP’s current practice is to provide one enhancement package or other update per calendar year.”

Source: SAP Standard Support Schedule

If the above claim was accurate, SAP Business Suite 7 core applications (released 2006) should have had 12 or 13 enhancement packs per application by 2019. In reality, just eight enhancement packs have been released for ERP, the most recent being in January 2016.

Comparatively, as of June 2019, only four enhancement packs are available for SAP’s CRM, SCM, and SRM applications respectively.

SAP’s enhancement trap

But here’s the thing: legally speaking, SAP isn’t doing anything wrong. It has never contractually committed to a specific release schedule for enhancement packs.

What happens to the customers who upgraded in order to receive those enhancement packs? Well, it seems like they’re out of luck.

What can you do about it?

While frustrating, there’s not much SAP customers can do about the lack of enhancement packs. There is no contractual commitment for SAP to release updates according to a specific schedule. No doubt it will continue to do so only when it sees fit.

One thing customers can conclude, though, is that acquiring software updates shouldn’t be a major factor in deciding whether to continue paying for SAP’s official support.

Don’t stand for vendor traps

If you’ve had enough of the tricks Oracle and SAP use to keep you paying over the odds for poor quality support, we can help. Recently, we published a report on their most commonly used traps and what customers can do to protect themselves.

In the report, we cover:

  • How Oracle’s sales representatives use confusion tactics – like misrepresenting their matching service levels policy – to keep customers locked into expensive and largely unneeded service contracts year-after-year.
  • How SAP invented a completely new licensing problem that left a major drinks retailer liable for over £54 million in backdated licence fees, even though they were fully licensed.
  • What customers can do to protect their interests against the barrage of tricks employed by Oracle and SAP. This includes how to save at least 50% on annual support contracts while receiving a higher level of service.

And much more.


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