back to article We surrender: SAP yields to customers, extends support for Business Suite 7 to 2027

SAP has blinked first in the face-off with customers by agreeing to extend standard support for Business Suite 7 (BS7) applications, and outlined its "maintenance commitment" for S/4HANA for the next couple of decades. Back in December, Paul Cooper, chairman of the UK and Ireland SAP User Group, told us that according to …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Flame

    "they need to have a clear business case"

    Given that any SAP migration includes costs in the millions, if not tens of millions, I would effing hope that there is a "clear business case".

    Funny, the more MBAs there are in existence, the less I feel that high-level, large-expenditure decisions are taken on anything based in reality.

    1. Blackjack

      Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

      One would think that since is the same company making all the versions, they would offer their customers an easy way to move the data around.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

        If the migration has any significant costs beyond licensing and user training, then there is no business case whatsoever.

        If SAP don't guarantee the data migration SAP to SAP, backed by indemnity against their failure, then the risk to the business is untenable.

        The only sane approach for a business is to take the opportunity to examine all the ERP systems on the market. If the costs and risks are high no matter what you do, then it's time to switch supplier.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

          SAP migration can be a pain if you've customised it a lot and not followed SAP "good practices". On the other hand I saw a SAP migration to the new version achieved in under a year with relatively little difficulty. It was aligned with a hardware refresh so the costs were fairly low too.

          Clearly things don't always go so well.... but you can say that of almost any upgrade project.

          1. Warm Braw Silver badge

            Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

            I saw a SAP migration to the new version achieved in under a year

            If that's the best that can be achieved then (a) I can understand the reluctance and (b) I'm amazed at how readily expectations can be lowered without it apparently being questioned.

            Do any of these ERP systems actually bring business advantages that compensate for the high cost of installation, configuration and maintenance? The ones I have encountered were usually being fed garbage in by end users who, on penalty of sacking, were obliged to upload data into the system but could only upload data the system would accept, which would often be cost codes, contract numbers and so forth that were months or years out of date - and there was such a firewall between the users and the expensive consultants who did the actual configuration that there was no prospect of the system ever reflecting reality.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

              "Do any of these ERP systems actually bring business advantages that compensate for the high cost of installation, configuration and maintenance?"

              Yes - assuming the migration to ERP is done well and the HR side of automating significant parts of business processes is handled well, there is scope for cost savings.

              The challenge is how well your current business processes map to the chosen ERP solution and whether your requirements are stable/increasing/decreasing. The systems I have been involved with (as an on-looker, not directly involved) have allowed significant increases in volumes with minimal increases in staffing and associated costs such as office space which allowed companies to grow - if ERP had not been used, I doubt the growth would have occurred at such a high rate because they were eventually limited by office space etc but it was on the sales side rather than back office/support staff side.

              Conversely, I have seen terrible business processes carried over to a new ERP system at a Council. The effort required to get the ERP system to conform to existing business processes was significant and within 2-3 years customers forced the council to drop the business processes (in-person payments) as they preferred alternative payment methods (bank transfer/telephone/web) and the majority of the staff were made redundant.

              Most ERP systems fit somewhere in the middle of those two points - they add the ability to improve business processes IF a company is willing to change BUT most companies are unwilling to change large chunks of their business processes, do many of the processes to address something that is no longer an issue (i.e. fraud or other accuracy issues in paper-based systems or processes that require re-entering data multiple times) and hate the systems with a passion...

              1. AMBxx Silver badge

                Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

                Can't help but wonder if separate discrete systems would be better. Just have well defined integration points. That way you can just upgrade part of the system rather than having something that affects every part of your entire business.

                1. fargozzi

                  Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

                  I'm afraid interfacing projects would take ages to be completed. This would only might work in greenfield scenario, when you don't need to retrain users to use these new tools.

                  But S/4HANA greenfield implementation is also super easy now. My company's record time for implementing is 30MD for FI, SD, MM and PP (each) per country - excluding time on minor additional developments in outputs an reports which took totally 10 MD.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

          As a person who was doing S/HANa transformation projects since 2016 I could say that I've just recently finished migration project to S/4HANA for one of my clients and tools which SAP provides now, are much-much-much more convenient compared to once they were pushing in 2016.

          Funny enough is that in 2016 all major consulting companies seeing how awful SAP tools are, started to develop their own "migration strategies"investing tons on money in it- but SP did it's homework and their standard tools seems to be now much more effecting as well as their Activate methodology is quite has nice "accelerators".

          But big consulting companies would have to cash out cost of development of their "methodologies" and "tools", so be ready for the huge bills with less outcome and blames on SAP.

          This is the interesting moment, when hiring mid size or even small consultancy using pure SAP methodology would get you cheaper, faster and what's funny: more reliable implementation.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Megaphone

        Re: "they need to have a clear business case"

        It isn’t the data that’s the problem, it’s all the custom scripts and stuff you need to make it work for your business workflows.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's next?

    Given that they've now extended support until 2027, but will only support S/4HANA until 2040, can we assume that something else will be along in the next 5 years or so? If so, why bother with S/4HANA at all, just wait for S/5 or whatever's next.

    We're a SAP BI reseller. Recently lost a customer who point blank refused to sign the latest shitty licence agreement. Personally, I wouldn't touch them with a bargepole.

    1. RichardBarrell

      Re: What's next?

      This is what's confusing me. Why are they talking about 2027 and 2040 as end of support dates? ERP system integrations break entire enterprises when they go wrong, so obviously nobody wants to touch it once it's working well enough. Why aren't SAP talking about perpetual support for all their products, or at least support dates through the next couple centuries?

      Personally, if I owned a SaaS business which had a profitable install base of totally locked-in customers paying subscriptions, I'd be pleased as punch to let them continue handing over money to me for whatever they're running now forever. Scale back development on the obsolete version(s) to security fixes, legally required updates, y2038 fixes and operating system compatibility only.

      As I understand it, this worked great for Basecamp - they wrote their core product from scratch several times without ever making existing customers update. They still have lots of customers on obsolete versions which have maintenance programmers but get no feature updates. (Of course the customers who've built custom processes around old versions don't really even want any new features that might break their stuff anyway.)

      1. Rob 54

        Re: What's next?

        BS7 is really a product called ECC 6.0 which has a multitude of different component versions

        S/4 is similar that it can be at different component versions

        2040 is their current planned end of MAINSTREAM maintenance but I would predict that will be extended at a later time, perhaps for customers on component version XYZ

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