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MySAP ERP 2005 upgrades increasing, ASUG president says

SAP's pledge to hold off on major upgrades, expiring maintenance contracts and a host of other reasons have users upgrading to mySAP ERP, ASUG's president says.

Adoption of the latest version of mySAP ERP is gaining steam after a sluggish start. This momentum is rooted in many factors that have come together in recent months, according to Rod Masney, president of the Americas' SAP Users' Group (ASUG), in a recent interview.

For example, at TechEd 2006, Shai Agassi, SAP's products and technology group president, said the company would not have a major new version of mySAP ERP until 2010. Until that time, the company will periodically release updated features in bunches called enhancement packages.

"Prior to that announcement many customers were waiting for 'the next release' to adopt," Masney said. "With the clear market message that there's not going to be a 'next release' until 2010, we are seeing a large uptick in 2007 in the number of upgrades that customers are undertaking due to this predictability."

In addition, many customers who have not upgraded from older versions are coming off maintenance plans. SAP's "5-1-2" maintenance strategy -- five years of maintenance, one year of extended maintenance for an additional 2% and two years for an additional 4% above the annual maintenance fee -- means that users of older versions are now facing a choice, Masney explained.

"Certainly there is some incentive to take advantage of upgrading to a supported product, because many of the older products are no longer on maintenance," Masney said. "When the core of your business and IT platform is mySAP ERP, certainly that's a part of the incentive to upgrade."

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Additionally, organizations hoping to take advantage of new applications from SAP partners have a strong upgrade incentive, Masney said. Finally, some organizations are ready for the new enhancements.

"Incentives are nice, but most customers are looking at the business value -- what intrinsically comes along with that upgrade that can really help my business," Masney said.

While a wholesale system upgrade to a new version can be an intimidating task, Masney advises that customers can conduct their upgrades in components. As an example, if a company has an opportunity in planning, it can focus on upgrading the APO SEM environment. This piecemeal approach can often be a good solution.

"Upgrading the components at a time that makes sense for a customer lets them focus on the areas of pain or opportunity in their business," Masney said.

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