SAP offers two SAP maintenance and support options, scraps KPI program

After two years of trying to push through a single SAP maintenance and support structure, the company is again offering customers two choices -- SAP Standard Support at 18% and SAP Enterprise Support at 22% of license fees.

SAP customers can once again opt for a cheaper maintenance and support offering, as the vendor announced today that it will reinstate a Standard Support offering alongside Enterprise Support.

SAP Standard Support will cost 18% of net licensing fees, as compared with the enhanced but costlier Enterprise Support offering at 22%. SAP announced in 2008 that all customers would have to move to SAP Enterprise Support.

The tiered offering also extends to existing as well as new customers. Previously, customers who purchased software after early 2008 would automatically be charged the higher SAP maintenance and support fees. Such customers can move to Standard Support when their current maintenance and support contracts end.

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SAP also said that -- because it is offering customers a choice -- it would end its much-touted KPI program, which tied SAP maintenance and support price increases to benchmarks achieved by a group of customers. Cost increases for Standard Support will instead be tied to inflation, while price hikes for Enterprise Support will proceed on a pre-determined staggered schedule, eventually ending up at 22% by 2016.

"We believe that in providing choice, we will make our overall product offering even more competitive," SAP CEO Leo Apotheker said during a conference call with reporters.

That said, there will be no cost increase for Enterprise Support customers this year. Contracts there will remain at 18.3% of net licensing fees.

"We also understand that some of our customers are facing difficult market conditions … and SAP has a long-standing tradition of being close to its customers," Apotheker said.

This marks the end of a two-year struggle on SAP's part to introduce a single, costlier maintenance and support offering. SAP Enterprise Support met continual resistance from customers, who never stopped pressing SAP to prove that it was worth the money.

Still, Apotheker said he was confident that most customers would continue to choose the Enterprise Support offering, though he wouldn't share numbers on how many customers are currently using it. Standard Support will provide customers with updates, problem resolution, knowledge transfer and quality management, while Enterprise Support offers enhanced services such as 24/7 support, as well as a one-hour initial reaction time for the highest-priority support issues.

Nevertheless, the new Standard Support offering still marks an increase over SAP's Basic Support offering, which cost 17% of net licensing fees. SAP said it was ending that program in 2008.

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