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SAP Raises Support Fees

SAP will move all its customers to a more comprehensive and expensive support offering, SAP Enterprise Support, that was first rolled out to new customers in May. Existing customers will stick with their current fee rates until January 1.

Customers currently pay 17 percent of their license fees for support. Over the next four years, this will be raised by eight percent a year, to total 22 percent of the license fees by 2012, Mark Cordrey, vice president, SAP Active Global Support, told InternetNews.com.

That percent is the same as what SAP archrival Oracle charges. New customers who signed up for SAP Enterprise Support from May were billed 22 percent of their license fees for support.

According to Cordrey, customers will get more bang for their buck with SAP Enterprise Support. "They'll get Run SAP, a methodology which will help them operate the system, and there are tools and services which they didn't have access to in the past, such as an enhancement to Solution Manager, to help them with lifecycle and change control management," he said. SAP Solution Manager covers all key aspects of solution deployment, operation and continued improvements.

These tools can manage components, which are "anything running on the SAP business process platform," whether they are third-party applications, home grown applications, Java applications, SAP applications," Cordrey said. They are designed to ensure that business processes will continue to work when customers make any changes that impact any of these components, and help customers with Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.

SAP Enterprise Support includes root cause analysis and diagnostic tools for both SAP and non-SAP applications, and provides a service level agreement (SLA) around mission-critical support, Cordrey said. It addresses continuous innovation and investment protection, and focuses heavily on service-oriented architecture (SOA).

Taking the broader view

The support package has three components. Mission-Critical Support, Global Support Backbone, and Solution Manager. SAP is moving customers to the new plan because "end to end solutions now encompass many other pieces, and our commitment to customers is to enable business processes, so we have to take a broader view on what comprises customers' solutions," Cordrey said.

That broader view will likely make some customers happy; but even the largest enterprises may wince at having to pay so much for support fees. That's where Acresso, a vendor known for its FLEXnet Publisher flexible licensing and FLEXnet Operations software license management products, comes in.

Acresso has just added SAP license management to its portfolio. Its License Manager for SAP Business Suite, which uses SAP services specialist Honico Group's AccountMan Dynamic License Control product, lets enterprises centrally monitor and analyze their SAP license usage to hold down costs.

"There are various types of SAP licenses, ranging from developer licenses, which are the most expensive, to employee self-service licenses," Jeff Greenwald, Acresso's senior director of product management, told InternetNews.com. "You want to make sure people have the appropriate licenses."

Acresso's product will analyze the various SAP instances in the enterprise, record usage types and actual usage of the SAP licenses, and provide logs that help an enterprise determine if licenses are being under-utilized. Honico has saved SAP users an average of 30 percent on their license fees, Greenwald claimed.

The software can identify and reuse idle and duplicate licenses; reclassify license types based on the user's behavior to lower-cost categories; and automate the collection of SAP license usage from multiple implementations, among other things. "We help the enterprise optimize the investments it's made in SAP," Greenwald said.