SAP customers furious at price rise

British SAP users have reacted angrily to changes in the way the German software giant charges for support, arguing that costs could rise by as much as 29.4 per cent next year.

British SAP users have reacted angrily to changes in the way the German software giant charges for support, arguing that costs could rise by as much as 29.4 per cent next year.

The company announced last month that it was moving from what it called Standard Support to Enterprise Support, which it said would offer more benefits to customers in terms of better support. However, in a statement on Friday, the SAP User Group for the UK and Ireland said their customers were unhappy with the way the new support model was "forced upon them".

The user group noted that SAP's announcement indicated "pricing will increase from 17 per cent of contract value to 22 percent of contract value, immediately applicable to new customers and introduced in a phased way for existing customers". Because of the "mandatory nature of this change along with the increase in cost" this meant that the news had received "hugely negative feedback" from their members, the user group said.

"In real terms this is a 29.4 percent increase in costs over the next four years for existing SAP customers, and is proving to be a particularly difficult area to accept," the user group said.

Overall, the Enterprise Support product looked like good value, the group said, "for organisations needing the extra level of support that it offers". The problem, they said, was that for users who were well-established and had their own methods in place for handling support, and so did not need the level of support on offer from SAP, the extra cost was a burden.

"Many of our members may not want or need this extra level of support and therefore are reacting negatively to having a new support product and the associated increase in costs forced upon them," the group concluded.

The user group also noted that the rises were not distributed equally and the largest companies were exempt from the requirement to move to the new model.

"We'd like SAP to show real evidence of the value propositions for organisations that fit the majority of our membership profile, ie organisations that have been using SAP for some time and have developed a knowledge base and skillset with things such as SAP Customer Competency Centres," said Alan Bowling, chairman of the UK & Ireland SAP Users Group, in a statement to ZDNet.com.au sister site ZDNet.co.uk.

"SAP needs to reflect on the impact that this move is having on the customer base along with our suggestion to review the mandatory nature of the service provision along with the associated costs to be charged," he said.

The user group was now waiting to hear SAP's reply to its thoughts before deciding what to do next, a spokesperson for the user group said.

ZDNet.co.uk contacted SAP for comment but a spokesperson said they were unable to supply comment in the time available.

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