back to article You're SAP-ing my will to live: Licensing debate lumbers on as ERP giant tries to rebuild trust

After a year marked by major lawsuits on licensing, German ERP giant SAP is making a noise about its new customer-centric approach, perhaps after realising that its litigious image risks driving down customer confidence. In February, Diageo was told to pay SAP a cool £54.5m after it introduced two new systems, …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    There's no reason for them to defect to the competition

    The (limited) number of SAP installations I've encountered depended on third-party expertise to wrangle SAP into an unsteady alignment with their business processes. It's quite hard to "defect" if you've already effectively lost control of your enterprise IT to a parasitic ecosystem.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: There's no reason for them to defect to the competition

      Warm Braw,

      Surely, the situation is more installations dependent on third-party expertise to wrangle SAP into an unsteady alignment with their business processes have lost control of enterprising parasitic IT ecosystems to an absent foreign and alien expertise.

      Provisional Third-Parties and Interested and Interesting Anonymous A.N.Others are then both leading Brigades and Brigands Charging into the Light with SAP APT ACTive Programs/Surreally Secured Applications in Virtually Realised Projects.

      Is there any competition out there vying for that Exotic Erotic Type of Remote Command and Practical Control? And what else would they be offering future customers to cause current paying punters to defect?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's no competition

        And here is SomeOnE still waning in doubt if there are any command and control for a purpose of serving to any imagine-itself-single unit.

        A symphony of them, IT most surely probably is.


        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          When there's no competition, only primitive pointless opposition ....

          Howdy SomeOnE/AC,

          I have no such doubt and would also agree that a symphony of them, IT most surely probably is.

          Is that then to be as stars conspiring to both takeover and makeover heavenly markets and terrestrial systems/SCADA Programs with Other WWWorldly Space Projects ..... Augmented Virtual Reality Productions?

          It with IT Command and Control is just AIBusiness at an Entirely Different Level of Power with Energy.

          And for all stars, a tune to muse upon ..... We Are All Made of Stars ...... and realise that some stars burn far brighter than many and most others. And they are the ones that light the way into Future Spaces.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: When pointless opposition ....

            Howdy, amanfromMars,

            The "M" is capital, doubtless is this. And, what a doubtlessly great string is included above, citing, "We Are All Made Of Stars".

            All Peace And Quiet.

            Market. Business. Hmm :-)

  2. Alan Bourke

    Are SAP unique in this?

    Seems extreme.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Are SAP unique in this?

      I think more companies would do it if they could, but SAP have the benefit of providing a very expensive product that takes years to integrate into a business, but once it has been, it's totally embedded. It would probably be cheaper for some companies to shut down and reopen under a new name than to remove SAP from their accounts department.

      I guess there's not a huge amount of competition though (and at least moving to SAP got rid of our finance director's multi-GB Access database that he used for month-end, which invariably needed fixing every month)

    2. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Are SAP unique in this?

      I know of one niche scientific software house with possibly a worse reputation. Every year the annual licence negotiations lasted until after the end of the previous period. Every so often a new "product manager" would come along and say that things would be different this time around (as the staff had changed) and of course come the next licence renegotiation it was the same again... Oddly enough we got rid of as much of their software as we could and I know many of our competitors have done the same.

      The frustrating thing is that their product was very good and the technical staff were excellent and it was purely the sales tactics that ruined it for them.

  3. Harry Kiri

    The business benefit of SAP

    must be staggering. I've only ever seen clunky-doesnt-quite-fit-but-it'll-do, usually after several years of wangling business processes into shape etc.

  4. Zippy's Sausage Factory

    I have to admit, SAP do seem like their own worst enemies. I've never yet, in 20+ years, met anyone involved with SAP, either from a financial or technical point of view, who actually thinks well of it.

    1. gregthecanuck

      SAP = "Start Adding People" (to feed the beast)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Failed with us

    (Posting as an anonymous coward for, what I hope are, obvious reasons)

    After we heard about the Diego debacle we engaged SAP in a frank verbal discussion on what we could and couldn't do with our license. They were very forthcoming and honest.

    Right up until we asked them for the same information in writing, then all we got was - "No - everything you need is in the contract".

    Jesus H SAP - you're a bunch of fucking wankers; no wonder users don't trust you, you act like arrogant tossers who couldn't give a flying fuck about the customers, as long as the money keeps on flowing in.

    If SAP want the customers to come to them, then they HAVE to confirm EVERYTHING the customer has asked for in writing. Of course they won't, because it's so much easier to sue the fucking tar out of them when you've told them a lie verbally that you know, full well, you can use against them later in court.

    Time to reread "SAP Nation 2.0: an empire in disarray" by Vinnie Mirchandani...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Failed with us

      +1 for the way your post progresses from unemotional statements of fact to expletive laden rant half way through.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Failed with us

      " we engaged SAP in a frank verbal discussion on what we could and couldn't do with our license. They were very forthcoming and honest."

      Perhaps you should have recorded it "for training purposes".

  6. Lost In Clouds of Data

    Look on the bright side... least SAP makes Oracle and Microsoft's pricing and licensing practises look downright reasonable by comparison.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Look on the bright side...

      You obviously haven't seen any of Oracle's enterprise contracts. In many sectors Oracle and SAP operate a cosy duopoly safe in the knowledge that migration costs will scare most customers from ever thinking about it. They then buy up and integrate any competitors.

      Microsoft counts as the plucky underdog here!

      1. grizzlybaz

        Re: Look on the bright side...

        Microsoft contracts are tame by comparison to Oracle and SAP, and they even help you to understand their licensing rules by providing free training. That said, software licensing is a complex beast and vendors like SAP know full well that the majority of customers will never read the contracts before they actually sign them, which is how they get away with so many sharp practices.

        What actually then makes things worse is that Oracle and SAP both have oppressive support and maintenance agreements, which prevent customers from partially terminating support on a subset of licences purchased through a particular order form. You either cancel support for the whole order form or you're stuck with it for everything. That's why 3rd party software support companies are starting to do well in the marketplace.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    shifting sands

    We get regularly audited by SAP and this time round they have decided that all our SAP support specialists and Business Process eXperts are in SAPs view developers. Which of course requires a different and expensive licence. Their work and access has not significantly changed in the last few audit cycles.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You'd have to be...

    a sap for agreeing to let them anywhere near your IT dept

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: You'd have to be...

      That sapped my will to live...

  9. Lysenko


    They mean customers can be charged for any system that connects, even indirectly, to data stored on SAP systems.

    How the hell do they get away with that? I'm pretty sure some data on some websites originates in SAP via several layers of indirection. The company needs a per-seat client licence for the entire internet?! I thought not. So in that case (assuming there's a publishing exception), why can't you just dump the data into web pages (encrypted if necessary) and then screen scrape it back out again as many times as you like? They can't just be saying that they "own" any data that happens to be incorporated into one of their DBs because I know that can be demolished in court.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: What?

      They get away with it by intimidating their customers into signing the contracts or worrying that they won't be able to run their systems or access their SAP's data any more.

    2. ma1010

      Re: What?

      Absolutely! I don't even begin to see how they can tell you what you can do with YOUR OWN DATA. It may be stored on one of their DB's, but the user should (MUST) be able to take it out and do whatever they like with their own data. If someone ever wanted me to sign a contract that said anything to the contrary, I would laugh in their face. Would such an insane provision actually be enforceable in court?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: for the cost of a tape to copy them to and delivery.

    "We want to make customers feel they're genuinely getting good value"


    As opposed to *actually* giving them good value?

    How does that work?

    SAP: "So look, your licence qualification has changed because you plugged a wireless mouse into your PC and it's effectively public broadcasting your..erm...our data, which makes you a media outlet instead of a manufacturing company, and you should owe us £4.5M, but let's be fair, we value your custom...just bung us £4.0M"

  11. Daniel Snowden

    SAP: See Also

    Slow And Painful

    Stops All Production

    1. PeterM42

      Re: SAP: See Also

      Slow And Painful

      Stops All Production


      Slurps All Pennies

      My data was once stored on a SAP system, but they had entered a minor error (possibly the postcode - I don't remember). When I asked for it to be changed............ Virtually IMPOSSIBLE!

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