back to article Customers in 'standoff' with SAP over 2025 end of support for Business Suite: Who'll blink first?

German enterprise software giant SAP is in a "standoff" with customers over the 2025 deadline for withdrawing support for its SAP Business Suite range. SAP is hoping to shift users onto its cloud-based S/4HANA enterprise software, which includes ERP, financial management and HR, in-memory databases and real-time analytics. It …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "Delaying [..] may be a less attractive solution"

    Translation : we are so going to up the license fee that your head will be spinning.

    1. GremlinUK

      Re: "Delaying [..] may be a less attractive solution"

      Ah, the Oracle school of customer relationship management!

  2. sanwin

    One of my former managers had the SAP icon on his PC screen labelled as "Stop All Progress". Most people agreed with him as the company was transitioning to SAP.

    1. Simplicity is good

      former

      Perhaps that's why he became your former manager.

  3. Warm Braw Silver badge

    Head of information systems at Burton's Biscuit Company

    Typical BBC bias...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You don't have to move to the cloud, you can still run S4/HANA on premise which is what some have already done. In the case of one project I worked on the business case was quite easy as you can run on fewer servers with S4/HANA so we lined it up with a planned hardware upgrade.

    I'm not saying everything SAP does is wonderful but neither is it as bad as some people are saying.....

    1. Nevermind
      Pint

      I'm not saying everything SAP does is wonderful but

      I have a couple of customers using SAP, I think the "bad things" that SAP gets the gong for are probably dependant on the implementation at the user end. for example 99% of my customers manage to place a purchase order that's one, maybe 2 pages...SAP "enabled" customer has 3 pages of prefomatted bilge then 3 pages of what they actually want....there is no "golden user" to edit the bilge they (and I) have to live with it.

  5. James O'Shea

    Which is worse?

    SAP or Oracle? And is there a realistic alternative, price-wise, performance-wise, usability-wise?

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: Which is worse?

      They are as bad as each other in terms of product support and leading you into an expensive walled garden, but I'd give SAP the edge in uptime & reliability, with Oracle EBS just nudging it for end user navigation and overall usability. Both get a bad rap for the implementation headache, but in my 15 years of implementing them both, it's normally mostly down to utterly crap third party SI's (Wipro and HCL spring to mind) and the lack of upfront legwork by the client business in terms of requirements, use cases and process mapping and such like - rather than the product itself.

      There are some Open source ERPs that I've worked with in the past that are better than both of them, but ironically most enterprises won't implement them because they are not SAP or Oracle. Go figure!!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which is worse?

        I'm about to start working with a customer who runs iDempiere. I'm just doing the BI stuff. Will be interesting to see how it compares.

        I'm yet to meet a customer who likes SAP.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Go figure!!!

        'Finally, some corporate information technology managers, taking the dictum "You don't get fired for buying SAP" too close to heart, were convincing their companies to invest in R/3 without examining whether they really needed so robustly featured a system or whether it could create, for them, the efficiencies that would justify its cost.'

        - SAP AG History

        Open source ERPs won't protect CIO's from being removed from their posts for buying them.

    2. Simplicity is good

      Re: Which is worse?

      My cloud <--> on-premise interchangeable architecture meets your 3 criteria.

  6. Lazlo Woodbine

    At my last place we were subsumed into Honeywell and forced to move from a WMS / ERP that was originally written in the early 80's and ran within a DOS window to SAP.

    We spent a year transitioning to SAP then after switchover we couldn't process a single order for almost a fortnight because the Quotation / Order Processing side of SAP would not talk to the Warehouse Management side of SAP.

    We'd just got it working when Honeywell had a global system outage due to an email storm that took out their data centre in Sofia...

  7. Imhotep Silver badge

    Yes, I'll Move

    SAP may be making a pretty good case to their customers for moving off of their platform.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Yes, I'll Move

      Never give a customer a reason to review the market.

  8. matthewdjb

    It's not an upgrade to s/4hana. It's a migration. So some customers I'm aware of are considering migrating away from SAP completely, since they've got a migration project on their hands anyway.

    1. Imhotep Silver badge

      Exactly. Everytime we were forced into a migration, we saw it as an opportunity to see if there was a better system to migrate to. Our healthcare systems vendor (McKesson) put us in just such a position. We ended up moving on to a new vendor's (Cerner) software.

      I wouldn't have chosen either, but IT's recommendation was over ruled. After two years they're migrating on to yet another system.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Cerner... **shudder**

  9. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Communication?

    "It would be good, from the early days of their tenure, for them to talk about things like [extending the deadline] in terms of having an open relationship with their customers. They want to know, 'will you be refreshing, revising, or changing that deadline?'

    But, SAP has answered that question, have they been revising that deadline? The answer is "No."

    The bigger issues here (not specific to SAP)...

    1) The "upgrade treadmill" in general. I mean, there's businesses who decided to go to a mainframe decades ago, and could relatively pain-free do upgrades of both hardware and software for decades without having to do what could reasonably be considered a software migration. I'm sure some businesses thought SAP would be similar, painful migration once then relatively pain-free updates indefinitely after that. It's going to be a rude surprise to companies if they are expected to do some 2-3 year migration like every 5 to 10 years.

    2) Shutoff dates. Here's hoping for these customers that SAP support "ending" in 2025 means SAP won't provide further support for it; NOT that required online components are shut down, and they refuse to renew licenses that then expire and disable the software.

    To me this is the bigger issue; before I made some software the core of my business I'd really like a) to know it can work "offline", not requiring close contact with some vendor-run server (so if they decide to drop support, that doesn't mean "the server's turned off so the product is dead or crippled") and b) Not a guarantee of perpetual "support" but (if it's licenses per quarter or year) some guarantee that if it goes out of support, I can get a perpetual license or at least keep paying annual rates like I had been in pepetuity (i.e. mainly not "the license expires end of year, no you can't renew it" or "you can renew it but it's 10x the cost to 'encourage' you to upgrade").

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Communication?

      SAP will stop working as you know if you have worked with SAP.

      And if it is not supported, I don´t think they will provide licenses.. as who is responsible for the system not being patched?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    I can understand SAP's desire to get customers to upgrade.

    But where is the compelling value for the customer? Are the new SAP products more secure, easier to use and configure, faster, use fewer hardware resources, etc.? If you are going to ask customers to revised their business processes and update their APIs and linkages to their supply chain vendors, as you will see in a major ERP upgrade, then you had better be making it worthwhile for them.

    I understand that SAP and other software vendors need ongoing revenue streams, but I fundamentally disagree when you are making the reason for the upgrade be about the benefit to SAP, and not about benefits to the customer.

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: I can understand SAP's desire to get customers to upgrade.

      Well said. Couldn't agree more.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      faster, use fewer hardware resources?

      "Are the new SAP products more secure, easier to use and configure, faster, use fewer hardware resources, etc.?"

      A news outlet noted that a life insurance company bought a server for $233 million to run HANA because its response time stretches to 2 or so hours running in existing server.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    here in windows land, 5 years seems like an eternity - heck in computer years that is like 5 generations of processor changes and by that time your spread sheets will be holographic displays.......

  12. Chairman of the Bored

    Oh FFS!

    My current employer is ten years into a SAP ERP rollout. It's still not fit for purpose, and that's even after abandoning SAP's repeated attempts at customization. We now contorted our business processes and organizational structures until they fit ERP's inbuilt, mainframe era business rules and processes. I'm starting to curse in German. The only people making money at this point are our legal firm, we are in round two of litigation.

    Should have stayed with IBM. And, yeah, they suck too.

    Five years to migrate? Most days it feels like five years just to print out an effen financial report!

    1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Oh FFS!

      SAP is great if it suits your business model.

      If you have to modify it.. well, hell no, too expensive and convoluted.

    2. Simplicity is good

      Re: Oh FFS!

      "We now contorted our business processes and organizational structures until they fit ERP's inbuilt, mainframe era business rules and processes."

      Your convoluted business process gives them the opportunity to announce to the world: "We have yet another happy customer". If you didn't convolute your process and abandoned the unusable software, you would be verdicted guilty for "being not abiding by our universal best practice".

      "Should have stayed with IBM. And, yeah, they suck too."

      I coded IBM MVS JCL and understand what you are saying.

  13. Herby

    Just move to "some other computer"

    That's what the cloud really is. Something that you have NO ultimate control over, and are at the mercy of the provider.

    Now what was that uptime guarantee??

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In 1986, I was an IBM systems programmer

    our IBM sales engineer told us that support for the DOS/VSE operating system would likely be dropped within 18 months, and that we could get a license for MVS for free for the 1st year.

    after that, the license would go from $4200 / month to $11400 / month. Is that a great deal or what?

    the upgrade commenced but performance on the 4381 mainframe declined 20%. no problem, there was an upgrade available to fix that. the monthly lease went up by many (MANY) thousands of dollars.

    I left the mainframe world in 1987 while all this chaos was taking place. came back 20 years later for a visit and there were no mainframes of any kind to be seen anywhere.

    But - interestingly enough, DOS/VSE is still available as a virtual machine in the latest incarnation of z/OS. IBM never dropped support for it.

    Heck, Hewlett-Packard supported the HP3000 minicomputer environment from 1978 through 2010.

    The SAP folks will be fine if they don't upgrade.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SAP be Damned...

    How many people here actually use it day-to-day? It's completely awful.

    We used to have out own in-house systems for processing PRs, web based, a few clicks, done in seconds......Now in SAP our procurement team has a 2 WEEK SLA in which to convert a PR to a PO and place the order to the vendor.

    I have to process "Service PO" for monthy invoices, line rentals etc.....approving each invoice or "SES" line is a simple case of;

    Login to SAP

    Go to the SES approval screen..

    Find the unlabelled and impossibly small button that allows you to enter a PO number with an icon that is incomprehensible to the uninitiated victim

    Find the unapproved "red circle" SES line in the mess of other lines it gives you for that PO (but it also does not auto expand or highlight the unapproved stuff - so you have to search line by line to find it)

    Highlight the "red circle"

    Click the "Harry Potter Glasses" button

    Click on approve

    A Text box appears, type "CM" here for no good reason that I can think of.

    Click OK

    Your Red Circle becomes Yellow Triangle (we are close now...stick with it)

    CLICK SAVE - Jesus Christ make sure you click save....or your Yellow triangle will not become a green square and you are back to the start.

    This must be done for each Invoice and if you have multiple lines on an Invoice allocated to different cost centres, you could have 10-20 lines for a single invoice. Easily 10-15 mins just clicking......

    Before all this pain, i used to login to a site, see a copy of the invoice - click an approve button and get on with my day. Progress, eh......

    1. Chairman of the Bored
      Pint

      Re: SAP be Damned...

      Have a drink, it may help

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SAP be Damned...

      That sounds like a god awful implementation.

      We put SAP in an our 'internal customers' also felt the pain of poor UI and clunky 'best practice' processes.

      The bean counters were happy because we suddenly had financial stability and the regular financial 'gaps' disappeared and all the pennies and stocks could now be accounted for, also our regulatory compliance issues were resolved. We could seek bigger opportunities because we had rock solid accountability and stability.

      Fast forward a few years and the UI has been streamlined.

      No user grumble- BUT not perfect in some areas and some users simply accept things without challenging.

      I do think the product can be good, but it is a monster and needs serious business involvement and investment to make the most of it

  16. YetAnotherJoeBlow Bronze badge

    Yeah, right.

    "We are seeing a massive conversion to SAP S/4HANA..." Hahaaaahaaaaa That is a good one.

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