SAP’s Maintenance Price Hike Should Concern Sourcing Professionals And Their CIOs

On Monday, SAP communicated that it will increase the price of standard support on new contracts by 5% from July 15, 2013, from 18% to 19%. SAP’s announcement claims that the increase is necessary: “In order to ensure the same high level of quality support in the future.” That justification is disingenuous, in my opinion. SAP already makes a very healthy profit on maintenance. (SAP does not report its margin on maintenance revenue. For 2012, it reported 81% gross profit on software licenses and maintenance combined.) Moreover, third-party support providers (3SP’s) like RiminiStreet can provide better support at half the price or less.

SAP’s other justification is equally unconvincing. It states that within the standard support package “there is ongoing expansion of value, for example a continuous flow of innovation through Enhancement Packs.” SAP reinvests 14% of its revenue in R&D, but I estimate that 90% of that goes on developing new products such as Hana that you have to pay again for if you want them. (SAP disputes this estimate but did not provide an alternative figure.) That would mean that Enhancement Pack development represents around 1% of revenue, insufficient to justify charging double what 3SP’s charge, let alone a 5% price increase.

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