As SAP Support Costs Spike, Users' Group Leader Preaches Collaboration -- Not Rebellion

In response to SAP's announcement that support fees will rise in 2009, Steve Strout, the CEO of the American SAP Users' Group, advises users to lean on the SAP-ASUG relationship and look at the big picture.

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Strout's more diplomatic and collaborative statement notes that as a "trusted advisor to SAP," ASUG is "often asked to provide our input on programs while they are still being formulated, and SAP's Enterprise Support announcement is a great example of this in action."

In SAP's July 16th support-fee increase announcement, ASUG Chairman Mike O'Dell was quoted as saying that "SAP consulted with multiple ASUG members for guidance in creating a transitional plan to SAP Enterprise Support that took into consideration organizations of all sizes and implementation stages—hence the graduated timeline." O'Dell is the CIO of Pacific Coast Companies. He added: "At ASUG, we do whatever it takes for our members to succeed."

Strout stresses that point too: That the ASUG Board and he have worked closely with SAP executives to persuade SAP to implement a phased approach to the maintenance increase associated with the switch to Enterprise Support. (See "Q&A: Rate the SAP Consultant: SAP User Group Launches Database to Help Companies Find Help They Need" to read how ASUG is trying to help SAP's skillset shortage.)

"However, in all fairness to both our members and to SAP, time will tell whether these additional services are being used by customers—and just as important, worth more money than the current costs," Strout states. "It is our responsibility to our members to ensure that we hold SAP to what they say: companies should see a benefit."

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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