Uwe Hommel, Exec VP of Active Global Support and Bill Wohl, VP in the Global Communications organization at SAP spent 2 hours yesterday trying to justify to Dennis Howlett and me the value and tools SAP is delivering for the increased maintenance pricing it wants.
As we have acknowledged a number of times, we highly respect SAP was engaging in such dialogues with bloggers. 4 hours of two senior executives is a large investment.
But in the end we felt like Michael Davidson CIO of Apotex, a large Canadian pharmaceutical company who tells CIO Magazine about SAP's planned increase "Supposedly, we're going to get more value. I haven't seen it because I haven't been shown it,"
Dennis and I kept pushing for a more analytical justification of the increase with support metrics (which every software vendor has in spades), breakdown of support economics and performance ratings of SAP partners which supposedly are increasing its support costs. In my book, maintenance costs should have been declining not increasing over the last decade given SAP's growth in cheaper non-German staffing, the SDN community which is increasingly handling routine queries, and the support automation which reduces labor costs.
SAP has promised to come back with a more analytical justification - within the limits of what they can disclose without running afoul of financial regulators. That would certainly be welcome.
Because the only thing I could measure from the call yesterday was that Uwe protested at least ten times my use of the term "empty calories" when it comes to SAP maintenance.