As SAP was describing its SME focused packaging and innovations during the Influencer summit earlier this week, I asked why those innovations were not translating into lower TCO for bigger customers. The answers varied from "those innovations are coming" to "we are not hearing concern about TCO from our larger customers"....wait, play that "lack of concern" bit back again. Did I hear that correctly?
Then there was Doug Merritt (an exec most of the Enterprise Irregulars have come to respect as the ideal New Age vendor spokesperson - smart, transparent, ready with a quip) saying "Oracle price gouges customers even more than we do". (He later posted a clarification). But Doug is hardly the first SAP executive I have heard say it in different words - "our margins are lower than Oracle" or "we deliver more value for the TCO"
For years, SAP has heard too many of its customers ran out of budget while they get only part way through their plans for "wall-to-wall" implementations. For years, SAP has heard it is a full-employment act for expensive consultants and contractors. For years, SAP has heard that even at 17% there was not enough value for the maintenance dollar for mature customers - it will be even less so as it plans to now charge 22%.
Clearly, it is not hearing it loud enough. So, here's something every mid and large customer should do every time they meet their SAP reps.
Say it explicitly:
"We don't give a crap about Oracle. We chose you over Oracle. And your TCO is way too high. Aggressively manage your maintenance charges. Aggressively manage your systems integrators. Aggressively automate operations and upgrades. Lower our TCO"
And repeat every time you meet another SAP executive. After years, may be they will listen. But, they have selectively done so for 20 years - so keep reminding them every time you do meet them.