Tuesday’s Tip: Act Now To Leave The Door Open For SAP Third Party Maintenance Options

Published on August 21, 2012 by R "Ray" Wang

The Real Deadline To Consider Third Party SAP Maintenance Is September 30th

In conversations with hundreds of SAP customers, many have not realized that they must act now in the next 30 to 45 days if they want to move off of SAP customer specific maintenance from extended maintenance for older products. Despite the support window ending in March 2013 for extended maintenance, SAP is requiring organizations to serve notice by September 30th, 2012 (see Figure 1). Key products impacted by this deadline include:

  • SAP ERP 2004 (ECC 5.0)
  • SAP NetWeaver 7.0
  • SAP CRM 6.0
  • SAP SCM 5.1
  • SAP SRM 6.0
  • SAP SRM 5.0
  • SAP CRM 5.0
  • SAP SCM 5.0
  • SAP Netweaver 2004
  • SAP SRM 4.0
  • SAP SCM 4.1
  • SAP R/3 Enterprise (4.7)
  • SAP R/3 4.6C

In past experiences, SAP has taken a hard line on the notification date and customers need to immediately take action should they wish to have the maximum support options available to them.

To be clear, those on SAP’s Business Suite 7 have a longer maintenance support window (see Figure 2.) Those products will be supported with mainstream maintenance until 2020.

Figure 1. SAP Maintenance Strategy and Support Time Lines For Older Releases (2010) Revised With 2012 Version

Figure 2. SAP Business Suite 7 Innovation Road Map Provides Longer Maintenance Until 2020

Customer Specific Maintenance Comes With Many Disadvantages

While SAP will tout many benefits of Customer Specific Maintenance, most customers can expect the following downsides:

  • Increase to 22% support fees* Same rate as existing maintenance program with no lower rate*
  • No new tax and regulatory updates
  • No new fixes
  • No new support packages
  • No direct upgrade path for new releases
  • No SLA’s for service and support

The benefits of the increase in support fees for most customers do not justify the benefits delivered by SAP maintenance.

*(Updated August 30, 2012)

Constellation was approached by SAP on this issue and was given an official response from SAP on a few key questions:

  • Can SAP Standard Support Customers Remain at the 18% in Customer Specific Maintenance? Customers who remained as an SAP Standard Support customer at the 18% price point, carry on to 18% in customer specific maintenance
  • Can an SAP Enterprise Support Customer downgrade to Standard Support in Customer Specific Maintenance? Customers with SAP Enterprise Support at the 22% price point can downgrade to the SAP Standard Support at 18% for all products and releases that the customer owns and not just the ones moving into customer specific maintenance
  • Are there any lower maintenance rates than the existing maintenance rates a customer pays today when they go to customer specific? Customers pay their rate based on the maintenance program.  The only exception would be for a Standard Support customer who has elected to receive extended maintenance for a specific release.  In this case, they would pay a 4% uplift on top of their 18% during the extended maintenance period. the uplift only applies ot the release they are covering with extended maintenance.  When the extended maintenance period for the particular release ends, the 4% uplift also ends and the release transitions to customer specific maintenance at the Standards Support price point of 18%

The Bottom Line:  Give Notice, Leave Your Options Open.

In numerous advisories and inquires with SAP customers, Constellation recommends that all customers with the impacted products give notice before the September 30th deadline for four key reasons:

  1. Explore third party maintenance. Filing notice allows organizations to consider and evaluate third party maintenance providers.  Arrange for a meeting or appointment right away to assess your current scenario. See how vendors are providing tax and regulatory updates and improving the operational efficiency of legacy applications.
  2. Improve negotiating leverage for 2013 maintenance contracts. Use the third party maintenance option discussion to create leverage in contract negotiations.  Take the time to negotiate credits for shelfware, park licenses, or plan upgrade paths.
  3. Avoid bundling of contracts. Keep existing contracts separate. Resist the temptation to consolidate contracts.  Consolidation means you can’t renegotiate licenses in increments.  Consolidation also eliminates options to sell your used SAP software in europe for credit.
  4. Stop playing contract support window games. Most customers face endless negotiation cycles that just pushes the issue into the future.  Every day a company is not on third party maintenance, is money wasted for stable products.

Your POV.

Need help with your SAP software contract?  Contact us throughout the vendor selection process.  We can help with a quick contract review or even the complete vendor selection.  We provide fix-fee and gain sharing arrangements.  We can also help you with your third party maintenance provider evaluation.

Let us know your experiences.  Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) com.

Related Constellation Research

Wang, R. “Best Practices – Three Simple Software Maintenance Strategies That Can Save You Millions” Constellation Research, Inc. March 8, 2012

Scavo, Frank & Wang, R. “Big Idea: Constellation’s Business Value Framework” Constellation Research, Inc.  January 31, 2012.

Wang, R. “Best Practices: Why Every CIO Should Consider Third-Party Maintenance.” Constellation Research, Inc. August 7, 2012.

Wang, R. “Market Overview: The Market For SAP Optimization Options” Constellation Research, Inc. May 11, 2011.

Wang, R. “Best Practices: The Case for Two-Tier ERP Deployments” Constellation Research, Inc. February 28, 2011.

Related Resources And Links

20100419 Tuesday’s Tip: Dealing With Pesky Software Licensing Audits

20090714 Research Summary: An Enterprise Software Licensee’s Bill of Rights, V2

20101214 Tuesday’s Tip: Dealing With Vendor Offers To Cancel Shelfware And Replace With New Licenses

20100308 Monday’s Musings: Decoupling Support From Maintenance – What Apps Vendors Can Learn From Microsoft Dynamics

20100222 Monday’s Musings: Why Users Should Preserve Their Third Party Maintenance Rights

20100104 News Analysis: SAP Revives Two-Tier Maintenance Options

20090210 Tuesday’s Tip: Software Licensing and Pricing – Do Not Give Away Your Third Party Maintenance And Access Rights

20090709 Tuesday’s Tip: Do Not Bundle Your Support and Maintenance Contracts!

20091222 Tuesday’s Tip: 10 Cloud And SaaS Apps Strategies For 2010

20091208 Tuesday’s Tip: 2010 Apps Strategies Should Start With Business Value

20091102 Best Practices: Lessons Learned In What SMB’s Want From Their ERP Provider

20091006 Tuesday’s Tip: Why Free Software Ain’t Really Free

20090504 News Analysis: Oracle Waives Fees On Extended Support Offerings

20080909 Trends: What Customers Want From Maintenance And Support

20080215 Software Licensing and Pricing: Stop the Anti-Competitive Maintenance Fee Madness

20090405 Monday’s Musings: Total Account Value, True Cost of Ownership, And Software Vendor Business Models

20090324 Tuesday’s Tips: Five Simple Steps To Reduce Your Software Maintenance Costs

20090223 Monday’s Musings: Five Programs Some Vendors Have Implemented To Help Clients In An Economic Recession

20091012 Research Report: Customer Bill of Rights – Software-as-a Service

20090910 Tuesday’s Tip: Note To Self – Start Renegotiating Your Q4 Software Maintenance Contracts Now!

20090721 Tuesday’s Tip: 3 Approaches To Return Shelfware

20090127 Tuesday’s Tip: Software Licensing and Pricing – Now’s The Time To Remove “Gag Rule” Clauses In Your Software Contracts


Reprints can be purchased through Constellation Research, Inc. To request official reprints in PDF format, please contact Sales .


Although we work closely with many mega software vendors, we want you to trust us. For the full disclosure policy, stay tuned for the full client list on the Constellation Research website.

* Not responsible for any factual errors or omissions.  However, happy to correct any errors upon email receipt.

Copyright © 2001 – 2012 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC All rights reserved.
Contact the Sales team to purchase this report on a a la carte basis or join the Constellation Customer Experience!

  • How does this impact ECC5 users who are already paying Enterprise Support. My SAP contacts seem to suggest that this is not a problem for those customers (in the short term).

    On a more general point, SAP seem to suggest to people considering moving to a 3P maintenance provider that this would preclude them from buying new user licenses, so for a growing company, this is out of the question. Even if they could buy licenses, they would not get any discounts. What is your view on that?

  • FFM

    Drop me a line. I’ll connect you w/ the UsedSoftware Team r(at)ConstellationRG(dot)com


  • Shekhar,

    Thanks for your input. The article is actually correct but not as nuanced as you put it. For SAP BS 7 customers you have until 2020. For those still on classic SAP products, they have to serve notice. Why? The maintenance certificate process is cumbersome and in the contracts, if they don’t do this, the customer will miss the window to get off customer specific maintenance.

    At the SAP Australian User Group, we just found out as well with another 20 customers here. They are on older releases and want to stay. Should they pay maintenance at 22%, it’s actually not a good value. Why? Customer specific maintenance does not come with regulatory and tax support. SAP is not providing this. Third party maintenance providers such as Rimini Street and Spinnaker will do this.

    What I’ve done with the blog post is clarify that SAP BS7 customers have until 2020. Which I would agree would be the missing part here. That should make more sense.

    To be honest with you, SAP Enterprise Support is NOT a good deal in general for customers. If I can get better support levels, avoid having to use SolMan for everything, half the cost of maintenance for 5 years, I’ve freed up quite a bit of money for innovation. Average customer with a 1M per year maintenance bill saves 2.5M over 5 years and gets tax and reg! This may be where we have to disagree.

    I do appreciate your comments here and value them. However, from a customer advocate point of view, most customers are better off with third party maintenance.

    I’m curious what others think.

  • Hi Ray,

    The chart you have shown in the article is absolutely outdated. The maintenance of all Business suite 7.0 components (ERP 6.0, CRM 7.0, SRM 7.0, SCM 7.0 etc) is extended until year 2020. Approximately 80% of SAP install base is on already on Business suite 7.0.

    Yes that link requires login as all SAP customers, partners and valid users have access to that link with proper id.


  • Shekhar,

    Nice to meet you. Please feel free to state what’s false in this post. Always open to comments and input. BTW, your link requires a login.



  • Dear Readers,
    Please don’t believe on whatever is written in this article as this is false information.
    . Two years back SAP maintenance policy was reviewed and informed to the customers. Its seems this blogger is woken up now.
    Don’t believe a word. If you like to get more information on the SAP maintenance, please visit SAP service market place at

  • doug

    This is all coming from our conversations with users around the world. Basically it reads, “pay if you want us to help you but we’re not liable for anything” What do other folks think?


  • Ray,

    I had to read this post three times. I’m in disbelief that SAP (despite obvious customer relationship failings) considers this policy as ethical or legitimate in any business sense.

    1. 22% for minimally meager maintenance and no upgrades is akin to highway robbery.
    2. Forced upgrading reduces SAP’s costs – this policy is like charging people for using automated check out.
    3. Public sector organizations operate on budget cycles, so rapid reponse to license policy changes = not understanding customer needs.

    We know that the ERP model is reaching the laggard stage when maintenance revenue is the largest source of income and that additional features have a negative perceived value. You’re right about customer preferences for stable products. Maybe SAP management should read the Geoffrey Moore series to understand what biz model is appropriate today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts