Posts Tagged ‘Maintenance’

Research Summary: Next Generation CIOs Aspire To Focus More On Innovation And The Chief Digital Officer Role

Executive Summary

Constellation shares with its clients the fourth annual groundbreaking survey of CIOs later this week.  The 2014 survey interviews respondents about their priorities by CIO persona.  Constellation identified infrastructure, integration, intelligence, and innnovaiton as the four personas of the next gen CIO in 2011.

Survey results show that while CIO’s prefer to spend more time on innovation projects, most CIOs must spend their time battling the reduction of cost in IT delivery.  In the shift towards dominating digital disruption, CIOs can only move as fast as their organization’s DNA will allow while driving transformation. Using Constellation’s organizational DNA framework, CIOs can understand how much change they can expect their organization to consume and gauge their ability to impact the thought process and culture.  An excerpt of some of the findings can be found below:

A. CIOs Must Battle Keeping The Lights On Despite A Desire To Focus On Innovation

In Constellation’s recent CIO survey of 119 respondents, over 44% expressed that reducing the cost of IT delivery remained the number one priority (see Figure 2).  However when asked what should be the number one priority almost 44% expressed that bringing innovation to the business was the number one requirement (see Figure 3).

Figure 1. CIOs Still Prioritize Reducing IT Costs

Figure 2.  Bringing Innovation to the Business Is Top Of Mind On The CIO Agenda

B. CIOs Must Overcome Three Barriers To Bringing Innovation To The Business

More…

News Analysis: Rimini Street Vs Oracle Ruling Has No Negative Impact on Third Party Maintenance Rights

Recent Oracle vs Rimini Street Ruling Is About Customer Software License Rights Not Third Party Maintenance

On February 13th, 2014, the United States District Court , District of Nevada Judge Larry Hicks issued a partial summary judgment in the Oracle vs Rimini Street Case. Here’s the executive summary to key questions about the ruling*:

Is Third Party Maintenance still valid for Oracle products or anyone else? Yes.  Users should make sure this right is explicit in all future software deals.

Can a customer give a copy to a third party? Yes if you have this in your license agreement.   Users should negotiate this in  contracts to ensure this right exists and remains as part of the ownership experience.

Do you have to read every contract detail before a third party maintenance provider can host the software? Yes. If there are site restrictions  and if you want to host it in a vendor’s own data center.  Make sure you have the right to a site change or site license change.

Can copies of software from customers that are loaded onto the server that are identical to what another customer’s rights be used or reloaded. Yes, the software license goes to intellectual property not to the media.  Third party maintenance vendors can use the same instance in setting up their clients and this will drive down the cost.

Does this ruling impact other businesses? Yes.  If you have no site specific rights, you can’t have a third party outsource or host.  This could have major legal ramifications for Oracle and other vendor’s existing hosting and outsourcing businesses.

Four Customer Cases End In A Draw For Oracle and Rimini Street Based On Contract Law Technicalities

The ruling includes cases from four customers each with unique contract language:

  • City of Flint – US District Court rules In Oracle’s favor. “Based on the court’s ruling s above, none of Rimini’s asserted license provisions (Sections 1.2(b), 1.2( c), or 14.2) expressly authorize Rimini ’s copying of Oracle’ s copy righted PeopleSoft branded software a s a matter of law. Therefore, the court finds that Oracle is entitled to summary judgment on Rimini’s express license affirmative defense as it relates to the City of Flint, and the court shall grant Oracle ’s motion accordingly.

    Point of View (POV):
    The City of Flint’s PeopleSoft contracts were pre-Internet and did not allow for third parties to copy licenses onto other servers on their behalf.  In fact, the licenses only allowed for the City of Flint to provide “access to and use of the Software” to a third party.  The ruling makes sense and is based on how the license contract is written.
  • Pittsburgh Public Schools – US District Court rules In Oracle’s favor. “Based on the rulings above, the court finds that none of Rimini’s asserted license provisions (Sections 1.1, 1.2, or 10.2) expressly authorize Rimini’s copying of Oracle’s copy righted PeopleSoft branded software as a matter of law. Therefore, the court finds that Oracle is entitled to summary judgment on Rimini’s express license affirmative defense as it relates to the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and the court shall grant Oracle’s motion accordingly”.

    (POV):
    Despite Oracle granting the Pittsburgh Public Schools “a nonexclusive, nontransferable license to make and run copies of the Software, “the right to access and use the Software is a separate right from the right to copy or reproduce software”.  The ruling makes sense as with City of Flint based on the language in the original PeopleSoft contract.

News Analysis: New SAP Customers Face Maintenance Hike

SAP Plans A Standard Support Maintenance Fees Hike Of 5.5%For New Customers

For new customers, SAP announced its intent to raise its standard support maintenance fee from 18% to 19% effective July 15, 2013.  The standard support option was reintroduced in January 14, 2010, after much pressure from user groups.  A few key takeaways:

  • Price hike follows original plans. SAP has provided a six month advanced announcement to raise maintenance for new customers.  SAP has noted that “the adjustment does not apply to any existing maintenance contracts for SAP Standard Support closed before July 15, 2013″

    Point of View (POV):
    The announcement follows the original plan for existing customers to bring Standard Support in line with Enterprise Support by 2015 (see Figure 1).  SAP appears to be harmonizing the price increases for both existing and new customers.  While average support and service contracts are between 18 and 21% in the enterprise software world, SAP’s price increase will still keep it within the norm.
  • SAP raises maintenance rates under the guise of quality. SAP claims that the maintenance fee hike is related to “maintaining the same high level of quality support in the future.  Key features include access to support packages, new releases of standard support solutions, enhancement packages, technology updates, ABAP source code for SAP software applications, and software change management.  SAP also requires customers to use Solution Manager.

    (POV):
    SAP’s tried hard to justify the price increase by offering message handling, remote services, SAP Solution Manager Enterprise Edition, and access to SAP Service Marketplace as additional value added benefits.   Unfortunately, most customers find Solution Manager to be a mile wide and an inch deep, the remote services to be minorly useful, and the SAP Service Marketplace to be immature at best.   The result – customers are not getting much value for the price increase. (Fellow Constellation Analyst Frank Scavo provides a list of four questions every new SAP customer should ask.)

Figure 1. SAP Enterprise Support and SAP Standards Support Schedule circa 2010

screen-shot-2010-01-14-at-74603-am

The Bottom Line: SAP Wants To Eliminate Standard Support And Competitors to Solution Manager

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News Analysis: Spinnaker Expands JD Edwards Support With Versytec Acquisition

Versytec Acquisition Addresses Growing Demand For JD Edwards Support


Denver, Colorado based Spinnaker Management announced on March 6th, 2012 its acquisition of competitor Versytec.  For those who remember their third party maintenance (3PM) history, Versytec was among the first firms to announce third-party maintenance services within a year after PeopleSoft acquired JD Edwards in July 18, 2003.  Constellation estimates that Nashua, New Hampshire based Versytec had between 35 to 40 active 3PM customers.

Third-party maintenance describes support and maintenance offerings delivered by non-OEM providers. These vendors can provide a range of options from basic break/fix to bug fixes, performance optimization, tax and regulatory updates, and customization support. Keep in mind, 3PM does not provide access to upgrades and future versions of the OEM’s product. One big driver is the lower cost of delivery, as much as half the cost of the original vendor’s pricing.  Today most customers pay in maintenance and support the equivalent of a new license every 5 years without achieving the value.  For an average JD Edwards customer that upgrades every 15 years, that’s three times the cost of the original license cost.  In the latest Constellation research report, third party maintenance is one of many strategies to free up millions for customers to fund innovation.

The Spinnaker-Versytec deal is important for a few reasons:

  • Many JD Edwards customers seek alternatives to Oracle’s pricey maintenance fees. Software ownership costs continue to escalate as vendors accelerate their efforts to capture support and maintenance revenues.  From inquiries, surveys, and conversations on the ground, many Oracle JD Edwards World and EnterpriseOne ERP customers seek options to buy-time as they consider whether they upgrade or migrate from their current version.  Why?  Most JD Edwards customers run stable environments and do not gain any value from the Oracle one-size fits all 22% support policy.  Most customers seek phone support and tax and regulatory updates.
  • The market needs more options and choices in the third party maintenance market. Many OEM vendors have gone to the extreme to eliminate third-party options for their customers.  This anti-competitive behavior takes away choice for the customer. A bulked up Spinnaker creates a viable organization that has the critical mass to compete with Oracle.   The combined entity provides third party support services to an estimated 100 160 JD Edwards customers across the globe.
  • Spinnaker Support offers a different approach to third party maintenance. Spinnaker couples its third party maintenance options with consulting services providing a one-stop shop for JD Edwards customers.  Spinnaker also differentiates in its download methodology of customer entitled IP from Oracle.  Spinnaker provides customers with a checklist of what to download prior to migration off Oracle support.

The Bottom Line: Users Must Advocate for Third-Party Maintenance Rights Across the Technology Stack

More…

Research Summary: Best Practices – Three Simple Software Maintenance Strategies That Can Save You Millions

Forward And Commentary

Software ownership costs continue to escalate as vendors accelerate their efforts to capture support and maintenance revenues. Some vendors have gone to the extreme to eliminate third-party options for their customers. This best practices report examines three strategies to free up unnecessary costs to fund innovation and new projects.

A. Introduction

On average, IT budgets are down from 1-5 percent year-over-year, yet software support and maintenance costs continue to escalate ahead of inflation. Hence, continued pressure on IT budgets and a growing need for innovation projects have top business and technology leaders reexamining their software support and maintenance contracts for cost efficiencies.

Based on experience from over 1500 software contract negotiations, Constellation suggests three approaches to reduce the cost of software support and maintenance. Key strategies include third-party maintenance, shelfware reductions and unbundling maintenance contracts as part of every organization’s tech optimization strategy. Successful implementation can lead to savings from 10-25 percent of the IT budget, freeing up cash to fund innovation initiatives.

B. Research FindingsWhy Every Organization Should Consider Third-Party Maintenance, Shelfware Reductions and Unbundling Maintenance Contracts

Most organizations suffocate from the high and hidden cost of support and maintenance. On average, Constellation’s surveys reveal global IT budgets trending down from 1-5 percent year-over-year since 2008. Consumerization of IT, rapidly changing business models, and aging infrastructure have exposed the high cost of software support and maintenance. Because most organizations allocate from 60-85 percent of their budget to keeping the lights on, very little of the budget is left to spend on new projects (see Figure 1).

Organizations can unlock millions by considering third-party maintenance (3PM), reducing shelfware, and keeping support and maintenance contracts unbundled. Each strategy on its own creates opportunities to drive cost savings. All three strategies combined, provide a roadmap for funding innovation.

  1. Third-party maintenance (3PM) delivers the most immediate cost savings and opportunity for innovation. Third-party maintenance describes support and maintenance offerings delivered by non-OEM providers. These vendors can provide a range of options from basic break/fix to bug fixes, performance optimization, tax and regulatory updates, and customization support. Keep in mind, 3PM does not provide access to upgrades and future versions of the OEM’s product. One big driver is the lower cost of delivery, as much as half the cost of the original vendor’s pricing.  The report shows a survey of 268 respondents and why organizations choose 3PM and who the key vendors are.
  2. Reduction of shelfware remains a key pillar in legacy optimization strategies.  Shelfware (i.e. purchased software, not deployed, but incurring annual maintenance fees) is one of the biggest drains on operational expenses for enterprises. The simple definition of shelfware is software you buy and don’t use. For example, an organization that buys 1000 licenses of Vendor X’s latest ERP software and uses 905 licenses, becomes the proud owner of 95 licenses not being utilized. That’s 95 licenses of shelfware because the user will pay support and maintenance on the license whether or not they use the software or not.  The report details 4 successful and proven approaches.
  3. Unbundling maintenance contracts prevents future vendor mischief. About a decade back, vendors would offer support and maintenance as two separate line items on their contracts. Support would run about 5-10 percent of the license fee and so would maintenance. Keep in mind, average support and maintenance fees were under 15 percent back then. Unfortunately, many users have expressed a growing and concerning trend with support and maintenance contracts. Vendors concerns about support and maintenance contract retentions have led to new initiatives to consolidate contracts. At first glance, this may appear to be proactive and beneficial to customers, but the report details three rationales vendors provide and three strategies how to avoid bundling.

Figure 1. Visualizing the High Costs of Support And Maintenance

(Right-click to see full image)

More…

Research Report: Constellation’s Research Outlook For 2011

Organizations Seek Measurable Results In Disruptive Tech, Next Gen Business, And Legacy Optimization Projects For 2011

Credits: Hugh MacLeod

Enterprise leaders seek pragmatic, creative, and disruptive solutions that achieve both profitability and market differentiation.  Cutting through the hype and buzz of the latest consumer tech innovations and disruptive technologies, Constellation Research expects business value to reemerge as the common operating principle that resonates among leading marketing, technology, operations, human resource, and finance executives.  As a result, Constellation expects organizations to face three main challenges: (see Figure 1.):

  • Navigating disruptive technologies. Innovative leaders must quickly assess which disruptive technologies show promise for their organizations.  The link back to business strategy will drive what to adopt, when to adopt, why to adopt, and how to adopt.  Expect leading organizations to reinvest in research budgets and internal processes that inform, disseminate, and prepare their organizations for an increasing pace in technology adoption.
  • Designing next generation business models. Disruptive technologies on their own will not provide the market leading advantages required for success. Leaders must identify where these technologies can create differentiation through new business models, grow new profit pools via new experiences, and deliver market efficiencies that save money and time.  Organizations will also have to learn how to fail fast, and move on to the next set of emerging ideas.
  • Funding innovation through legacy optimization. Leaders can expect budgets to remain from flat to incremental growth in 2011. As a result, much of the disruptive technology and next generation business models must be funded through optimizing existing investments. Leaders not only must reduce the cost of existing investments, but also, leverage existing infrastructure to achieve the greatest amount of business value.

More…

Tuesday’s Tip: Understanding The Many Flavors of Cloud Computing and SaaS

Confusion Continues With Cloud Computing And SaaS Definitions

Coincidence or just brilliance must be in the air as three esteemed industry colleagues, Phil Wainewright, Michael Cote, and James Governor, have both decided to clarify definitions on SaaS and Cloud within a few days of each other.  In fact, this couldn’t be more timely as SaaS and Cloud enter into mainstream discussion with next gen CIO’s evaluating their apps strategies.  A few common misconceptions often include:

  • “That hosting thing is like SaaS”
  • “Cloud, SaaS, all the same, we don’t own anything”
  • “OnDemand is Cloud Computing”
  • “ASP, Hosting, SaaS seems all the same”
  • “It all costs the same so what does it matter to me?”
  • “Why should I care if its multi-tenant or not?
  • “What’s this private cloud versus public cloud?”

Cloud Computing Represents The New Delivery Model For Internet Based IT services

Traditional and Cloud based delivery models share 4 key parts (see Figure 1):

  1. Consumption – how users consume the apps and business processes
  2. Creation – what’s required to build apps and business processes
  3. Orchestration – how parts are integrated or pulled from an app server
  4. Infrastructure – where the core guts such as servers, storage, and networks reside

As the über category, Cloud Computing comprises of

  • Business Services and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – The traditional apps layer in the cloud includes software as a service apps, business services, and business processes on the server side.
  • Development-as-a-Service (DaaS) – Development tools take shape in the cloud as shared community tools, web based dev tools, and mashup based services.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – Middleware manifests in the cloud with app platforms, database, integration, and process orchestration.
  • Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – The physical world goes virtual with servers, networks, storage, and systems management in the cloud.

Figure 1.  Traditional Delivery Compared To Cloud Based Delivery

screen-shot-2010-03-22-at-105927-pm

The Apps Layer In The Cloud Represents Many Flavors From Hosted To True SaaS

SaaS purists often challenge vendors on delivery models in the cloud at the apps layer (see Figure 2).  Often classified as OnDemand, there are 3 common approaches:

  1. Single Instance – (a.k.a. “On Demand”). Think traditional apps deployed one cusotmer per app or per server. Many vendors provide hosting capabilities. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, customize, and in most cases choose when they want to change the code. All customers can use different versions of the software
  2. Multi Instance – (a.k.a. “Server Virtualized”). Think “VMware” like. Apps deployed into a shared-web hosting environment. A single instance copy of the app is configured and deployed into a web directory for each customer. Vendor benefit from easier to manage multi-instance environments. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, customize, and in most cases choose when they want to change the code. All customers can use different versions of the software.
  3. Multi-tenant – (a.k.a. “True SaaS”). Apps in a multi-tenant deployments provide a single operating environment shared by multiple customers. Config files are created and deployed each time a customer request services. Customers don’t worry about the IT infrastructure and retain the flexibility to modify, configure but NOT customize the code. Customers usually receive upgrades at the same time. Everyone shares the same code.

Figure 2.  Different Strokes Of OnDemand For Different Folks

screen-shot-2010-03-22-at-112728-pm

The Bottom Line – Different Models Bring Varying Degrees Of Trade Offs In Cost Versus Flexibility

Keep in mind there are cases where one deployment option is more favorable than another. Just because you are multi-tenant SaaS doesn’t mean you are better. On the other hand, when vendors tout OnDemand as a SaaS offering, then the SaaS bigotry begins. Be on the look out as more vendor provide mix-mode offerings to support disconnected modes, SaaS and On-premise, Public and Private clouds, as well as other improvements in integration with stronger client side ESB’s. Expect many vendors to put their offerings into the Cloud as Cloud/SaaS moves beyond the mainstream for apps strategy.  Let’s take a look at a two decision criteria:

Scenario 1: From least expensive to most expensive to run for a vendor:

  1. True SaaS
  2. Server Virtualized
  3. Hosting

Why is this important? Let’s see, you choose a Hosted solution and the vendor’s costs to run the app goes up with each new customer as it has to manage the different environments. No matter how hard the vendor will try to “fit” everyone to standard configurations and deployments, that’s not always possible. Flexibility has a cost. In a “True Saas” solution, the cost to add an additional customer is minimal and each customer reduces the overall cost for everyone. Ultimately, a True SaaS deployment will have the lowest cost/user/month fee. What will you do 5 years into an Hosting scenario when you are locked in?

Scenario 2: From most customizable to least customizable for a customer:

  1. Hosting
  2. Server Virtualized
  3. True SaaS

Why is this important? Your may have specific needs in an area where the SaaS vendor has not provided the deepest level of configurations. You can’t just go in and modify the code unless everyone else wants it or the vendor’s has it on the roadmap. The cost of comformity is the lack of flexibility. What will you do 5 years into a True SaaS scenario when you are locked in and the vendor won’t add the feature or functionality you need?

Your POV

What’s your view on SaaS vs Cloud?  Does this help clarify the definitions?  Are you looking at private, public, or hybrid cloud options?  Add your comments to the discussion or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Please let us know if you need help with your SaaS/Cloud strategies.  Here’s how we can help:

  • Crafting your next gen apps strategy
  • Short listing and vendor selection
  • Contract negotiations support
  • Market evaluation

Related resources and links

Take the new and improved survey on 3rd party maintenance

20100322 Monkchips – James Governor “Defining Cloud is Simple. Get Over It. The Burger”

20100319 ZD Net: Software as Services – Phil Wainewright “Is SaaS the Same as Cloud”

Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

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

Who Says Support Has To Be Bundled With Maintenance?

About a decade back, vendors would offer support and maintenance as two separate line items on their contracts.  Support would run about 5 to 10% the license fee and so would maintenance.  Keep in mind, average support and maintenance fees were under 15% back then.  Here’s a quick primer on what was covered:

  • Maintenance.  Traditional areas include basic bug fixes, functional and performance enhancements, upgrades, backward compatibility, and legislative and regulatory updates.
  • Support.  Most requests fall in the technical support category.  Support cases typically include installation issues, integration questions, third product compatibility, and complex scenario resolutions.

Today, almost every vendor in the enterprise apps world (i.e. ERP, CRM, SCM, eCommerce, etc) has decided to bundle the two line items together. It’s now known as software maintenance and support and vendors charge between 18 and 28% of net price.

Microsoft Dynamics Uniquely Provides A Separated Maintenance And Support Option With Choice, Value And Flexibility

While many in the software industry have obsessed with locking customers into maintenance and support contracts, the Microsoft Dynamics team set out to differentiate the ownership experience around the key principles of choice, value, and predictability (see Figure 1).

  • Choice.  After the initial purchase, Microsoft Dynamics has offered customers the option to purchase maintenance and support separately.  This is unique to the industry for three reasons because customers:
    1. Choose whether or not to buy maintenance.
    2. Determine who they go to for support.
    3. Separate the technical support from the maintenance decision.
  • Value.  Microsoft’s maintenance plan bundles a series of customer friendly services that deliver value.  The include
    1. Unlimited acccess to eLearning.  Customers can get to any course at any time with their maintenance dollar.  There’s no requirement for expensive week long training academies.
    2. 24 hour self-service support. Microsoft’s invested in its self support community and has 1000 new users a month with 30,000 self-help posts to date.  Most questions can be addressed in the discussion forum or directly by an expert.
    3. 10 years of lifecycle support. Most vendors provide a 5 year plan with escalating costs in the 6th and 7th years.  10 years represents a reasonable life cycle for ERP.
  • Predictability.  Along with the 10 years of lifecycle support, Microsoft Dynamics will use the original purchase price as the basis of calculating future maintenance fees.  Users must stay current on enhancements to qualify.

Figure 1: Microsoft Dynamics’ Delivers Choice and Value In Its Support And Maintenance Offerings

screen-shot-2010-03-08-at-10320-am

The Bottom Line – Users Should Demand A Split In Maintenance And Support

Now’s the time to seek options in maintenance.  Shelfware reduction, third party maintenance (3PM), and contract re negotiations should provide some relief at the business level.   However, decoupled maintenance from support options opens up the customer base to internal and third party options.  Sticking with maintenance and not support may prove to be the best value (i.e. next to 3PM) and create a win-win between the vendors and customers.

The Bottom Line – Progressive Vendors Can Take Charge And Lead The Way.

Software vendors must reexamine their offerings to understand what customers need.  Should economic conditions worsen, more third party maintenance (3PM) options will emerge and force pricing pressures against today’s tired models.  Vendors must take action by phasing in or offering tiered maintenance offerings and minimal support

Your POV

Are you a Microsoft Dynamics customer?  Did you unbundle support from maintenance?  Are you looking at options to compare the vendors?  We’d love to hear your point of view.   Please post or send on to rwang0 at gmail dot com or r at softwaresinsider dot org and we’ll keep your anonymity.

Let us know if you need help with your enterprise apps strategy by:

  • Conducting an ROI on 3rd party maintenance options
  • Identifying cost reduction opportunities
  • Renegotiating your software contracts
  • Improving innovation via SaaS and other deployment options

Take the new and improved survey on 3rd party maintenance and

Related resources and links

20091008 Deal Architect – Vinnie Mirchandani “Third Party Maintenance Is Really 4 Decades Old”

20071120 News Analysis: Too Early to Call the Death of Third Party Maintenance

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!

20090622 News Analysis: Infor Flex Reflects Proactive Maintenance Policy

20090516 News Analysis: Rimini Street Launches Third Party Maintenance for SAP

20080909 Trends: What Customers Want From Maintenance And Support

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

20090428 News Analysis: SAP and SUGEN Make Progress on Enterprise Support

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

20090330 Monday’s Musings: It’s The Relationship, Stupid! (Part 2) – Stop Slashing The Quality Of Support And Maintenance

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

20081012 Monday’s Musings: 5 Steps to Restoring Trust in the Vendor – Customer Relationship

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!

20090602 Tuesday’s Tip: Now’s The Time To Consider SaaS Software Escrows

Copyright © 2010 R Wang and Insider Associates, LLC. All rights reserved.

Monday’s Musings: The Three Pillars of Software Maintenance And Support Policies

After more than 350 conservations with customers about the maintenance and support issue in the past 4 months, it’s becoming quite clear what users expect from their software vendors.  While those issues can be broken into tens of categories, three themes have emerged that include:

  • Choice. Customers want to choose between tiered plans.  The best plans allow customers to select the option best for them. Choice means the availability of a basic plan or the full range of services expected in a comprehensive “insurance policy”.
  • Value. Users expect plans to show ROI or meet service level agreements (SLA’s).  These SLA’s should reflect outcomes not just process.  If a user contacts a help desk 5 times a year and pays $500,000 in maintenance, at $100,000 a call, they better be getting platinum response levels of 1 hour or less and a resolution in 24 to 48 hours.
  • Predictability. Maintenance and support remain one of the biggest budget items in the ownership of packaged apps.  Changes in price, policies, or service levels should be communicated with at least 4 quarters notice.  The best vendors provide guidelines that give customers predictability 2 to 3 years in advance.

The bottom line- can vendors deliver on such promises?

Let’s see which vendors can deliver on all 3 pillars.  Recent financial analyst reports from investment houses (i.e. Merrill Lynch’s Kash Rangan w.r.t. Oracle and Merrill Lynch’s Raimo Lenschow w.r.t SAP) indicate a sharpening downward trend in revenue estimates, not only for Q4 2008, but also for FY 2009 and FY 2010.  Software vendors under pressure to make margins will be forced to choose whether they are willing to take short term pain in stock valuations for long term gain in improving the vendor-client commitment or make their numbers by disenfranchising customers during a time of crisis by violating any one of the three tenants of maintenance pricing.  Because many software vendors have blown through their Q1 2009 pipe in Q4 2008, new deals are scarce and maintenance revenues are the easiest targets for “guaranteed” revenue and price increases.

Your POV.

Are you being hammered in your existing maintenance arrangements?  Do you feel locked in or do you feel your vendor is willing to work with you on deals? Feel free to share with me your experience.  You can post here or send me a private email to rwang0@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2008 R Wang. All rights reserved.

Speaking Engagement: Responding to the SAP Maintenance Hike – Insights from 200 Forrester Clients

Title: Speaking Engagement: Responding to the SAP Maintenance Hike – Insights from 200 Forrester Clients
Location: Forrester Teleconference
Link out: Click here
Description: Responding to the SAP Maintenance Hike – Insights from 200 Forrester Clients

Thursday, October 09, 2008, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Eastern time (18:00-19:00 UK time)

Presented By:

R “Ray” Wang

Vice President, Principal Analyst

Forrester Research, Inc.

Cost: $250

Purchase

Who should attend: Business Process & Applications professionals

Description:

SAP’s July 16th 2008 decision to move to a single tiered maintenance model raises concern for business process and applications professionals. The vendor imposed increase from 17% to 22% comes a few years after SAP’s move to charge clients for an upgrade to ERP 6.0 and NetWeaver 7.0. Since this time, Forrester has spoken with over 200 customers and found that most customers already question the value of their existing basic support contracts at 17%. Constant upgrade cycles, SAP’s failure to deliver promised functionality, lack of insight to the post-ERP 6.0 road map, and aggressive sales tactics leave business process and applications professionals wondering how much of their maintenance and support dollars are going back into reinvestment. Come learn about Enterprise Support and how other clients are building a long term strategy on containing the costs of SAP ownership. Use Forrester’s Enterprise Support Value Calculator to determine how SAP’s maintenance hike will affect your existing SAP strategy and help inform future SAP ownership decisions.

Agenda

* What is SAP Enterprise Support and Why Now

* Feedback from 200 Client Interactions

* How to determine value from Enterprise Support

* What are potential options that customers can take

Vendors mentioned: Agresso, Epicor, Lawson, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, RiminiStreet, SAP, and WorkDay.
Start Time: 10:00
Date: 2008-10-09
End Time: 11:00