I don’t think we should see each other anymore. It’s not you; it’s me. Actually, on second thought, it’s mostly you. Our relationship started as expected, but we’ve grown apart. We now want different things. Let me explain.
It used to be that my annual maintenance fee got me support, maintenance, and new functionality. But then the new features were fewer and fewer and came less frequently. Then not at all. I was still paying the same $1 million every year but getting less value for it.
You do realize that you stopped accepting me for who I was. So many times, you said that our relationship could not continue in the same way unless I upgraded. The software I paid $5 million for was suddenly not new enough for you to take care of anymore. I poured my heart and soul into that software. It’s paid for, fully amortized, stable, heavily customized, and doing exactly what I need it to do.
But you want me to pay extra for ongoing support because the version I have is now too old for you. How do you think that made me feel? And by the way, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
A couple of times, I acquiesced and upgraded—at great expense to me—because my software was working, and I wanted to keep it supported and maintained. The upgrades were hard and disruptive, but I did it for us. I just couldn’t keep doing it—couldn’t keep upgrading for no other reason than that you would still like me and care for me. I’m happy with who I am, so another upgrade would just be a charade.
Insult on top of injury
Then there was the 2027 ultimatum. You told the whole world that after December 31, 2027, you would charge an additional 2 percentage points for sustaining support. That’s a 10% cost increase for me. You know my budget is tight; I can’t afford that.
Then to add insult to injury, you said that after 2030, we’re through. Kaput. It’s over. End of the road. And what do I get for staying with you? You’re raising my annual rates, first by 3.3% and now by another 5%.
I feel pressured
You clearly want me to abandon my ECC software for this shiny new object you call S/4HANA. It’s clear to me now that this is who you have been spending time with. After all we had done together, I didn’t want to believe it. I naïvely ignored all the signs, thinking it couldn’t possibly be true. That’s on me. I probably should have paid more attention when you started investing your time and energy in that proprietary database called HANA. It’s obvious that you and HANA have something exclusive going on.
Not only do you want me to migrate to HANA and S/4HANA, you also want me give up my perpetual licenses and replace them with subscriptions. That’s like surrendering the deed to my home so I can rent a different one from you. And speaking of home, you want me to leave my premises and move to a cloud. You call it your “RISE with SAP” program. That might sound intriguing on the surface, but I’ve looked into it and it’s not a good fit for me. It limits my options and locks me into a multifaceted contract with you. I want a business-driven roadmap, not a vendor-dictated one. After all the good times we’ve had, do we now need a complicated pre-nup? I don’t think so.
RISE, GROW, or tossed aside
You know that I’ve been happily running our ECC software on-premises. Truth be told, I’ve even considered moving to S/4HANA, but it would be on-premises too. That’s where I’m comfortable. But now you’re saying that future innovations such as AI, generative AI, and sustainability would only be available to your customers running S/4HANA Cloud, public or private editions in the RISE or GROW programs.
Oh, and these features would have a 30% potential uplift in the cost of the program. I’m sorry, but this just feels like it’s all about you. So, I’m moving on.
I’m seeing someone else
I have to be honest. I’ve met someone else. It’s Rimini Street. They said they would take me as I am and support my existing ECC software for 15 years or more from the time I switch to them. They don’t have a 2027 or 2030 or 2040 deadline; those dates are irrelevant. They just want what’s best for me. And they are going to help me where I am and get me to where I want to go. I don’t have to upgrade unless I want to. They’ll optimize my current environment and help me evolve by innovating around the edges of my ECC. They even have a team that will help me transform my IT where and when it makes the most sense for my business.
Here’s the kicker: they’ll provide great support for 50% less than what you were charging annually. Their clients rate them an average 4.9 out of 5.0 for seven different support criteria. And they’ll support my customizations, deliver tax, legal, and regulatory updates, provide interoperability solutions so I can continue to update my environments without upgrading my software, and offer security solutions to help keep me safe! They’ll even provide managed services for our SAP cloud products, including Ariba, Concur, SuccessFactors, and others. They love me; they really, really love me.
Wishing you the best
Know this: I still like your software. So keep writing it. Maybe someday we can see each other again. But for now, and several years down the road, this is the way it must be. Goodbye and best wishes.
Learn more: Does this letter resonate with you? Learn more about Rimini Street services and support for SAP.