SAP Business Suite is no isolated solution. You’d think everyone at SAP would know that as well, but in light of recent announcements, I’m starting to have my doubts.
For anyone in need of a little recap: An SAP ERP system needs hardware, an operating system, the NetWeaver stack with Abap as well as Java and, last but not least, the ERP core ECC 6.0 or SAP Business Suite 7.
SAP has announced extended maintenance for Business Suite 7 with AnyDB until 2030. While this is a momentous and joyous occasion for the SAP community, I can’t help but wonder if it might mean financial Armageddon for SAP itself. Who’s going to foot the bill for database licenses, Java licenses, and five additional years of maintenance infrastructure?
Until 2030, SAP has to keep the entire existing ECC, AnyDB, Abap and Java infrastructure alive to guarantee extended maintenance. Furthermore, skilled personnel is needed. It seems like only yesterday that SAP let thousands of employees with ECC and Abap know-how go, and now, the company needs experts with ERP know-how more than ever. See the problem?
AnyDB: SAP’s bogeyman
AnyDB has developed organically over time. Now, SAP Business Suite 7 can run on many different operating systems and databases. Customers usually enjoy having the freedom of choice while SAP sometimes struggles with the complexity – which was one of the main reasons the company so badly tried to push people to Hana.
SAP ERP customers benefit from more cost-efficient database runtime licenses from IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. SAP expected to be able to cancel them after 2025. Now that SAP promises maintenance for Business Suite 7 with AnyDB until 2030, where does that leave customers with those database licenses?
IBM and Microsoft are willing to collaborate with SAP until 2030 as if nothing had happened. Maybe Oracle will be the one to throw a wrench into SAP’s plan – we’re talking about a lot of money here, after all. However, Oracle’s cooperation will be crucial, since more than half of all Business Suite 7 customers operate on its database.
NetWeaver, Abap, Java
SAP will have to invest a lot of money to be able to guarantee maintenance for the Abap and Java stack for Business Suite 7. A shortage of skilled Abap specialists could become a real problem in the next ten years.
Originally, SAP planned end of support for the NetWeaver Java stack in 2023. To now guarantee availability of AS Abap and AS Java until 2030 is going to take a lot of resources. While there’s enough Java experts on the job market, SAP will likely have to pay high licensing fees to Oracle.
The money question
So, I have to ask again: Who’s going to pay for that? Neither co-CEOs Jennifer Morgan and Christian Klein nor CFO Luka Mucic have made any official announcement on how they expect the high additional costs to affect SAP’s stock price in the years to come.
I own some SAP shares myself, which is why I was more than surprised by how quiet financial analysts, the stock market and the business media have been. Am I missing something?
I fear that, in the end, customers might be the ones who have to shoulder the additional costs once again.