SAP has killed off plans to end support for its Business Suite 7 software suite by 2025 in the face of growing customer pressure. The German software giant is extending support until the end of 2027, with an optional extended maintenance offering running to 2030.
SAP also confirmed a “maintenance commitment” for SAP S/4HANA until 2040.
The move is a welcome reprieve for end users struggling to plan huge migrations.
The company wants customers to move to its flagship ERP software, S/4HANA, which — unlikely its existing software — will run exclusively on SAP’s own database, HANA. Previously, SAP’s software worked with a number of databases, including Oracle, but businesses migrating to the new system will also need to migrate their entire database.
The extended deadline will cover core applications including SAP ERP 6.0, SAP Customer Relationship Management 7.0, SAP Supply Chain Management 7.0, and SAP Supplier Relationship Management 7.0 applications and SAP Business Suite.
Those needing support for their applications in longer conversion phases to SAP S/4HANA can tap its extended maintenance offering: “This comes with a premium of two percentage points on the existing maintenance basis for core applications of SAP Business Suite 7 for all support offerings”, SAP said today. “It will be available for three additional years beginning at the start of 2028 and ending at the close of 2030.”
SAP Support Deadline: Five More Years
“Our customers… expect a long-term commitment from SAP to this platform,” said Christian Klein, Co-CEO and Member of the Executive Board, SAP SE. “We know that our customers have deep business transformations underway… SAP will provide additional flexibility to fully embrace the groundbreaking opportunities of SAP S/4HANA that reflects the individual pace and complexity of our customers’ projects.”
Paul Cooper, Chairman at the UK and Ireland SAP User Group, which represents SAP customers across the region, said: “Back at our annual user conference in December, we highlighted how the end of life of Business Suite 7 (ERP/ECC 6.0) and lack of clarity around the roadmap for S/4HANA have not helped the customer relationship.”
He added: “We asked SAP to listen to its customers, so it is encouraging that the company has extended the maintenance deadline for Business Suite 7.
“For organisations that have invested heavily in Business Suite 7, today’s announcement will hopefully provide them with greater certainty and more time to plan a potential move to S/4HANA. Our member surveys have continued to show that cost and change management are the biggest reasons for organisations not to move to S/4HANA, meaning they need to have a clear business case. With SAP stating that growing numbers of customers globally are moving to S/4HANA, we look forward to continuing to work with SAP to demonstrate more use cases.
Geoff Scott, CEO, Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) noted: “The decision about a company’s ‘ERP of the future’ should not just center on a technical upgrade to SAP S/4HANA. It should be about how best to prepare a company’s business for the future.”
Not everyone was impressed. Darren Roos, CEO of enterprise software specialist IFS commented: “While extending support to 2027 may provide the illusion of addressing customer concern, it doesn’t help them. It only delays the problem. Even with a two-year extension, there simply aren’t the skills or resources available to migrate everyone by that deadline. For many customers, there still isn’t real, quantifiable value in S/4 HANA, and most of the people who have committed to re-implementation already still don’t have a project underway to move away from their existing ECC instance.
“When it comes to buying enterprise software, businesses should be able to select a model that works for them. Basic things like being able to retain your existing database matter to customers, and yet SAP seem to have forgotten this with S/4. If we want to restore trust in the enterprise software industry, we must be more customer-centric. In 2020, businesses should recognize that they have a choice.”