SAP is planning a number of changes to its software licensing and support and maintenance, bringing in packages that it promises will be more customer friendly.
Speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Cannes, Henning Kagermann (pictured), chief executive of SAP, told delegates that customers would never be totally happy with licensing but that his company would start to address its complexity.
Pricing, he said, will continue to be based on users, because it is the fairest method of putting a cost on SAP software.
But he added: "Next year we will rethink pricing to address issues of complexity. One idea is to have a more industry-specific price list. Then we could respond to the needs of some industries."
An example would be to have different pricing for manufacturing compared to retail.
Sharing the platform with Kagermann, Derek Prior, research director at Gartner, said: "There seems to be a perception that licensing is getting too complex. There are a number of licensing issues that have emerged. Licensing is starting to become more of an issue."
Support and maintenance is also a thorny issue for many software suppliers, especially in the current climate, where customers are less willing to regularly upgrade to the latest versions of a product. This is leaving some companies with unsupported software.
Kagermann said that no SAP customer would be left unsupported once a product's lifecycle came to an end, an issue that was beginning to concern some of the vendor's users.
"We have tried to make maintenance more flexible," he said. "If a customer still wants to run software after official support [ends] the they can add another two years."
This service, described by Kagermann as a "good compromise", will cost customers an additional two per cent and, once the period ends, can be renegotiated if they still do not want to upgrade.
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