SAP is expected to announce a major shake-up of its software licensing model at Sapphire, its annual users conference in Berlin, Germany this week.
Co-chairman Hasso Plattner is expected to announce that SAP is reverting to per application-based pricing. Over the past year, SAP has met with resistance from customers to the most recent roles-based pricing that required an expensive upgrade to version 4.6 for users needing new applications.
For example, Lucent Technologies, one of SAP's flagship sites, was told that the upgrade would run into millions of dollars for what amounted to a new mySAP.com Workplace user interface.
Plattner will confirm a partnership with web trading platform developer CommerceOne, according to sources close to SAP's management. Henning Kagermann, also SAP co-chairman, is expected to expand on the recent announcement that SAP is teaming up with Nortel/Clarify for customer relationship management (CRM) solutions.
SAP has a long history of tactical partnerships, but not for strategic products. Its philosophy has always been that integration was its first priority and that could only come from coding its own products.
For example, Plattner held partnership talks in 1998 with supply chain software specialist i2, but the deal was dropped once engineers saw the code. The recent move towards partnerships shows SAP's attitude has change.
The company has been forced to work with a partner because it has lost ground in key markets such as e-procurement, CRM and supply chain, as customers chose so-called best-in-class products rather than waiting for SAP to get its development act together.
Customers will also want to know how committed SAP is to its mySAP.com Marketplace initiative. Plattner will lead on this in his keynote speech at the conference. However, the company only has a handful of Marketplace customers exhibiting. Earlier this month, SAP said that Waterford Crystal, Eurotunnel and Princes Group have all signed up to the scheme.
In the meantime, SAP's new found enthusiasm for partnerships will be welcome news to the many vendors that feed off the company's success. At Sapphire, announcements are expected from integration vendors Visual Edge and webMethods.
Visual Edge claims to offer easy business process connectivity for non-SAP applications, while webMethods provides trading partner platform integration for ecommerce.
Web deployment platform provider Haht and CRM consulting support group Intellicorp are expected to make major partnering announcements.
vnunet.com will be reporting from Sapphire later this week.
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