This post Thanksgiving morning, I've asked E-Sourcing Forum's David Bush to chime in with a few words on SAP's long release cycles and delays. And most important, what it means for the SaaS -- or On Demand, if you will -- Spend Management movement.
I wonder why SAP's long product release lifecycles are not generating more controversy and attention. Even though SAP has been relatively quiet with its latest news that it won't be until 2010 when we see a major release update, I must admit I was surprised when I saw this announcement earlier this fall from the German giant. Four years is a long time to wait!
What is fascinating about this news is that is being described as an overwhelming positive advancement for the SAP user base. SAP promised users that the latest version of the company's software would receive no major updates over the next five years! But hidden deep in the article was this blurb: "Darren Martin, a Basis Developer with Victoria British Columbia’s Capitol Regional District, said that many SAP customers have been waiting patiently for SAP to service-enable its software."
Mind you, this is not meant as a particular shot at SAP, who has a huge product line with modules that power almost all the needed back office functionality at some of the world's largest companies. In addition, the article does not detail which platforms will have more upgrade attention over others. This news does seem, however, to be yet another, huge benefit of a SaaS model delivery. All SaaS vendors worth their salt offer major releases every calendar year and, hopefully, many of them per year! Compare this with the old ERP install model -- the constant cycle of purchasing, implementing, rolling out, purchasing, upgrading, rolling out, etc, etc, becomes like dragging an anchor. In contrast, SaaS users will always benefit first in our sector because users can start to drive savings and value right from the day the contract is signed -- and they keep benefiting as improvements are constantly made to the application. Unlike IT, we don't have time to pour concrete only to resurface the road sometime next decade.
Spend Matters would like to thank David for sharing his views. For your daily dose of Mr. Bush -- as opposed to Jason Busch -- check out E-Sourcing Forum!