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SAP admits enterprise support plan was a mistake

Warwick Ashford

SAP has admitted that it was a mistake to attempt to consolidate all its customers onto a single, more expensive enterprise support plan.

Hasso Plattner, chairman of the software company, said in a conference call to channel partners and customers that SAP had to win back trust after making some mistakes, which included the maintenance plan.

"We did not look at the issue for the angle of a user that was based on fairly old but stable SAP technology," he said.

Plattner vowed to restore customer confidence after the resignation of Léo Apotheker as chief executive.

Apotheker resigned after the SAP supervisory board decided not to renew his contract, which was due to expire in 2010.

The decisive blow, according to analysts, came when a survey revealed that only 50% of employees said they had confidence in the executive board.

The controversial maintenance plan has been cited as another factor contributing to the decision. Plattner admitted playing a role in the decisions about the maintenance fees.

After a year-long negotiation process with SAP user groups, the software maker was forced to reinstate a standard support option in January 2010.

In the leadership reshuffle, SAP supervisory board has charged Plattner with advising the new joint chief executives Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe on technology and innovation.

"SAP needs a strong technology leader to guide product development and inspire confidence in the company's software engineering teams," said Ray Wang, partner at consultancy Altimeter Group.

In another move to shore up technology leadership, SAP has appointed chief technology officer Vishal Sikka to the board, which is a positive move, said Wang.

"Sikka, Snabe and Plattner will work together to restore the balance between sales and product innovation," he said.


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