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SAP user group sees closer collaboration with SAP

Brian McKenna

The SAP UK and Ireland user group is seeing an improved supplier relationship, according to user group chairman Philip Adams, who told delegates at its annual conference that collaboration with SAP has been stepped up in the last year.

At the 25th anniversary conference held in Birmingham, Adams - in his first year as chairman - spoke of the user group’s progress from five R/2 users in 1988, and their “networking vision”. By 1994 there were 14 special interest groups, and now there are more than 60.

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“There have been occasions when SAP would have wished our voice not to be so strong”, he said. But he gave the topic of licensing as one which has been “fraught” in the past, and on which progress has been made in the past year, in terms of simplification, more transparency and more flexibility.

“I know of no other software supplier that is engaging with its customers to the same extent on the topic of licensing as SAP”, he said, citing the cloud extension policy announced in July, where on-premise investments can be taken into consideration. He said he was pleased the supplier’s historic over-concentration on new customers seems to be changing.

And SAP has moved towards its users’ preference of being able to park unused licences by allowing those to be terminated. “The clear point is that they are working with us and offering choice,” said Adams.

Guy Armstrong, chief operating officer of SAP UK and Ireland, joined Adams on stage to confirm the intensified collaboration. He and other senior SAP managers have been speaking much more regularly to the user group leadership, he said. Following last year’s conference, where licensing simplification had been a sensitive topic, highlighted in a user group survey, the supplier set up a task force.

The software company also invited 40 special interest group chairs to a special event, and “opened the doors” around the communication of SAP acquisition and other strategy.

Armstrong said the user group’s 25 years of existence “makes it really relevant”, and that its leadership speaking on behalf of 6,500 members makes the group “hugely important to us as an independent communication vehicle. Getting the message over and over is important to our staying sharp”, he said.


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