IT directors plan system upgrades as SAP pulls R/3

The death knell sounded last week on the software that changed the face of global business.

The death knell sounded last week on the software that changed the face of global business.

The German software giant has stopped shipping R/3 and will end normal support in 2009.

SAP R/3, the enterprise resource planning package that turned management consultants' talk of business process re-engineering into reality, will slowly fade away.

With SAP currently accounting for more than 50% of ERP licences worldwide, UK users will have to consider if and when they should upgrade and how far ahead they should plan their ERP strategy.

SAP is offering generous discounts for users to switch to its mySAP package now, but the shift from R/3's client-server architecture to mySAP's web services architecture can be complex.

Derek Prior, research director at Gartner, said, "It is not good enough just to have R/3 running stably now. You need to take a 10- to 15-year view and plan for annual maintenance and upgrades.

"Users will need to assess whether SAP's other enterprise software is good enough for their business requirements."

Colin Palmer, a chief information officer mentor, advised users to consider the SAP migration as an exercise in commercial risk management.

"You have three options: get a third party to take commercial responsibility for the project, involve yourself in the migration, or do nothing." he said. "Raise the issue early and examine your options. This is an issue the board needs to understand."

End of an era >>

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