With SAP shutting off support for 4.6C and older versions of its R/3 ERP platform, users face a decision: Should they upgrade or migrate to Oracle's Project Fusion?
SAP AG still has thousands of users on its R/3 ERP platform. Under a licensing structure introduced last year, dubbed 5-1-2, those users on 4.6C and older systems are facing either a maintenance shutout or a potentially significant support fee hike by the end of next yeara deadline that looms current for those users.
Faced with impending changes in their system support plan, many users are upgrading to SAPs newer platformsEnterprise 4.7 or mySAP 5.0 (also known as Enterprise Central Component 5.0). However, others are taking a wait-and-see approach, particularly in light of recent shifts in the enterprise resource planning landscape.
"SAP is trying very hard to get legacy R/3 users migrated over. They dont want to be in a position where we have a dead piece of software. That opens up the decision five years from now, Does Oracle [Corp.] have a better solution?" said Scott Hicar, CIO of Maxtor Corp., who is currently on R/3 4.6C, which is facing the end of its Mainstream Maintenance support next year. "At end of life, do you pay more and get no enhanced functionality, or do you migrate? Were obviously being nudged by escalating maintenance costs."
The questions Hicar said he and many of his contemporaries are asking is whether to upgrade to 4.7 (which brings little more than a maintenance extension); migrate to the next-generation ECC platforms; or do nothing and wait to see what Oracles Fusion has to offer.
Instead of being the center of the universe, Oracle now just wants its middleware to have strings to pull on everything in the universe, write Lisa Vaas. Click here to read her column.
"I dont see a scenario where we ever move away from SAPs core engine," said Hicar, in Milpitas, Calif. "But five years down the road, assuming Fusion works, and where theyre competing with SAP, say with PeopleSoft, why wouldnt I buy that?"
At the same time, the jump up to 5.0 is a huge investment, and Hicar is questioning the business value. "Integration is easy today, so that isnt such an interesting buying proposition," he said.
The fact is the modernization that is occurring with many ERP systemssuch as SAPs NetWeaver, Oracles Fusion and Microsoft Corp.s Dynamicswill make it easier for users to swap out competitors components while still maintaining their core system.
At the same time, those major changes will also cause no small amount of consternation for users.
To modernize their systems, SAP and Oracle are componentizing their applicationsbreaking down the applications into usable parts that can be integrated with other components. Theyre both also placing their applications on top of their respective integration platforms (NetWeaver and Fusion), which will make it easier to swap out and integrate various application components, making interoperability, in theory, that much easier.
SAP looks to keep Oracle at bay. Click here to read more.
Oracle, meanwhile, has three separate ERP suitesE-Business, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards (plus Siebel) and it is taking "the best of" functionality from each and rewriting into a super suite (Project Fusion). While Oracle is still going to offer "lifetime support" for those separate ERP suites, the prevailing notion is that no new upgrades will come once Fusion is in place, forcing users to choose to stay put with their current systems with no more value add or migrate to Fusion.
The clock is ticking.