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SAP users rattle sabers over charges for user-friendly Fiori apps

Chris Kanaracus | April 16, 2014
SAP user groups are stepping up pressure on the vendor over the fees charged for its user-friendly Fiori applications, saying they should be included as part of the substantial annual maintenance costs customers already pay, particularly given SAP's dismal track record with interfaces for its Business Suite ERP software.

Meanwhile, the terms and conditions don't clearly suggest that Screen Personas must be included in maintenance, although SAP should do so, Oczko said.

For one thing, Personas could lead to higher user adoption of core SAP systems, therefore leading customers to buy additional licenses, he said.

The UK and Ireland SAP User Group is also tracking members' discontent over Fiori pricing.

"We are aware that a number of our members are unhappy and concerned about the need to purchases licenses to use Fiori, rather than it being provided under support and maintenance contracts," group chairman Philip Adams said in an emailed statement. "As such, we are going to put out a survey to all of our members in order to understand these concerns in greater depth."

A key SAP executive in charge of Fiori defended SAP's decision to charge for the software separately.

"It's a value question at the end of the day," said Adi Kavaler, global vice president of UX products strategy and go-to-market, and SAP Fiori chief solution owner.

While Kavaler has a great deal of respect for community members who have protested against the Fiori pricing, some of their comments "read for me like an emotional response rather than getting into a very specific conversation about what the value is," he said.

For example, "people are perceiving Fiori as a UI only," Kavaler said in an interview. "This is one thing that is inaccurate."

"It is not simply some newly painted or rearranged screens," he added in a follow-up email. "Fiori is a brand-new product and future-proofed architecture that is a retrofit on top of 20 year old UI technologies. We have refactored the code to separate the business logic from the client code and created a clean interface (Gateway) for future innovations."

Customers who buy Fiori won't be charged additional money, no matter how many new apps SAP plans to roll out in this particular Fiori license offering, which is also subject to discounts, he said. SAP started with 25 Fiori applications and now has more than 220. Expect at least 60 more in the next few quarters, he added.

But it's not enough to simply examine the cost of Fiori licenses, as the software quickly pays for itself with the amount of time employees save doing common tasks, he added.

SAP also provides the Fiori design paradigm, best practices, and tools for building the applications at no charge, and is simply putting a price tag on the content contained in the Fiori applications it has built, he said.

Kavaler declined to comment on whether SAP is considering any changes to its Fiori licensing policy in light of customer complaints.


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