SAP today announced that it will continue to support customers on Business Suite 7 until 2030.
This won’t surprise many people, because the 2025 deadline was unrealistic given how slowly SAP’s customers are moving to S/4HANA. It was never likely that SAP would risk its €11.5 million maintenance stream by switching off support for a large proportion of its customers. And it will be a large proportion. Even if you believe the SAP CEO’s S/4HANA adoption projections, there is a big difference between deciding to start this major program and actually fully completing it. Moreover, few CIOs who are implementing S/4HANA Finance now will be ready to switch off all their legacy enterprise resource planning instances by 2025.
SAP and its systems integrator partners present S/4HANA as an opportunity for customers to reimagine their businesses and execute a wide-ranging digital transformation, rather than a mere “technical migration.” The downside of that position is that it raises the program’s cost, timescale, and risk. Many CIOs are currently reluctant to start an ambitious program of uncertain ROI when there are higher, more immediate priorities.
SAP has therefore done the right thing by extending the deadline. This will reduce the pressure on CIOs to investigate other support options. Moreover, by charging a small premium for extended support, as is usual in the industry, SAP incentivizes customers to move forward.
Bottom line: CIOs of SAP customers should still perform a thorough assessment of SAP’s role in their business applications strategy. This extension isn’t an excuse to delay important decisions. Are you going to reduce its footprint as part of an eclectic multiplatform strategy? Or are you going to commit to SAP for another 10-plus years? And if so, how widely are you going to adopt its software-as-a-service products? Forrester can help clients make these decisions and then renegotiate their commercial relationships to reflect the new strategy.