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SAP Extends Support for ECC until 2027
by Michael Pearson
Big Win for Customers as SAP Gives Clarity over Product Support Timelines
SAP recently announced that mainstream support for products including ECC and ERP 6.x has been extended until the end of 2027. At the same time SAP also announced a commitment for supporting S/4HANA until 2040.
More specifically, customers can now opt to stay on their ECC systems until the end of 2030, if they are willing to pay an increased annual maintenance cost for break/fix support after 2027.
Although the announcement was expected, the timing was a surprise to many. SAP industry insiders expected that this might come several years from now, when customers would already be under the gun to migrate or go off support. Ex-CEO Bill McDermott seemed to have a knack for addressing issues after they had reached boiling point and customers were already irate. This seems to signal a new era at SAP; one of proactively addressing customer concerns and in building strong relationships over the long term - not just talking about it.
America's SAP Users' Group (ASUG) was obviously involved in discussions with SAP before the announcement, as CEO Geoff Scott was quoted in the news release as giving his support for the initiative. This is also interesting, as it implies that SAP is coordinating its actions closely with ASUG - which has not always been the case in the past. This is also a positive sign for customers.
What This Means for Customers:
1) If you've already migrated to S/4HANA - Congratulations. This recent news announcement doesn't really impact you, except that you've been told by SAP that your S/4 system will be supported until 2040. Hopefully you'll be retired by then and on a tropical island, so no need to read any further.
2) If you're already underway with planning or executing your S/4HANA migration - There's no need to change course, and you should probably stick to the plan. The worst time to do a system conversion/implementation is when you're up against a hard and immovable deadline (anybody remember Y2K?).
3) If you haven't even thought about it yet, then you can take your time. For a while. If you haven't started your migration by 2025 then you might regret it later. A few years can go by real fast, so better to start planning your window of opportunity sometime over the next few years.
There are, of course, many reasons why it makes sense for some companies to move to S/4 sooner than later. Not the least of which is the fact that you're not going to get any new stuff from SAP until you move to S/4. No more R&D is being put into your old ECC system, so all your annual maintenance dollars are going into just keeping the lights on.
It might not help you sell it in the boardroom, but sometimes you won't know the benefits of having the latest and greatest until you have it and start using it.
Our advice to customers remains unchanged, even after the recent news from SAP. We recommend finding a six to twelve month window of opportunity when you can afford to invest the time, effort and resources in a migration to S/4; and preferably some time in the next few years. If you're going to do an S/4 migration anyway, you might as well do it at a time that suits you, rather than when being forced to do so.
About the Author: Michael Pearson
Michael is President of CONTAX and claims to be one of the few people in the western world who understands SAP licensing.