SAP experts are usually confident regarding the future prospects of their SAP career, since SAP jobs are among the most in demand in the IT industry. SAP is the 3rd largest software provider world-wide and number one in terms of business solutions. SAP however seems incapable of escaping the financial crisis. Henning Kagermann, CEO of the German group, believes a sudden and unexpected drop of revenue occurred during its third financial quarter of 2008. The giant blames the troubles generated by the world wide economic slow down to justify the drop of investment made by its clients.
SAP still expects growth of 13% in its sales of software and associated services (support) year on year. On the other hand it only expects 4 to 5% growth for is software sales, whereas the company had previously planned for a 20% increase of its budget. This warning concerning the financial results of the 3rd quarter has resulted in a drop of the SAP share price.
In order to cope with these poor financial results, SAP has decided to increase the price of its support contracts. According to a survey published by Ray Wang, Forrester Vice President, SAP has now cancelled the opportunity for its clients to choose between the basic support contract and the premium one.
Among 200 clients surveyed, 80% declared having minimum use of the Basic Contract. On average clients are using their support services less than 6 times a year, which to use this service they must obtain the full subscription to service support even though it is not used very often.
To overcome this cost issue, some clients subscribe to external SAP support companies. Rimini Street, a company created by the founder of Tomorrow Now, declared it was willing to offer an alternate, less expensive SAP support solution. However this one is not available yet, and will deal only with R/3 applications.
Other techniques to reduce the cost of SAP support consist of negotiating extra discounts for the price of the licences. Finally, clients dont hesitate anymore to evaluate competitors offers for CRM products, such as those offered by Siebel, Oracle or Salesforce.com.
However, SAP has become so popular that it can be found in more than 120 countries and across all sectors. It is vitally important for management decision-making, as it provides accurate and efficient data management. Moreover, SAP modules are easily compatible with other applications. The skills shortages that encounter IT companies who are advertising SAP jobs are another sign of the dynamism of the company. So whilst SAP sales are down, the severe shortage of professionals may reduce but we expect SAP professionals to still have many opportunities available for them in the market.