The third-party enterprise resource planning (ERP) maintenance industry is a tricky one. Described as "nascent" by Frank Scavo, president of management consultancy Strativa and IT research and advisory firm Computer Economics, it has indeed yet to have taken off, despite being in existence for some years now.
Unfortunately, last year's lawsuit in which TomorrowNow, a subsidiary of SAP, was found guilty of computer intrusion and copyright infringement for accessing Oracle (News - Alert) servers without permission, has certainly set third-party ERP maintenance back. It lives on, however, and continues to grow.
Indeed, two large providers of third-party maintenance for ERP systems, Rimini Street and Spinnaker Support, reported gains this past August. The latter company provides support for Oracle, JD Edwards and SAP (News - Alert) ERP systems and reported that revenue increased 44 percent in the first half of the year compared to 2011. The former, meanwhile, services JD Edwards, SAP, PeopleSoft and Oracle systems and reported a 30 percent increase in revenue for Q2 compared to last year.
Put simply, the primary reason for this is that OEM vendors charge high amounts for ongoing support, while many customers feel that they aren't receiving proper value for how much they're charged. A recent Aberdeen Group research report, “Extending ERP’s Lifecycle with Third-Party Maintenance,” concurs with this.
“In organizations between $100 million and $500 million in annual revenue, the average yearly cost of maintenance is 15.7 percent of the software license for third-party maintenance, compared to 18 percent for vendor-managed support," wrote Aberdeen (News - Alert) Group analyst Nick Castellina in the report. "The difference in potential savings could be almost $25,000 for those organizations.”
Of course, there are other factors, namely value. Companies may want to keep their systems even after vendors discontinue support.
However, at the end of the day, it's up to each individual company whether or not third-party ERP maintenance is worthwhile as both OEM and third-party each has its own benefits.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey