Skeptics might also say that SAP is intent on keeping its customers from straying to newer and possibly less expensive applications from the likes of Workday and Salesforce.com, while also avoiding serious losses in lucrative maintenance revenue.
User groups hailed the new licensing changes, saying they represented a successful lobbying effort with SAP.
"This is yet another step in the right direction from SAP and shows that the company is listening to our calls for flexibility," said Philip Adams, chairman of the UK and Ireland SAP User Group, in a statement.
However, SAP's actions don't go so far as to allow customers to "park" licenses they aren't using, Adams noted. "Therefore customers need to be careful and consider whether they are likely to need licenses they are not using at the moment in the future. Once licenses have been terminated they cannot be switched back on. If a customer needed those licenses in the future they would need to purchase them again and at potentially lower discounts."
However, for companies that have been hurt badly by the economy in recent years, "this policy from SAP could be very attractive, if after rediscounting the maintenance fees reduce."
SAP's "constructive cooperation" with users has delivered an "excellent result" that benefits customers worldwide," said Andreas Oczko, chairman of the German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG), in a statement.
"Decision-makers at SAP user companies can now react accordingly to the rapid pace of change in economic conditions -- such as new or changed areas of business, fluctuations in staff headcount, or changes in the enterprise organization -- and plan their investments in SAP software more effectively. This is something we have worked on jointly for a long time," Oczko added.
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