Software // Information Management
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4/16/2009
08:42 AM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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SAP BusinessObjects Changes BI Pricing

SAP BusinessObjects is trying to simplify its pricing model to more closely match SAP's ERP engine-plus-users pricing model. The change only applies to enterprise BI customers... SAP does not publish its price list, so what's not at all clear is how sweet, or sour, a deal this is.

It's April 16, the day after tax day in the U.S. Will you be getting a refund or have to pay up? The same question applies to the new SAP BusinessObjects pricing announced yesterday.

I have often said BI pricing is a buyer's nightmare. No two vendors package products the same way, so defining requirements and evaluating alternatives can be a painful process. You would think that procuring the software is relatively easier, but it's often not.To that end, SAP BusinessObjects is trying to simplify its pricing model to more closely match SAP's ERP engine-plus-users pricing model. The change only applies to enterprise BI customers. SAP BusinessObjects already has a straight-forward model for SMBs, which can buy individual products like Crystal and Xcelsius a la carte or the Edge Series, an all-in-one platform (production reporting, business query, dashboards) for up to 20 concurrent users.

In the new pricing scheme, enterprise customers will pay a named user license fee for one of two roles. The roles are primarily an information consumer role (called "view and explore") and a power user authoring role (called "design and analyze"). In addition, there is a server fee that now includes all the platform services -- services such as Polestar, Oracle E-Business Suite adaptors, PeopleSoft integration, Mobile and so on.

The view-and-explore role is relatively generous and includes the new, iTunes/Google-like Polestar as well as Live Office for Excel integration. Web Intelligence interactive users, however, fall into the "design and analyze" camp. According to Franz Aman, VP of Product Marketing, the new pricing is also intended to make it easier for customers to extend BI's reach by lowering the cost of the view and explore role. In fact, the "view and explore" role is now included in existing SAP ERP professional user licenses. In theory, it makes it easier for SAP customers to buy into the SAP BusinessObjects platform, as they now only have to buy the BI server license.

SAP does not publish its price list, so what's not at all clear is how sweet, or sour, a deal this is. Does the user-role-plus-server approach cost more or less than the server-only model? I look forward to hearing from customers as they negotiate under these new pricing policies!

One change that is a clear positive: customers can now set up test and development environments at no additional charge. That should better allow customers to follow best practices for separating such environments. It's also in contrast to some BI vendors who charge full price for such environments

Coincidentally, the theme of BI Scorecard's next customer webinar is BI pricing (April 30th), with a side-by-side comparison of how BI vendors package their products. Subscribe or purchase any document to receive an exclusive invitation.SAP BusinessObjects is trying to simplify its pricing model to more closely match SAP's ERP engine-plus-users pricing model. The change only applies to enterprise BI customers... SAP does not publish its price list, so what's not at all clear is how sweet, or sour, a deal this is.

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