Oracle plans to offer support and maintenance for rival SAP's R/3 applications, the software giant said Wednesday.
Applications vendors are trying to lure away each other's customers by offering those users on older software versions cheap deals on support. Given the complexity of the software, users tend to move slowly from one business application release to the next, with the upgrade cycle as long as five years.
Together with its partner Systime Computers, Oracle will extend its support program to include partners that support SAP's R/3 software. SAP is in the middle of moving its customers away from R/3 to its newer mySAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications. Oracle said SAP may pull the R/3 support rug away from users as soon as the end of next year.
The timing of the announcement is deliberate, coming on the second day of SAP's premier Sapphire U.S. user conference in Orlando.
SAP applications run on a number of different databases, with Oracle's one of the most popular. Oracle is keen to encourage those SAP users, some of whom are already also using Oracle's Fusion middleware, to switch over to Oracle applications, offering a 100 percent license credit as a sweetener.
Oracle plans to set up a Solution Support Center for providers of R/3 support to help them run the SAP applications on Oracle databases. The company claims the support services its partner Systime will offer could cost 55 percent less than what SAP charges customers.
Last week, SAP's TomorrowNow subsidiary announced that it will start supporting Oracle's Siebel products at half the cost of what customers are currently paying Oracle for support. TomorrowNow already offers third-party support for older versions of the PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards applications Oracle gained through acquisitions.
A new breed of third-party support companies has grown up over the last few years, including TomorrowNow, which SAP purchased last year, and independent players like Rimini Street and netCustomer.
Global support and consulting company Systime is part of Indian systems integrator CMS Computers and provides support for a wide variety of software including ERP and business intelligence. The company has a particular emphasis on supporting J.D. Edwards software. Systime has offices in 30 countries and employs 8,000 staff.