It’s April 15, 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 today.
I have often said BI pricing is a buyer’s nightmare. No two vendors package their products the same way. Often, defining requirements and evaluating alternatives is 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 their pricing model and to more closely match SAP’s ERP pricing model of engine plus users. The change only applies to enterprise BI customers. SAP BusinessObjects already has a straight forward model for SMBs who can buy individual products like Crystal and Xcelsius a la carte or the Edge Series that is all in one (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.
As SAP does not publish its price list, what’s not at all clear is how sweet, or sour, a deal this is. Does the user role+server cost more than server-only did before? Or less? 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.
Cindi Howson, BI Scorecard