Should the SAP Conversion Agent by Itemfield be included in the base price?
Boy! Did I get a lot of responses from yesterday’s blog about the new Conversion Agent!
There were two general threads to the discussion: first, those of you who have seen the tool agree that it is very impressive. Of course I’m delighted to hear that, becasue I think the tool is really great. But the other thread to the conversation, which was pretty consistent, was that people felt like the product should be inlcuded in the SAP NetWeaver XI license. That’s the part I’d like to talk about.
SAP NetWeaver Exchange Infrastructure ships with an impressive array of built-in features, and is priced accordingly. Of course, if you need functionality that is not part of the basic feature set – say, a CICS adapter for mainframe connectivity – then you can buy that adapter from our partner iWay. But you only pay for what you need. If that adapter – or the SAP Conversion Agent by Itemfield, for that matter – were included in the base price, then we would have to raise the base price (after all, these things don’t come for free. Our partners and we have a lot invested in them, and we all need to make profit). Then customers would have to pay for features they don’t want or need. Why should you pay for the conversion agent if you don’t use it?
The XI pricing model is consistent with the way that most integration vendors price their products. While there is always a sticker shock effect when evaluating software purchases, I believe that we are pretty reasonably priced. One very large customer recently evaluated SAP NetWeaver XI against one of the major players in the integration market; and what they concluded from their analysis was that, when you consider not just the purchase price, but the true cost of messaging, including the cost to maintain the infrastructure, the cost of making changes, etc., SAP NetWeaver XI was actually the more cost-effective solution.
Partners, and the partner ecosystem, are crucial elements of the SAP strategy moving forward. For examples, see I LOVE Open Source—Really!, or my June blog on the SAP Launches Inititative for Industry Content. But we can only have a large, robust, and productive partner community if there is the opportunity for people and organizations to be rewarded for their contributions.
There’s no free lunch in this world. You pay for what you get (wow! two cliches in a row!) – and hopefully you pay a fair price. Ultimately, it is up to the market to determine that.