In the early 1990s I ran a mainframe Data Dictionary (metadata repository) for an insurance company, and we were members of the vendor’s user group. We were able to participate in suggesting and voting for enhancements to the product; the vendor made sure we were aware of the pros and cons of each, especially if they didn’t really want to implement them. 🙂

In May this year I wrote in my SCN blog (Enhancement request process for SAP PowerDesigner, via ISUG (part 1)) about the PowerDesigner enhancement request process available via the Independent SAP Technical User Group (ISUG–TECH. Anyone can raise or view enhancement requests, and ISUG-TECH members can vote. Periodically I will bundle up the changes and pass them on to SAP.

The intention is to provide a collective voice for the community, and to enable SAP to have a better view of what PowerDesigner users really want. PowerDesigner uses vary in their willingness to raise enhancement requests directly – not everyone will raise cases for seemingly minor matters, and we’re all guilty of muttering to ourselves when something doesn’t work the way we expect or want it to, and just carrying on using the tool. We’re also generally unaware of what other PowerDesigner users think, of how much of our experience is shared by everybody else.

Since I wrote that blog post, not much has happened to the list and I’m trying to understand why. The following table shows the number of requests raised and the number of votes cast for each month from February. I added my personal backlog of enhancement requests, hence the blip in March.

Month (2014)
Enhancements Created
Votes Cast
February 1 1
March 39 0
April 2 1
May 0 4
June 1 1
July 1 1
August 0 2
TOTALS 44 10

So why has so little happened? I know that PowerDesigner isn’t perfect and every user I talk to has something to say about PowerDesigner, so why haven’t you been flocking to the site to have your say?

  • Is the process unclear?
  • Is it a lack of publicity?
  • Is it because you don’t want to join ISUG-TECH? (if you’re a member of a SAP user group, you may already be a member of ISUG-TECH)
  • Perhaps you’re all asking yourselves “what’s the point? I can already raise cases directly”?

I’d really like to know, so please respond to this blog post and tell me why you’re not submitting and you’re not voting .

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4 Comments

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  1. dirk jaeckel

    As i wrote already before, i´ve been isug member for a l,ong time and then they changed the member model and i dont like to pay for delivering content …

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    1. George McGeachie Post author

      I didn’t know about ISUG myself until I joined the UK group, who are (almost) completely inactive when it comes to PowerDesigner.

      For me, I think the cost of ISUG is worth it, especially if I could get an employer to pay for it ..  wait .. I am my employer .. OK, it’s worth it.

      I can see why ISUG have to charge for membership – they are independent, and don’t receive funding from SAP as far as I know. Associate membership with a web subscription allows you to vote on enhancements, and the cheapest price can be had by paying $199 for 2 years.

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  2. bobbi michaels

    > So why has so little happened?

    In a single word, PRICE.

    In another single word, GREED.

    SAP needs to milk every dime out of every Sybase asset to recoup the comically extravagant “Premium Pricing” paid for Sybase.

    The product was nearly $10,000 for a single seat when Sybase owned the product. SAP ***TRIPLED*** THE PRICE, presumably to recoup capital squandered on Sybase.

    At $10,000 per seat, I could make a defensible business case to use high-end modeling tools to expedite development of superior products. That’s simply impossible at $30K. Even AutoDesk isn’t so unconscienably greedy. Not even Computer Associates prices products so extortionately!

    From the outside looking in, SAP bought a B-tier database company to enable SAP application sales without the humiliating need to buy a DBMS engine from their arch-rival and long-time nemesis (aka: Oracle) in the Enterprise App product space.

    To assuage organizational pride, SAP bought Sybase’s database engine, and got some incidentals as part of the Sybase corporate assets.

    In SAP’s view, PowerDesigner isn’t even an “also-ran” product. PowerDesigner is “detritus” to SAP, so SAP uses the Computer Associates (CA) business model for obsolete products. Old products go to CA to die. CA sells products at exorbitant prices to anyone desperate enough to buy the product. Sky-high prices are part of the business model.

    Technical user groups only succeed if enough users adopt a technology. SAP is obviously indifferent to PowerDesigner sales. It’s just a “mature”, “legacy”, “post-support” product dying in SAP’s software graveyard.

    Alas, it’s *far* and away the best modeling tool ever.

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    1. George McGeachie Post author

      In the Sybase days, PowerDesigner support was extra. Today, there’s a one-off cost which includes support, with prices on the SAP Store (I checked a few minutes ago) ranging from $3300 for Data Architect without the repository (equivalent to ERwin or ER/Studio without a repository) to nearly $30,00o for Enterprise Architect with all the SAP Hana options etc. Take out the SAP options, and that falls to $14,250, not a bad price considering what you get for your money. These prices are all for a licence that can be shared, not a workstation licence. I suspect most organisations can negotiate better prices than these.

      I’ve had several conversations with SAP over recent years; SAP may not have realised what they had at the start, but they certainly do now, and PowerDesigner is definitely NOT getting the CA treatment.

      That apart, I don’t think that the price of PowerDesigner affects whether or not people use ISUG to vote on enhancements; that decision would only be made by people who have PowerDesigner, and there are plenty of those.

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