SAP Extends On-Premise Mainstream Maintenance Deadline—What Does That Mean for HCM Customers?
SAP announced recently that it is extending mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7—including SAP ERP HCM — to 2027, with the option pay an extra premium for maintenance until 2030. At the same time, SAP committed to mainstream maintenance for SAP S/4HANA until at least 2040.
Why SAP extending mainstream maintenance matters
SAP had previously set the end of mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7 for 2025, so this gives customers two more years to transition to SAP S/4HANA without incurring extra maintenance and support costs. Additionally, the minimum 2040 maintenance date for SAP S/4HANA means customers can implement and invest in that product, knowing their company can use it for an extended time.
For SAP ERP HCM customers, this means their on-premise systems will have two more years of mainstream maintenance, giving a longer window to make the inevitable move to the cloud for HR systems.
What options do SAP ERP HCM customers now have?
SAP’s announcement doesn’t change the options for current HCM customers; it just extends the timeline. These are the primary scenarios for current SAP ERP HCM customers going forward:
- Stay completely on-premise with SAP ERP HCM until mainstream maintenance ends in 2027, or extend with an extra fee until 2030 unless you move to SAP SuccessFactors or implement SAP HCM for S/4HANA, on-premise edition.
- For SAP S/4HANA customers only, implement SAP HCM for S/4HANA, on-premise edition when released (estimated in 2022) to stay on-premise until 2030.
- Go hybrid by staying on-premise with SAP ERP HCM for core HCM capabilities (again until 2027 or with an extra fee until 2030), while adding cloud talent modules such as SAP SuccessFactors Talent Management.
- Implement full HCM cloud—with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and talent modules, for example.
Should I stay (on-premise), or should I go (to the cloud)?
The extension of mainstream maintenance for SAP legacy software does mean that your organization can delay a move away from your on-premise system to the cloud without paying extra in fees. However, if you are looking for true innovation in your HCM systems, the cloud is the only way to go. SAP itself is committing far more resources to new features in SAP SuccessFactors, and that is where its HR focus will be going forward.
There are many benefits to the cloud to consider, including:
- No hardware to maintain means a lower total cost of ownership.
- Shifting the responsibility for HR software management from IT to HR.
- Constant innovation through automatic update
- No more costly and disruptive upgrade projects
- Expanded manager and employee self-service for day-to-day HR tasks
The nature of work is changing. The nature of many HR tasks, from recruitment to retire, is changing. It will likely prove beneficial to your company to adopt new technologies to meet the requirements of the modern workforce. While it may be tempting to take advantage of the extra years of mainstream maintenance for your on-premise system, the reality is your organization will likely be moving to a cloud HCM eventually. In the end, it will be more costly to delay a move to the cloud.
Bottom line: Extending mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7 applications to 2027 may give many customers some peace of mind—but your organization should still be looking at how a cloud HCM system like SAP SuccessFactors can help you achieve your company’s transformational goals.