The UK & Ireland SAP User Group has welcomed SAP’s announcement of its innovation plans, which confirms that users will not be forced to carry out compulsory upgrades.

SAP said it will introduce software upgrades, without disruption, on a quarterly basis in areas such as mobility, in-memory computing technology and cloud computing.

“Customers will be able to determine the speed of innovation based on their needs – without major upgrade efforts,” the company said. It added that more details will be provided at the upcoming Sapphire Now + SAP TechEd2011 events in Madrid in November.

As part of the announcement, SAP also said that support for its core Business Suite 7 software, including SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) 6.0, will be available to December 2020, extended from December 2015.

SAP acquires EDI specialist Crossgate

Alan Bowling, chairman of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group, said: “This is welcome news for many SAP users as it gives them certainty around the product for the rest of the decade. In what is still a challenging time for many organisations, some predictability of the future is welcomed.

“One of the things that you always want to avoid in IT is wholesale change as it creates a raft of challenges and costs. The important thing here is that SAP is giving customers the choice in how and when they adopt some of the innovative technologies and solutions the company is developing.”

He added: “We’d also expect to see more organisations upgrade to the latest versions, as they can now see a clear, long-term future for the product.”

SAP said that the software upgrades will also include the implementation of business analytics in transactions and improvements to the user experience, such as side panels, landing pages or process extensions to mobile devices.