Businesses worried by the forthcoming hike in SAP maintenance prices are being offered a chance to cut their bills by IT consultancy West Trax.

The Ledbury-based company has developed a free SAP analyser that will show enterprises where their SAP implementations are costing them unnecessarily and claims to be able to save SAP users thousands. The company claims that about 95 percent of all SAP implementations could be improved.

West Trax CFO, Ken Gorf, said that SAP customers could see for themselves how much they could save by using the online tool. "That has a couple of KPIs (key performance indicators), derived from seven sample questions, which provides SAP users with a snapshot of their system."

How much the companies save is variable. "Obviously," said Gorf, "when the customer sees he's saving two pounds and sixpence he's not going to bother with the full service, but when he sees that he can save £400,000, he gets very interested." In fact, said Gorf, savings could rise to higher than that. "With a large, international company, with plenty of different offices, you could be looking at savings of over a million pounds."

Gorf said that most of the savings came from support costs. "Our analyser will show the amount of custom code that is not used, or rarely used - you'd be surprised how much of this there is. Obviously, maintaining this costs a good deal of money in staff - or more likely, contractor - costs, so that's an obvious saving."

He said that the company had a good working relationship with SAP. "What we do doesn't affect their business, we're just showing better ways to use their product." He stressed however, that the company was completely independent of SAP, or any other vendor.