Two in five users of BusinessObjects business intelligence software have said that the support provided by SAP is not as good as other software vendors, according to a new user group survey.

This was just one of the findings from the UK&Ireland SAP User Group survey that indicated a need for SAP to engage more with its BusinessObjects customers.

The research also found that 57 percent of SAP BusinessObjects users found it difficult to use SAP's Service Market Place support portal, and that 63 percent said it was hard for them to search and find relevant support information.

Alan Bowling, chairman of the UKI SAP User Group, said: "These figures show that there is still more work to do when it comes to supporting and communicating with BusinessObjects users.

"We have an important role in ensuring that they are able to effectively interact and influence SAP."

Craig Dale, chief executive at UKI SAP Group, added: "We are working with the SAP customer experience team to see how they can improve the experience, and we are looking to put together a customer advisory council, set up specifically for the support portal."

Despite users' percieved problems with SAP support, there has been a trebling in the number of existing SAP customers using BusinessObjects - 21 percent at present, compared to just seven percent last year.

"As we see more SAP customers using BusinessObjects tools, now we've got the customer expertise feeding back to the user base. Having that expertise will allow us to leverage that for the wider SAP community," said Dale.

In addition, a higher proportion (76 percent compared to 69 percent last year) of users are now using the latest version of SAP's core ERP business suite, ERP 6.0, which the user group believes indicates that more members are realising the functionality and support benefits of upgrading to the latest release.

According to Dale, the rate of adoption of the latest version of technology among members of the user group was higher than among non-members, because they have access to more educational initiatives from the user group.

"We've got customers wondering if they have to go on to more expensive maintenance packages, or upgrade to the latest versions. Both have cost implications.

"We are working on bringing that knowledge and education to the customer base so they can make an informed choice," he said.

The user group surveyed 312 SAP user organisations and 96 BusinessObjects user organisations in the UK and Ireland.

The UK & Ireland SAP User Group Conference is taking place on 18-20 November 2012 in Manchester.