Thursday, January 14, 2010 started a new era of SAP Support with the introduction of a tiered support model. SAP customers were previously able to choose – SAP Safeguarding to mitigate project risks and SAP MaxAttention offering more comprehensive support. With the new support offerings we are going beyond these supplemental support offerings by providing customers choice for their day-to-day support needs. The advantage of choice comes with a price: Customers are now challenged with figuring out how to select the right support offering and determine what is “right” for their organization. The first step in this process should be to understand the offerings in detail, and today I’ll focus on SAP Standard Support.
The first question customers could ask themselves is: What are my support requirements? The answer relates to the unique qualities of each support offering – each provides a set of standardized and productized support services. Utilization and impact are mostly determined by the customer’s unique situation and more importantly, by the manner in which support services are addressing it. For example having your SAP-application supporting continuous manufacturing processes by managing raw material; system down could have significant, even environmental, challenges, e.g. in situations with a machine cleaning team.
I like a different approach using the support offerings as “thought teasers”. Customers can better understand their business and IT needs by understanding the support service, followed by mapping it to their operational and strategic situation as well as their evolving requirements. This process is similar to selecting a utility company – the evolution of different energy sources, its impact on the environment, price point and reliability are very new aspects which influence the decision making processes for a household selecting a utility company – understanding what is possible will influence the final choice.
A similar process is required to select the support offering. Before talking about the selection process and its associated criteria, let’s explore the support offerings, starting with SAP Standard Support.
SAP Standard Support is similar to the good old one we know from the past. It provides access to Notes and Support Packages to keep the application operational as well as to the Enhancement Packages and new Releases to drive innovation. Standard Support evolved over the years to reflect the criticality of the SAP applications for the customers. Helping customers in production-down situations or where the operation and usage need to be analyzed and improved. With the introduction of Enterprise Support, Standard Support will be back to the roots by providing a state-of-the-art basic support offering.
SAP Standard Support will help customers run the most current SAP applications and maintain their stability. However, the responsibility to leverage the support services provided remains in customer’s hands.
Reactive incident support, available 24 x 7, with a focus on technology and applications is a ‘safety net’ the customer can depend on. Support services included: Early-Watch-Alert to identify improvement potential; Going-Live-Check and Going-Live-Checks-for-upgrade to reduce project risks as well as OS/DB-Migration-Check if a change to a different database or Operating System is considered – these will continue to provide value to the customer. The customers and their IT-departments will remain responsible for analyzing the results of such services and take the respective measures.
SAP Standard Support could be compared to basic health care for your applications. If the application gets sick, the SAP doctor is at your side (remotely), making a diagnosis and recommending treatments. Following through on these treatments remains your responsibility. For preventive, proactive measures, for example, if you like to do some ‘sport’ to improve your health and mitigate risks for health failure, as advised by the doctor, it is your job to make the time to make it happen.
SAP is committed to provide you the necessary information, examples, scenarios, etc. to enable you making an educated decision. Choice puts the decision power and the responsibly in your hands as the customer.
The next blog will explore SAP Enterprise Support in more detail helping the customers to better understand the differences and advantages.