My Brief History
I started in SAP Active Global Support as an intern in 2005, where I worked in their account team (then called TAS), the operations team (doing EarlyWatch connection setup), and then in the delivery group (Center of Excellence). For the roughly 4 years after that I had the opportunity become a Senior Support Consultant working in the Business Intelligence group. I worked in both SAP Americas in Newtown Square, PA and St.Leon/Rot, Germany. I absolutely loved my position there. I got to work with some of the biggest SAP customers in the world (Nike, Apple, ConocoPhilips, Coca-Cola, Nestle, just to name a few) in some of the coolest places in the world (Chicago, San Francisco, London, Switzerland, Netherlands, Stockholm, Johannesburg, just to name a few). My responsibilities were mainly to provide MaxAttention services, answer performance related OSS messages, and de-escalate customers. In many of the cases I was sent into escalations as a firefighter. Such an amazing experience to be in the trenches of a software deployment gone bad. This being something most SAP customers (and especially SAP) do not normally like to talk publicly about. Let’s face it, software always has it’s flaws.
Some of the key things I learned most during my career in SAP Support:
- There are a whole slew of SAP Customers who are not ready to implement SAP software. I found that many escalations and project failures had way more to do with the way the organization reacted to business process change than the software itself.
- The people buying SAP software are rarely the people using it.
- The most deadly people (i.e. best people to work with) at SAP were the ones who had the strongest network within SAP
- The TREX (and now HANA) team is one of the brightest and most progressive enterprise dev team I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. There is a reason the technology is such a massive leap from older legacy SAP technologies and it’s largely due to the people involved with the project.
- Enterprise business people do not get tech and enterprise tech people do not get business.
- Scaling organizations is an incredibly difficult thing to do.
How do you get SAP Support to work for you?
I still have many of my close friends who work in SAP support, so for me sometimes opening an OSS message is like picking up the phone to see how an old friend is doing. Even though I’ve been in many high pressure situations, I’ve always remembered that there is indeed another person on the other side of the conversation. Unfortunately, most people don’t think this way. I suspect this is largely due to the sad nature of how outsourcing is sold and presented to IT decision makers. Anyway, here is some insight I thought I’d share so that you can get the most out of SAP Support’s process:
- Be thorough as possible in your error analysis. SAP offers courses on this actually, it’s called Root Cause Analysis (RCA) and it’s an invaluable skill. I still use that methodology to this day.
- Much of my success in solving customer’s OSS messages was my ability to reference other customers with similar situations. So the more detail (with as much technical jargon as possible) you can include in the message. Do it. Every bit helps.
- One thing I don’t think customers understand – do not contact support if you can’t reproduce the error, or SAP can’t reproduce in your system. It’s a waste of your time, and SAP support’s time.
- The fact that you don’t have an adequate DEV/TEST system is not SAP Support’s fault. Invest in quality, it helps tremendously.
- Open the damn SAP Router connection to your system. Seriously, just open it.
- Many people (including myself) get very frustrated when the person from support is not the correct resource to be responding to your support request. This is what I normally do: (1) make sure the RCA was done thoroughly (2) make sure the issue is reproducible and then (3) kindly ask the person to forward your request to the next level of support. The person you are dealing with is usually just there to ensure you’ve done (1) and (2) properly (hint- most customers don’t)