You can open up a restaurant, have the best food and fanciest décor in the world, but if the service sucks, no one will come back to eat. You can also open up a restaurant, put foie gras on the menu, and serve chicken liver in its place. No one will come back to eat.
While this beautifully constructed metaphor may be a slight stretch, it lines up well with SAP Cloud Portfolio, its products, and its service.
SAP is (finally) delivering some delightful products in its Cloud Portfolio, with the user experience getting better with each release. These are products I’m proud of, but I’m sad to say, I’m consistently embarrassed by SAP Cloud Support. This is the business unit that handles incidents generated through application issues in the Cloud products. There’s no reason to harp on the current state of affairs, because I can’t change that. I can, however, offer some constructive criticism that will align Cloud service with Cloud products.
EXPECTATIONS FOR SUPPORT
SAP has claimed many times to have a 24×7, ‘follow the sun’ support system in place. Unfortunately, the reality falls far short of the promise. It’s true that if you call SAP Cloud Support, they will pick up the phone 24 hours a day. However, the only time your incident is being worked on is typically during Indian business hours, where the development team resides. This leads to huge lag times in getting problems fixed.
My recommendation: If SAP will only provide actual support during Indian business hours, say so. The golden rule in consulting is to under-promise and over-deliver. SAP should re-evaluate its support messaging to set customer expectations accordingly.
And for any SAP Cloud Support folks reading this, sorry for all the phone calls. 🙁
When SAP Cloud Support works on incidents, very little information is provided. The most typical response or update is that ‘our development team is working on the incident and we will update you tomorrow.’ Then tomorrow, you’ll get an update with the same message. And again. And again.
Customers would be so much happier and confident that their incident is really being worked on if SAP includes what is actually being done to solve the problem, and by who. Why hide behind generic responses if actual work is being performed by an actual human?
There are published SLA’s for SAP Cloud Support incidents, but they only include response times, not resolution timeframes. For example, a High level incident must be responded to within three days. But this timeframe is missed all the time. Shouldn’t SAP be accountable for this? What recourse do customers have?
There should also be some SLA’s for resolution, because sometimes major software bugs surface that prevent the business from functioning. I’ve been in these tense situations with my clients, with the resolution spanning weeks. It doesn’t make anyone look good. Perhaps if expectations or estimates for resolution are set, customers and partners can at least plan accordingly.
If SAP wants to build the best Cloud menu out there, it’s got to provide commensurate service in the form of realistic expectations, transparency, and accountability. Otherwise, no one will come back to eat.