Recent media discussions have centered on the value of maintenance and support offered by technology companies. SAP was also mentioned. That caught my attention: “Value and expertise were less important than price when it comes to maintenance and support” ? As someone who has worked in this industry for more than two decades, I feel the partially drawn conclusion overly simplistic.
Actually, what I hear from our customers is the exact opposite. I talked to customers, small and large, broad and narrow footprint, about this, and the questions we discussed shows that the proactive maintenance and support offered by SAP is vital and appreciated.
Customers talk about numerous issues. The main points in these conversations are around business value and how maintenance and support can help to enabling innovation, solution adoption and new business processes while protecting already-made investments. Clearly, expectations to support have shifted from “incident handling” to support the generation of business outcomes.
For our customers it is important that SAP delivers enhancements and updates but also sets the basis for legal and regulatory compliance, also in complex case where deep process changes are required to meet changing regulatory environments, for example, for IFRS or REACH. For another example, SAP delivers over 2,200 notes for installation of legal changes globally in a year alone. This is especially also true when it comes to deliver enhancements, updates and fixes for software where the source code is not open.
Even more important to them is that SAP has committed delivering updates and enhancements for the core SAP applications at least another 10 years (until 2025, which is the current commitment) : http://news.sap.com/sap-committed-innovation-choice-sap-business-suite/
SAP offers the scale and speed to make sure that mission critical breakdowns are handled reliably, and responded proactively by corrective action plans for priority one messages, as SAP does with SAP Enterprise Support; with worldwide coverage through more than 8,000 Support Engineers. Customers are also looking to SAP to deliver advice on how to improve business outcomes that allow them to benchmark against business KPIs and to receive dedicated, focused advice on how to improve based on available Support services being part of the contracted service. Equally important to them is that SAP makes sure that a landscape stays close to the standard to help secure low TCO and allow for clean and simple upgrades.
In times where more and more of our customers operate hybrid landscapes (on-premise and cloud ; SAP and non-SAP) it is vital for them that SAP delivers a seamless end-to-end support experience across those landscapes with cloud and on-premise/hosted solutions; e.g., driving integrated incident handling, end-to-end business process monitoring and improvement, and business outcome recommendations. This is the core of the SAP ONE Support program.
I could go on, but following already these main points in my conversations it becomes clear that for our customers there is only one clear answer when it comes to maintaining and growing their IT landscapes : SAP Support. As the above conversations reveal that you can’t maximize your business outcomes if you minimize maintenance and support.
That’s why my colleagues and I will continue to focus on innovation and business outcomes in our support services. Because we believe that “commoditizing” support services potentially increases the risk for customer and that cannot be the task of a Support service.