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By Fred Isbell, senior director and head of Thought Leadership – Digital Business Services Marketing, SAP

As we near the end of this year’s spring event season, one thing is clear: Digital transformation is in the air.  The annual SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG events are now behind us, but people are still buzzing about the sessions, stories, lessons learned, and best practices shared. There’s profound interest in how innovations are adopted, such as running a Live Business, digital boardrooms, and enabling the latest technology.

After listening to customers, practitioners, and analytics throughout the first half of this year, I was inspired to invite a panel of subject-matter experts for the third installment of a Webcast series sponsored by Digital Business Services from SAP, The Future of Support in an Era

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https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=PRF003089

of Cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT).”

  • Elaina Stergiades, research manager of IDC Software and Hardware Support Services
  • Michael Rieder, senior vice president and global head of SAP Enterprise Support & Premium Engagements
  • Sei Drake, chief architect of Co-Engineering and Innovation at SAP America

To kick off the conversation, we discussed the rise of the 3rd Platform that IDC evangelizes as a factor that’s driving new growth of innovations, new business opportunities, and more. Yes, digital transformation is front and center, but with it comes a need for simplification, not increased complexity. And on top of it, there’s an incredible explosion of data from a variety of places, including the fast-accelerating Internet of Things (IoT). 

What should businesses do? The idea of tackling these issues and providing the support needed to succeed is reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s The Scream” painting!

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According to Elaina Stergiades, the promise of the 3rd Platform and the evolution of solutions that support it are transformational. Moving away from a reactive, manually intensive, and linear process, businesses are steadily adopting a proactive and more predictive model. In fact, this new brave world is bringing great technology to innovate the support process and customer experience, including:

  • Cloud solutions: Gain wider access to support data from anywhere to share across the entire user experience and with new levels of integration.
  • Social technology: Collaborate far above the traditional hierarchical and inherently slower support processes
  • Enterprise mobility: Enable support monitoring anywhere and remote support and resolution without traditional closed boundaries.
  • Predictive analytics: Forecast issues before they reach crisis level while offering a better and more direct, personal response.


Michael Rieder
continued the discussion with insightful observations about the market dynamics that businesses are facing – supporting Elaina’s perspective and the need for proactive support for on-premise, cloud, and hybrid environments. He noted that it is critical for businesses to reimagine support by keeping six foundational pillars in mind:

  • Mission-critical support
  • Total cost of ownership
  • Continuous improvement
  • Accelerated innovation
  • Integrated support
  • Business service support


Sei Drake
has weighed in on this topic before in his blog “How to Prepare Your IT Landscape for the Digital Economy.” From his perspective, the evolution of support is happening against the backdrop of changes in the IT industry and the marketplace. The rise of cloud-based solutions and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) are bringing a whole host of new considerations, especially the need for DevOps and co-innovation. We found his suggestions for customers’ considerations quite helpful with examples across several industries.

Like the webcasts I hosted before it – Unlocking the Potential from the Internet of Things and Transforming Digital Visions into Reality – this third in our series was another insightful thought-leadership Webcast from Digital Business Services. Be sure to view the on-demand replay and share with your colleagues.


Fred is the senior director and head of Thought Leadership for Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP.


Join Fred online:
Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, sap.com, SAP Services Hub


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