As part of this transition, current customers will begin experiencing some of the added benefits of SAP Enterprise Support beginning in July at no additional cost, with graduated pricing beginning in January. Uwe Hommel, executive vice president of Global Service & Support at SAP, explains what the model offers to customers.
Mr. Hommel, what were the reasons behind SAP’s decision to switch to a new support model?
The world of IT is becoming increasingly complex. We go to customers with the aim of making their entire IT landscapes operable and supporting these landscapes with a comprehensive service offering – whether they run SAP software alone, or together with products from other vendors or their own homegrown solutions. Customers expect their solutions to operate smoothly.
With the new model, we’re taking on more responsibility and working to standardize all tools and processes that customers need to manage the change and operate their business-critical applications. We’re also forming a competence network for SAP and partner software through which we can offer third-level support.
What are the benefits of standardizing software operation?
We’re finding more complex system landscapes in which SAP solutions, non-SAP software, and customers’ and partners’ own developments are meshed together – with no clear divide between them. This is why we have to standardize operation and support more business processes from end to end. By introducing our integration platform, we have considerably broadened the scope of the support we offer. We now support all languages and environments, from Java and C++ to .Net, WebSphere, and WebLogic.
One of the benefits of this for customers is that they don’t have to hire specialists at great expense. Another is that standardization makes it easier to certify the engineers who operate the system landscapes. And once sufficient standardized expertise is available in the market, operating costs will go down as well.
What are the core elements of SAP Enterprise Support?
The most important part of SAP Enterprise Support is the improved support for the continuous optimization and enhancement of IT solutions. The enhancement packages and new switch framework enable companies to choose which functions to start using – but they don’t have to upgrade first. Customers can avoid development costs for custom enhancements, because we determine ahead of time whether the enhancement in question is covered by the SAP standard functionality. If the enhancement is not covered, we inform customers and partners on how they can develop it without increasing their maintenance costs.
With SAP Enterprise Support we are not only supporting SAP code, we’re also providing platform, enterprise service-oriented architecture (enterprise SOA), and application support.
What does that mean in terms of costs?
Our intention is that SAP Enterprise Support will pay for itself. The end-to-end concept of enhancement packages for all SAP Business Suite applications will make innovations and enhancements available at a fraction of the previous costs. Annual operating costs will go down. With this model, customers benefit from tools for which they would normally have to acquire licenses.
Moreover, the standardized application operation enables customers to obtain the necessary expertise on the market more cheaply and to outsource more tasks. Last but not least, customers gain more control over the performance and availability of their systems. The higher costs are more than made up for by, first, innovation without upgrades; second, holistic and integrated application operation with SAP Solution Manager; and third, support for business networks and for enterprise SOA, in particular. The growing complexity in IT will become manageable.