In this exclusive SAP News interview, Michael Kleinemeier, Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE and Digital Business Services, talks about what’s behind the name change of SAP’s services and support organization, and how customers are accelerating digital transformation and business innovation using SAP S/4HANA services packages.

Q: What happens to services and support in a cloud-based world?

Kleinemeier talks about how SAP is providing customers with clear routes to digitize their business using SAP S/4HANA services packages. Image via SAP

A: Services and support become even more important in a cloud-based world. Customers no longer want to purchase software solutions; they want to consume services. They want instant access. Now, with Digital Business Services, we are providing customers with the software they want, in the method they want it so that they can get up and running as fast as possible. And when their solutions are live, they have instant access to our end-to-end support.

Q: How is Digital Business Services evolving – in response to customer feedback as well as technology advancements like SAP S/4HANA?

A: Customers want SAP to show them clear routes they can take to digitize their businesses. It is not if, but when and how. We provide clear methods and access routes for customers to take towards cloud, digital and SAP S/4HANA. In terms of the technology, we now provide outcome-based services in a packaged approach that help customers reduce total cost of investment and ownership. One example is the SAP S/4HANA services packages. These help ensure fast and effective support for SAP S/4HANA implementations, and provide a base for customers to adopt future innovations.

Q: Specifically, what business outcomes can SAP customers expect from SAP S/4 Services packages?

A: Customers will enjoy fast and effective support for their SAP S/4HANA implementations. Using the service packages, customers replace their current software system with SAP S/4HANA with a clearly defined scope and price. The packages cover all SAP S/4HANA project phases including system conversion, landscape transformation and new implementations and all deployment options of SAP S/4HANA – on-premise, cloud, and hybrid. Once live, customers have a platform for future innovation and ongoing digital transformation.

Q: What are the steps organizations can take to make the most of these new offerings?

A: We developed these packages to provide customers with a faster, more pragmatic way to get up and running with SAP S/4HANA.  They are available for both cloud and on-premise customers, and cover the three transitioning scenarios: a completely new, green field implementation; a system conversion, or a complete landscape transformation. Organizations need to first understand which scenario best fits their requirements, decide whether their partners will be SAP or a partner company (the packages are also available for partner-led projects), and then engage with their chosen partner to begin the implementation. Of course, our service packages are available for partner use too.

Q: Can you provide some examples of customers that have already used SAP for digital transformation?

A: Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) had a massive logistics problem, with limited road capacity near the port. Their challenge was to allow growth with the given limitations. Using SAP HANA, SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAP Connected Logistics, HPA has digitized all manual steps, connecting every truck, ship and container, and monitoring all data monitored in one system. HPA has massively increased efficiencies, more than doubling throughput of containers from 9 million to 25 million per year.

Italian rail company Trenitalia was paying over €1 billion per year in maintenance. Using SAP’s Predictive Maintenance solution, and by installing over 6,000 meters in their railcars, they continuously monitor their equipment and transmit data. With better maintenance planning cycles, they have reduced maintenance costs by 10% for annual savings of €100 million.

Q: As the next digital era unfolds, what is SAP’s long-term vision to support its customers?

A: We will continue to provide different on-ramps to digital. Customers will never be homogeneous – they always have a range of scenarios, situations and requests. That’s why we are flexible, demonstrating an understanding of their business, and making sure that our spectrum of service and support solutions is broad enough to meet all of their needs.

Top image via Shutterstock