For many companies, moving to the cloud is the “next normal” in business environments. It’s not about “if” anymore – it’s about “when” and “how.” This trend has dominated discussions in the enterprise technology space for a long time and has been further accelerated by the global pandemic.
In a recent survey of U.S.-based CIOs, 85% of respondents said that moving to the cloud was the foundation for a future-ready enterprise, enabling improved productivity and providing the speed and flexibility businesses need to respond quickly to changing conditions. The more insecure environments get – and the pandemic, climate change, and many other elements today contribute strongly to insecurity – the more cloud benefits like flexibility and less bundled commitments to technology will play a role.
Moving to the cloud is not like flipping a switch. Having built up extensive and customized on-premise hardware and software landscapes over time, many companies will need time to move their business processes to a cloud-based environment, especially taking into account the more standardized nature of software as a service (SaaS). This will result in having many different software deployment and consumption models: some will be public cloud, some private cloud or on hyperscalers, some staying on-premise at least in the mid-term. Despite such mixed IT landscapes, customers expect a seamless end-to-end experience from their vendor – especially in support.
At SAP, this expectation is nothing new. In fact, this has always been core to our support strategy. Even before the days of cloud, SAP strove to offer a comprehensive set of business solutions tightly integrated for end-to-end business processes, with seamless experiences on user interfaces, data, and support. This core principle still fits perfectly in the cloud world and provides enormous opportunity for customer value in landscapes that are hybrid or in transition.
So, what does end-to-end support mean? At SAP, this is about having a unified approach to all aspects of support. The goal is one feature-rich, foundational support offering, one customer-facing support interface, one support infrastructure, and one support organization that maintains a strong global culture of service and expertise.
Currently, SAP solutions are accompanied by our flagship support offering SAP Enterprise Support, which is embedded in cloud subscriptions and is the offering of choice for on-premise SAP software solutions. This can provide our customers with the confidence that they will receive the same high-quality of support for their entire landscape, no matter the SAP solution they happen to be using at any given moment. We understand that one end-to-end business process might touch several systems and SAP software solutions and, therefore, a support issue will not exist in a vacuum of a single product only. We have the expertise and culture of collaboration to look at problems holistically across an integrated SAP environment.
Here are some recent examples of our continued expansion of customer value:
- In 2020 we launched SAP Cloud ALM, SAP’s next-generation cloud-based application lifecycle management solution that includes best practices and mechanisms to manage and monitor integrated landscapes, not siloed by specific products. Developed to support the implementation and operation of SAP solutions, it is continually expanding its coverage of cloud and on-premise deployments.
- We are always striving to find new ways of making access to support easier for our customers. In 2020, SAP launched a new unified “digital front door” called SAP for Me. The vision for this personalized portal is that customers and partners can access all information, insights, and tasks related to SAP. During the next year, many more support-related tasks and reports will also be made available on SAP for Me to help give customers an end-to-end view of their SAP assets, services, interactions, and more.
- In the last few years, we have introduced new ways for customers to get direct access to support experts and managers. It started with Expert Chat – here, SAP has recently delivered the 1,000,000th on-the-spot support. Customers can start a chat directly with a technical support engineer or schedule a meeting at their convenience. They can even schedule a meeting with a support manager.
- Sometimes it’s even better if you can get a solution automatically. As you would expect from an industry leader, SAP is exploring the next frontier of support innovation: artificial intelligence (AI). For example, the Incident Solution Matching service analyzes a customer’s problem description while they are typing it into the support case and suggests potential solutions. Built-In Support, with its digital support assistant, is already available in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and will be integrated into more products in time. We have launched the automatic translation of the last incident and support assets like SAP Notes or a SAP Knowledge Base Article. And artificial intelligence can also help spot problems before they occur and provide recommendations to prevent future issues.
Through it all, SAP provides the flexibility customers need to make the most of their business while saving time and resources. Whether a company is moving to the public cloud, balancing cloud and on-premise solutions, or just exploring cloud elements at its edges, we can provide the support it needs to be agile and resilient in today’s markets.
The next generation of support is the baseline. It is seamless, end-to-end, proactive, multi-channeled, and intelligent in order to let our customers focus on what matters most to them: driving their business.