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The insideEdge (SAPinsider Vol. 3, Iss. 1)

by Uwe Hommel | SAPinsider

January 1, 2001

by Uwe Hommel, Senior Vice President, Global Support, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), January (Issue 1)

A decade ago, when SAP was essentially a software vendor, the onus for successfully operating SAP applications was principally on the customer's side. SAP mainly offered "reactive" support: if a customer informed us of a problem, we resolved it. We had some predictive services, like the GoingLive Check and EarlyWatch Alert, which notified customers where future problems may lie, but these services were limited to certain stages in the lifecycle.

Nowadays, our customers tend to run a very large percentage of their core business processes - as high as 80-90 percent - on SAP. They want nothing less than flawless, round-the-clock execution of those critical processes. It is for this reason that SAP has taken the concept of customer support to the next level. SAP, as an e-business solution provider, now not only offers problem-solving support and predictive services, but also a host of offerings that ensure that we safeguard the operations right from the evaluation phase, and that we facilitate the continuous optimization of the operation. Bolstered by strategic relationships with our partners, we have expanded the very notion of support to encompass your entire SAP solution. And we've taken this notion of partnership one giant step forward, bringing customers - both end users and in-house IT teams - into the fold via the SAP Services Infrastructure, which consists of the SAP Solution Manager and the SAP Service Marketplace. (Details about both are provided in this issue.)

Aligning ourselves with customers in this way allows us to dynamically obtain information about a problem, and jointly analyze and resolve it in real time. Imagine an end user who, upon experiencing a problem, clicks on a "Need Support" button embedded in the SAP application. That support request is automatically directed to the appropriate member of her IT organization. Now the IT people and the end user can examine the problem together. If the problem has been identified in the past, the support team member will find the fix for it in the SAP Service Marketplace Support Knowledge Base. If, after this, the in-house IT folks can't resolve the issue, they can contact an SAP support engineer with a click of the mouse. Our engineers now join the problem-solving session, making it a three-way online meeting where everyone can see what's going on. This revolutionary, collaborative functionality provides true in-context, real-time information.

This is, without a doubt, the right way to deliver "support" - or, rather, SAP's more comprehensive and all-encompassing approach of "solution management": unified, seamless, collaborative customer support on one hand and proactive, predictive, and solution optimizing and management activities on the other. The benefits are unrivaled: lower TCO, faster and more accurate resolution of problems, and genuine knowledge transfer that enriches and enhances solution operations.

Uwe Hommel
Senior Vice President,
Global Support, SAP AG

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