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Dedicated SAP Expertise for the Most Demanding Solution Landscapes: SAP MaxAttention

by Oliver Huschke | SAPinsider

January 1, 2005

Even with extensive in-house IT support, many organizations with large and disparate solution landscapes are not prepared to deal with ongoing management of their applications or the disconnect that often occurs between IT and business goals. For these landscapes, SAP offers its premium support offering, SAP MaxAttention.
 

Integrated, end-to-end application management is critical to cost savings in any solution landscape. However, in the most complex landscapes — large global operations with far-ranging locations that require 24x7 operations, where a mixed bag of components and versions has been inherited over time through mergers and acquisitions, or where outsourcing is a critical part of the IT strategy — application management has its own distinct set of challenges.

Even with extensive in-house support, organizations can be unprepared to deal with the global scope of a project or to include continuous improvement and optimization as a defined part of their practice. Or they may face business processes that require specialized development expertise straight from the software vendor. Perhaps knowledge transfer has been successful within the organization, but is insufficient for outsourced or offshored activities. The larger the operations and more wide-ranging the solutions, the more difficult it can be to identify where, when, and how you can consolidate, enhance, and improve your current solutions.

To add to these headaches, IT and business operations are often out of sync, only connecting over escalations and service level agreements, but not with a mutual understanding of broader requirements and goals. So how do IT organizations in complex solution landscapes not only keep up with the push for cost containment, but respond effectively to the calls for innovation and process improvement?

For SAP's largest customers, this has meant looking for a heightened level of services beyond the significant resources available in SAP Standard Support. These companies are looking for a premium set of services that provides quick identification of what offerings meet their requirements, with a direct connection to SAP, to actually monitor and correct the inefficiencies in their own particular solution landscapes.

SAP extends support to these customers with a premium offering that provides dedicated on-site services with highly personalized planning and direct access to experts — SAP MaxAttention.

What Is SAP MaxAttention?

SAP MaxAttention is an adaptive set of support services designed for large customers with highly complex solutions across a variety of systems, at any stage in their application management life cycle (see Figure 1) — whether it's at the start of a new project (Safeguarding Complex Solutions), during operations (Implementing Continuous Improvement Practice), or as you evaluate upgrades and new releases (Upgrade and Release Planning).

Figure 1
SAP MaxAttention Supports Companies at Any Point in the Application Management Life Cycle

Throughout all these phases, MaxAttention focuses on extending support by providing people and services, working directly with you to close the gaps between IT and business, ensuring that information flows between internal and external support, and seeing that your solutions get the right set of targeted services. A typical MaxAttention customer receives:

  • A dedicated technical manager responsible for service delivery, who serves as a point of contact and direct channel to SAP expertise, including SAP developers, technical teams, solution experts, and others

  • A dedicated support alliance manager, for regular meetings at the executive and business levels

  • Full analysis of the current status of their landscape

  • Regularly updated service agreements, which can include any of the full menu of service offerings as needed

  • Regular reporting on the status of improvements

SAP MaxAttention identifies top issues and needs and offers and delivers solutions according to requirements and defined targets.

Whether you are looking to protect your current solutions as you implement new ones, consolidate your landscape, or upgrade a component, you'll follow the same basic methodology — all based on experience from countless SAP solution and optimization projects. First, SAP analyzes your business processes, your system landscape, and all your investments in SAP solutions to uncover inefficiencies and identify business-critical needs. Then, SAP technical experts define the severity of the problem and work directly with the customer to ensure that the problem is solved.

With SAP experts handling these tasks, you can significantly reduce the maintenance support required from your in-house team — and instead deploy them to value-added, strategic activities.

Gain from Personal Attention and Direct Access — Even at the SAP Executive Level

MaxAttention always begins with a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved. SAP specialists proactively analyze and evaluate progress to improve the quality of the technical solution and minimize project risks. Technical quality managers assigned to customers are responsible for managing on-site service delivery and are your main contacts throughout the term of your maintenance, whether that is months or years. This manager can also call on SAP solution, technology, and development experts, as well as service and support specialists from SAP's global network, to work on site or remotely as needed. In addition, for high-level project and strategy management, a designated support alliance manager meets regularly with your executives to discuss any issues.

Together, these experts help define the solution scope and assess, manage, and mitigate risk. Throughout the full application management life cycle, they measure, monitor, and enhance the system's stability. They also work to enable continual evolution of your systems, so that they can better adapt to changing business demands. The result: greater value from your investment, starting with the go-live and continuing through all points in the life cycle of your solutions.

What's more, with MaxAttention, there is continuous status tracking and reporting for you and your SAP technical manager, and even status reports to SAP's own executive management — for yet another direct channel to SAP.

Start a New Project While Protecting Your Current Processes

When it comes to bringing a new implementation or business process project to an already complex solution landscape, how can you, for instance, guarantee no interruption to users when you can't identify all the solutions at work halfway across the globe? How do you ensure an on-time and on-budget project when your processes span systems, time zones, languages, and development teams? With 24x7 availability so critical, how will you ensure a seamless go-live? With MaxAttention, SAP experts can guide you throughout your project, providing end-to-end, expert support that ensures smooth operation from day one — on time and on budget.

Companies starting a new project will begin using MaxAttention services in the Safeguarding Complex Solutions phase. Here a balanced scorecard methodology — determined from SAP's experience with countless solution projects over the last three decades — highlights these key focus areas (KFAs) across two broad categories:

Delivery

  • Solution feasibility

  • Technical readiness

  • Operations readiness

  • Support readiness

Information

  • Change management readiness

  • Program and project management readiness

  • Technical readiness

  • Architecture and IT strategy

  • Functional and integration readiness

Safeguarding Complex Solutions includes continual KFA analysis to identify high-risk areas. With the customer, SAP determines next steps, activities, roles and responsibilities, and deadlines based on the KFA analysis, including any preventive measures. These measures are then themselves monitored monthly at the KFA level to determine their effectiveness.

The service plan is regularly updated with any of the entire spectrum of SAP services — standard services, safeguarding, solution management optimization, empowering, system landscape optimization, and tailored solution reviews — at your disposal, giving you optimal support for your project. A central project overview delivers analysis by all implementation partners, who jointly create a monthly status report detailing risk-related issues, along with a plan of action. The consolidated results are presented to the project steering committee with recommendations.

Continuously Optimize Current Solutions to Reduce Cost of Operations

For those customers that are taking a look at the inefficiencies in your current solution set, SAP specialists work with you to reduce the costs associated with running your systems while ensuring maximum availability through application change management, business process optimization, data change management optimization, custom code optimization, support organization optimization, release and upgrade strategy, and so on.

During operations, MaxAttention is designed for continuous improvement by maximizing the operation of your SAP solutions and focusing on the areas of business processes, system landscape, automation, and protection of investment (see sidebar). What's more, SAP MaxAttention helps bridge any gaps between your IT department and business units, and the Implementing Continuous Improvement Practice phase begins after your needs have been assessed and objectives have been jointly defined.

SAP then delivers any of its expert services, known individually as SAP Solution Management Optimization, SAP Safeguarding, and SAP Empowering, in conjunction with SAP experts, including a technical quality manager who is responsible for your overall delivery project and helps ensure that expectations will be met. You can also select other individual SAP services depending on your needs, according to the jointly defined, regularly updated service plan. Continuous status tracking and reporting, as well as transparency at the SAP executive management level, keep you in the picture.

For those companies wanting to evaluate their long-term planning and upgrade strategies for your current solutions, MaxAttention also offers Upgrade and Release Planning as part of its services to protect your investment.

SAP MaxAttention: SAP's Experience Is Your Success

SAP MaxAttention goes above and beyond operations by driving ongoing enhancement, and keeping you competitive. It ensures increased uptime, performance, data consistency, and maintainability, and it lowers the total cost of operations. Solutions always remain state-of-the-art, ensuring that investments in SAP are safe and future-proof.

MaxAttention services result from SAP's experience on countless customer projects over the last 30 years — and from feedback out of more than 2,500 onsite service sessions from Active Global Support, and over 34,000 proactive service sessions with more than 70,000 SAP installations worldwide.

For more on MaxAttention, whether it's right for your organization, and what benefits it could bring, please contact your SAP account representative. General information on the MaxAttention service is also available on the SAP Service Marketplace at www.service.sap.com/maxattention.

What Does MaxAttention Tell You About Your Solution Landscape?

MaxAttention takes a careful look at your:

Business Processes
Systematic analysis of end-to-end core business processes, including:

  • Data integrity and consistency design

  • Maintenance and performance of custom code

  • Usability and end-user efficiency

  • Performance optimization

  • Error processing

  • Business process monitoring

  • Application management standards

Automation
Systematic analysis of automated technical functions, including:

  • Job scheduling

  • Runtime and data volume

  • Integration into IT monitoring and operations infrastructure

  • Integration of SAP application management with IT service management

  • Integration of customers' own IT help desk with SAP Active Global Support

System Landscape
Analysis of SAP and non-SAP related systems, including:

  • Network bandwidth requirements

  • System and database configuration

  • Performance bottlenecks

  • Data integrity and consistency

  • Backup and recovery

  • High availability

  • Systems operations skills and resource requirements

  • Systems operations standards

Protection of Investment
Systematic analysis of your current investment in your landscape, including:

  • Upgrade and release planning

  • Rollout planning

  • IT planning

  • Customer-specific maintenance options

  • System landscape optimization

  • Reduction of custom code


Oliver Huschke is a Global Product Manager for the Premium Engagement Program at SAP AG. He has worked for SAP since 1997, starting within development, where he was responsible for building up and leading the central test organization. He was head of the application management department as well as responsible for marketing activities of SAP Hosting (a 100% subsidiary of SAP), and is now responsible for global product management of SAP's Premium Engagement Program — including services such as MaxAttention.

 

 

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