What is the number-one thing that confounds a company’s ability to maximize the business impact it derives from its SAP investment? It’s a lack of knowledge. Either customers do not know what capabilities or services are available to them, or they do know what’s available but not how to go about leveraging it. Are you, for example, conversant with the services and support that are available to you as part of your company’s current maintenance contract? What about the SAP solutions you run? Are you familiar with all the functionality made available to you? Customers that know the answers to these questions get more value from their SAP investment and, in turn, realize more business impact.
Enter Greg Pike and his no-nonsense approach to knowledge transfer. Under his leadership, two websites are now available to customers for this purpose. One provides a product roadmap on the SAP solutions you are using. The other provides information on the full range of services and support offerings you’re entitled to from SAP Enterprise Support. In three minutes, you can master either website. In 30 minutes, you can arm yourself with a solid command of the options at your disposal. But time is at a premium for all of us, so while Pike is adamant about delivering information that’s unencumbered by marketing, insiderPROFILES pressed him to “sell” us on the websites:
Q: You are adamant about having these websites deliver information that shows SAP customers what product and service capabilities are available to them and how to leverage them. But why should customers go to one of these sites?
These websites place easily consumable information, which you can use to drive your agenda, within easy reach of every customer. Let’s start with the support site, service.sap.com/enterprisesupport. Many customers have SAP Enterprise Support but don’t necessarily know what they get with it or how to leverage their support tools and services. The website solves that problem. The information is all there, and within two or three clicks, you can download a self-guided procedure, see how other customers use SAP Enterprise Support, and gain a solid understanding of what it’s all about. Among the most popular resources on the site are the expert-guided sessions, which are delivered as part of your maintenance and help you directly work with the experts on your solution to maximize your investment in SAP Enterprise Support.
On the roadmap site, service.sap.com/roadmap, our focus is on SAP products. Here, you find resources to help you understand what product capabilities are available to you today and how to leverage them. It’s also a place to learn what capabilities are coming — knowledge that is invaluable for planning your company roadmap. It is a best practice for every SAP customer to have an internal SAP timeline or “roadmap” for evolving their business applications environment. These roadmaps help customers understand what’s coming next with our solutions so they can make more informed decisions about their future direction. The service.sap.com/roadmap site offers tools and information to help you build your own roadmap as part of your maintenance. There’s a solution browser, a business prediction tool, and expert-guided sessions. No need to wade through lots of non-relevant information. And as far as I know, we are the only vendor that provides this level of clarity on roadmaps. We’re actually letting our customers know what we’re building in our solutions for the next release. During expert-guided sessions, you can actually spend some time with the solution certified experts, discussing and providing feedback on upcoming functionality. In short, you’ll know what you have invested in, what is available today, what SAP is planning for the next release, and you’ll also gain some insight into the roadmaps’ future direction.
Q: Are the sites getting much traction?
Hundreds of thousands of customers are actively using the sites, downloading resources, and participating in the expert-guided sessions. We are tracking site visits carefully, and these numbers are growing every day.
Q: Realistically, how much time does a customer have to invest in the websites in order to benefit from them?
That depends on your role. Business executives, CFOs, and CIOs may not need a mastery of SAP grassroots-level functionality. Beneficial information can be gleaned in three minutes — from reading quick overviews or customer quotes. If you’re an enterprise or support architect, on the other hand, my recommendation is to spend 30 minutes on the sites. After those 30 minutes, you’ll be a veritable expert. When your boss asks, “What are we getting for maintenance?” you’ll be able to explain precisely what it is that you’re consuming
Or if you are looking to add new functionality to your landscape, you’ll know if it’s now (or soon to be) available to you within your existing SAP environment. You’d be surprised by how much money this information has saved customers. I get a lot of feedback from customers that tell me they were planning to purchase additional capabilities, but upon learning that it was already part of their set of SAP solutions, they found that they didn’t need to make the expenditure. The savings weren’t simply in the initial purchase, either. Not having to integrate systems, migrate data, or add on maintenance streams all add up to sizable savings and reduced complexity.
Having acclimated yourself to the site, the next step is to book yourself an expert session. That’s when the influence, the feedback, and the questions come in, because you’re speaking to the person who either owns the roadmap or owns that part or facet of support.
These sites are a marked departure for us. The speed and ease of knowledge transfer are significantly better than what was done in the past. The information is lit up for everyone to see and readily consume, and that makes all the difference — because informed customers make informed decisions.
After spending minutes on the website, you’ll be a veritable expert. When your boss asks, “What are we getting for maintenance?” you’ll be able to explain precisely what it is that you’re consuming.
— Greg Pike, Senior Vice President, SAP’s Global User Group Team