“Can you help me understand what my company can get out of SAP Enterprise Support?” While working in the support area during my tenure at SAP, I consistently hear this valid question from customers. There’s no universal answer to this query, nor a one-size-fits-all approach to services and support. But I can shed light on some of the opportunities available to customers via SAP Enterprise Support. This article will give readers a basic understanding of the value it offers and help alleviate confusion. I’ll also share success stories about how companies across different countries, industries, and sizes have benefited from SAP Enterprise Support.
Remember, SAP Enterprise Support is:
- Not just for SAP solutions; it is end-to-end support that spans both your SAP and non-SAP solutions
- Not just for one phase of an application’s life cycle; it assists you throughout the entire application lifecycle management process
- Not just downtime-focused; it enables business process improvement and innovation
- Not just a passive support offering; it builds your internal capabilities to better support the business
Visit www.service.sap.com/esacademy to learn more.
Navigating Your Landscape with SAP Enterprise Support
An Accenture report revealed that many ERP customers use only two-thirds of available functionality.1 A similar survey by Enterprise Management Associates found that only 45% of IT professionals use standard best practices to support their IT landscape.2 And, I would guess, if I were to put several hundred SAP customers in a room and ask for a show of hands as to how many are actually using SAP Enterprise Support to provide real value to the business, a majority of hands would remain down. Many customers aren’t fully aware of the benefits of SAP Enterprise Support — or that they even have access to this level of support.
To make it easier for customers to extract optimal value from their technology investments, SAP Enterprise Support uses a straightforward approach to engage with organizations in a practical and efficient way. Our main objectives are to enable you to implement, operate, and innovate your SAP landscape better through continuous execution of the following steps:
- Understand your organization’s current challenges and pain points
- Jointly define an action plan for solving these pressing issues
- Track and measure the benefits
You can use this approach regardless of where you are in your current application life cycle — whether you’re launching a new application or upgrading your system — and regardless of your business goals. The main takeaway is that you don’t have to do it alone. Customers don’t have to guess to figure out which portions of SAP Enterprise Support to leverage and when; SAP Enterprise Support now offers a roadmap-like approach that defines what to do and when to do it.
Key Features of SAP Enterprise Support
SAP Enterprise Support raises the bar regarding the value a customer can realize from a maintenance and support program. Customers of all sizes across various industries use it in many ways to overcome challenges in their enterprise software environments, such as how to run systems faster, reduce TCO, efficiently upgrade and modify systems while controlling costs, and improve business performance. (See the “Customer Example #1” and “Customer Example #2” sidebars to learn how two companies benefited from engaging with SAP Enterprise Support.)
SAP Enterprise Support enables our customers to implement better, operate better, and innovate better — regardless of the size and focus of your business. With SAP Enterprise Support, we take what we learn from our customers every day and make these insights available in an automated way. You can always count on SAP Enterprise Support to help overcome the challenges you face as your company grows.
SAP Solution Manager: The Core of SAP Enterprise Support
As part of our support commitment, SAP offers SAP Solution Manager, our application lifecycle management platform. This solution serves as the single source of truth for your core business processes and solution landscape, offering transparency and visibility into your systems. SAP Solution Manager supports a business process end to end, whether the process flows across an on-premise solution, an on-demand platform, or an on-device platform. By providing a centralized, integrated delivery platform for managing, implementing, and operating an SAP-centric solution landscape, SAP Solution Manager allows you to implement solutions, optimize business processes, and operate your systems at the lowest possible cost. (See the “Customer Example #3” sidebar for details about how a company optimized its business processes using SAP Solution Manager and SAP Enterprise Support.)
How you get started with SAP Solution Manager depends on where you are in your application life cycle, but it is a straightforward process for both new and existing customers. Customers who are new to SAP typically use SAP Solution Manager to document their business processes and configure their landscape as they begin their implementation projects. For existing customers, we recommend that they begin in peripheral areas and start with technical monitors to evaluate how their systems are running. As they become more familiar with the platform, these customers can then branch out and start documenting business processes in SAP Solution Manager and leveraging the additional opportunities provided through a variety of product, solution, and operation standards to successfully raise the efficiency of their end-to-end operations.
Guided Self Services, Step-by-Step Analysis
We at SAP consistently see companies of all sizes and levels of technology sophistication being challenged in key areas, such as security optimization, data volume management, change management, or business process management. In response to these trouble spots, SAP built Guided Self Services, an integral aspect of SAP Enterprise Support. This is service expertise assembled from working with thousands of SAP systems across the globe. These services, accessible via SAP Solution Manager, are designed to help organizations conquer these and other pressing challenges by offering automated, step-by-step, structured analysis and remediation approaches based on SAP’s latest knowledge and experience for flexible usage, so they can be run whenever needed, however often needed, and tailored to the individual situation.
Consider, for example, a large company that has had numerous employees accessing different applications and wants to better assess and monitor authorizations. The company’s IT team can access Guided Self Services through SAP Solution Manager to start an analysis session. SAP Solution Manager will then pull data about authorizations from the productive system and lead the user through different steps to analyze the data and implement any needed corrections.
Expert Guided Implementations to Access Knowledge
We at SAP are hearing from customers that they’re looking for guidance in areas such as application lifecycle management, system monitoring, configuring SAP Solution Manager, and monitoring and improving business processes.
As part of the SAP Enterprise Support Academy, SAP also offers, next to Guided Self Services, Expert Guided Implementations, a combination of training, expertise on demand, and hands-on, practical-experience opportunities. For example, if a company needs assistance with upgrading and configuring its SAP Solution Manager application to better handle system changes, the IT team can access a webinar for detailed guidance and online instruction from topic experts through an Expert Guided Implementation. During the guided project, which can last up to five days, the team also works with its own system and can consult with the experts. At the end of the session, customers receive immediate benefit from a configured, working environment.
We at SAP believe strongly in sharing our knowledge to further enable our customers’ success. (See the “Customer Example #4” sidebar to learn how a customer benefited from an Expert Guided Implementation and other SAP Enterprise Support services.)
Remote Support Component for SAP BusinessObjects Solutions
For customers primarily using SAP BusinessObjects solutions, the new remote support component provides advanced diagnostic functions for SAP BusinessObjects solutions through three main approaches:
- SAP EarlyWatch Alert monitors your SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence (BI) platform, including the software landscape and configuration settings, so you can proactively spot issues before they become serious problems.
- Root-cause analysis provides quick access to all monitoring data and relevant information related to the SAP BusinessObjects BI platform, enabling a systematic, top-down approach to determining where and why a problem occurred.
- Automatic updates of new functions or corrections enable you to always have the latest analysis features and functionality from SAP.
Organizations can collaborate more efficiently with SAP experts after data is automatically gathered and key environment variables are transmitted to SAP through a secure connection.
In 2011, you can expect to see new Expert Guided Implementation sessions for SAP BusinessObjects solutions and a new version of SAP Solution Manager. With its improved accessibility and ease of use for your entire landscape (not just the SAP solutions and software within it), SAP Enterprise Support provides substantial value.
SAP customers can also expect a continued increase in the number of certified SAP Enterprise Support integrated software solution partners. Certified to provide the same levels of service as SAP Enterprise Support, these partners are committed to working with SAP to make sure you have true, end-to-end support across an entire solution, and a superior support experience through techniques such as root-cause analysis and incident management.
I invite you to explore what SAP Enterprise Support offers and how it can help your organization; I am confident that the services will be able to assist you in ways you may not have thought of before. To quickly learn more about the resources offered with SAP Enterprise Support and how to leverage available support tools and services, visit www.service.sap.com/enterprisesupport. And visit our product roadmap website, www.service.sap.com/roadmap, to find information and tools you can use when planning your own roadmap as part of your maintenance.
Thomas DiAntonio (email@example.com) joined SAP in 2001 and is a Vice President within SAP’s Maintenance Go-To-Market organization. He has more than 15 years of experience in the maintenance and support business and has held a variety of positions within SAP Active Global Support (AGS).
1 Accenture, “Mobilize more value from your enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems” (January 25, 2010). [back]
2 Enterprise Management Associates. [back]
3 To learn more about how Burton Snowboards used SAP Enterprise Support, please see “How Burton Snowboards Remains as Nimble as Its Riders” by Lauren Bonneau in the April-June 2011 issue of insiderPROFILES. [back]
4 To learn more about centers of expertise, see “The Next Step to Advance Your Customer COE: Demonstrate Measurable Value” by Sheree Johnson in the October-December 2010 issue of SAPinsider. [back]