Sophistication is rising while time frames to deliver innovations and solutions are decreasing. Today, more than ever, SAP customers are feeling extreme pressure to deliver more value at higher quality levels while reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO).
CIOs and IT departments certainly feel this pressure and face unique challenges. The CIO must:
- Ensure business continuity
- Drive business process improvement
- Protect technology investments and innovation without disruption
- Reduce the total cost of operations in the
- IT organization
- Accelerate innovation across the business
That’s quite a list. Best-run IT functions balance the cost of running SAP software with supporting and rolling out innovations. How can CIOs achieve this?
SAP and our partners are vital in helping CIOs overcome these challenges and transform their business. This happens in several ways, including by:
- Standardizing processes: Partners help customers adopt SAP best practices and leverage resources.
- Establishing an application lifecycle management (ALM) platform that addresses the entire IT environment: Partners help customers make the most of their SAP Solution Manager implementations.
- Reducing TCO: Partners can introduce industry-specific efficiencies to SAP customers who can, in turn, pass those benefits onto their own customers.
A Spotlight on the Control Center Approach
To help customers achieve the most effective and efficient implementations and ongoing operations possible, SAP Active Global Support (SAP AGS) has unveiled a new concept called the “control center approach.” This approach, which is available only through SAP MaxAttention or SAP ActiveEmbedded support, consists of:
- The innovation control center, which supports implementation and innovation projects with industry best practices, allows customers to “build SAP like a factory” and avoid unnecessary modifications.
- The operations control center, which handles orchestration and operations of an SAP solution, allows customers to “run SAP like a factory.”
- The mission control centers support the innovation control and operations control centers of the linked customers by providing support for innovations, implementations, severe issues, and proactive measures.
There are many ways that SAP helps partners with the control center approach, but here I will highlight the Run SAP Partner Program and the two customer-centric certifications: Run SAP Operations and the new Innovation Control Center certification (see Figure 1). Together, the program and the two certifications arm partners with the tools and capabilities they require to support their clients and create success stories that make them go-to providers.
The Run SAP Partner Program, which forms the foundation of the two customer-centric certifications, is geared toward SAP Services partners and IT outsourcing partners. Our goal is to build a community from the SAP AGS side and enable these partners around support-related topics. Through the program, the partners have access to the following crucial components (see Figure 2):
- Run SAP Partner Academy
- SAP Solution Manager for Run SAP Partners
- Go-to-market and business development support
- SAP AGS strategic topics
What Run SAP Partners Offer Customers
As CIOs look for support to overcome their top challenges, they want assurance that their business is in the most capable hands. Customers are incentivized to work with Run SAP partners because they comply with certain quality standards, including training and methodology alignment, and leverage SAP best practices, tools, and approaches.
We recently rolled out the innovation control center concept, which aims to move SAP customers away from the expensive approach of supporting custom functionality. By identifying custom functionality that can be reverted to the standard and preventing further unnecessary custom code, the total cost of future maintenance can drop significantly, and risks can be reduced as well.
The full rollout of the operations control center concept is also taking shape. This approach is based on “running SAP like a factory.” Vital information about how the customer’s business processes are running is collected via SAP Solution Manager, presented in dashboard views, and monitored in the control center. The partner’s role in the operations control center depends on the body of work it provides for the customer. That body of work dictates what best-practice standards should be operated, what KPIs should be defined, what skill sets are required, and what processes and procedures are in place. Together, these components define the criteria for the Run SAP Operations certification.
The shift of focus to the customer reflects the overall fundamental change in the Run SAP certifications for 2013 and beyond. For each customer, we will check how a partner is contributing to the innovation control and operations control centers at each company; once a certain volume has been checked, that partner will then qualify for the new Run SAP certifications.
What the Future Holds
Our customers are focused on in-memory, cloud, and mobility, and our program rolls out the latest training from SAP experts in these topics to enable partners in this ever-evolving field. We educate partners on how they can leverage SAP Solution Manager, help run SAP like a factory, perform integration validation, and conduct end-to-end integrated ALM to operate and standardize at the fast pace their clients demand. We offer this customer-specific enablement through our SAP MaxAttention and SAP ActiveEmbedded engagements.
Our focus in 2013 has been on our customers’ success, and this will continue in 2014. By further aligning the Run SAP Partner Program with the goals of SAP AGS, including our current integration with the control center approach, our partners are even more equipped to deliver quality to customers. You can learn more about the partners’ roles and offerings by reading the articles in this special report. For more details, please email SAPAGSRunSAPpartner@sap.com.