E-3 Magazine checked with Rimini Street to get Answer 42 on their third-party support. [shutterstock: 524255236, Lario]
In the novel “The Hitchhiker‘s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams, 42 is the computer-calculated “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” E-3 Magazine checked with Rimini Street where the added value and the risks associated with third-party maintenance of SAP software lie, and how willing people are to switch. Here is the whole truth.
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I want to return to SAP in three years – how much will that cost me?
Previous client experiences show that a return to SAP support is typically free and not subject to any additional charges or penalties. In fact, returning clients are welcomed with open arms. And there are good reasons for this: despite its market power, SAP has no monopoly.
The fact is that SAP does not want to ruin any future licencing business due to dissatisfied clients. After all, in many cases these clients could simply switch to SaaS solutions from other vendors if they require new functionalities. Based on Rimini Street‘s experience, and despite the acquisition of new software licences, there are usually two reasons why clients return to SAP support: clients are transferred and the new parent company forces them to return to SAP support.
Even in such cases, no additional payments have been demanded to date. In one case a client even remained with Rimini Street because of its excellent service quality.
Clients wishing to acquire new SAP licences may do so in connection with a new maintenance contract.
Especially in the case of Hana or S/4, clients might be tempted to take this step in about three to five years. Until then, however, they could use Rimini Street support for half the price and then purchase the necessary licenses with the money saved. However, they should consider very carefully whether they already want to deploy S/4 in three to five years’ time.
Because these don’t constitute an upgrade, but rather a new implementation with associated project costs for expenses and infrastructure. What’s more, analysts predict that S/4 will take at least another five to ten years to become a mature product.
The purchase of Hana licences may be a possibility in three years – if the client really needs the associated performance tunings. But these licences can also be obtained independently of a maintenance contract with SAP. Additionally, Rimini Street offers support for the Hana database – in conjunction with the corresponding cost advantages.
Does Rimini Street also provide support for upgrades?
Before the support contract with SAP ends, the Rimini Street support engineers work with the client to archive most eligible software components for later upgrades. The support staff members responsible for the respective client familiarise themselves with planned upgrade projects and are available for support requests – regardless of how many there are.
For the first few days after a client’s upgrade goes live, the support engineers additionally provide hands-on support to the client and are on call 24/7 during this period.
How can a client implement an upgrade after switching to Rimini Street and making changes to their own IT environment?
During the onboarding process with Rimini Street and before the end of the support contract with SAP, clients can obtain and download certain software components for later use. Here the Rimini Street support engineers assist with putting together the software list.
Subsequently, clients can create XML files for their SAP environments, which remain usable with SAP even after the support contract has expired. These don’t usually need to be modified if changes are made to the SAP configuration, for example, if new tax laws need to be implemented.
In case there are major changes, however, these XML files can be adapted because they are editable. The Rimini Street support engineers can also provide assistance here. In general, Rimini Street invests in expert know-how and tools across all complex technology infrastructure components.
This enables independent third-party maintenance providers to reliably extend the life of enterprise software through tried and tested interoperability solutions. Rimini Street has a dedicated team for support services in the field of interoperability.
The company’s Technical Engineering Architects have product-specific expertise and each boast, on average, far more than 10 years of experience with Oracle and SAP applications in which they specialise.
Additionally, Rimini Street has its own research and development department for prototyping, custom development and integration with third-party solutions. Even after switching to Rimini Street, clients can change their infrastructure and configure, customise and implement new software components for at least 15 years.
How can clients without SAP support acquire hardware and licence keys?
SAP licence keys for hardware migrations can be purchased independently of support contracts. After all, SAP licences are hardware and technology independent. Clients who no longer pay maintenance fees to SAP receive a link to the SAP Licensing Portal. Through this portal they can continue to purchase their keys for licences and developers.
What about clients who need a support pack?
During the onboarding process, and while the support contract with SAP is still valid, Rimini Street provides a complete, ISO-certified archive to which its clients are entitled.
Clients can then decide for themselves when they want to implement which update. One of the major advantages clients appreciate about Rimini Street is the independence of the support services when it comes to installing the support or enhancement packs.
This saves them a lot of time, money and effort. SAP’s support packs are generic and often need to be customised to each individual client environment or undergo intensive testing before they can be installed. Rimini Street fixes, on the other hand, are always customised to the client’s environment and sometimes require only little testing.
How can the risk be eliminated if Rimini Street is not able to resolve certain client issues?
No company in the world, neither SAP nor Rimini Street, can guarantee to solve all support cases. Nevertheless, the resolution rate of the Rimini Street support team is higher than that of the standard SAP support.
There are several reasons for this: Rimini Street creates custom fixes for each client, rather than generic ones which must be suitable for as many clients as possible. In addition, Rimini Street provides support for customised solutions that have a much lower risk of having an effect on other parts of the SAP landscape.
Rimini Street has advanced the support business model and never lost any clients due to a failure to provide an agreed service. With more than 1,600 clients, Rimini Street has so far never been unable to resolve a client issue through a fix, configuration or other means. According to thousands of client surveys, the average client satisfaction rate is 4.8 on a scale of 1 to 5 – evidence of a truly satisfied client base. Overall, the risks for clients are, therefore, lower when using Rimini Street support.