These rapid changes can have a significant performance impact on SAP systems including new software and servers, upgrades to the latest OS and browser versions, and changes in infrastructure that can trigger problems impacting the core ERP.
Today, the performance and interoperability challenge is heightened as many SAP customers pursue innovation in hybrid IT environments.
That means deploying new cloud, mobile and analytic applications around an SAP ERP nucleus. The objective is business agility, but it also means that IT has to navigate a more complex application landscape.
With rising pressure on IT to accelerate innovation, IT teams can’t afford costly and time-consuming fire drills to troubleshoot the performance and interoperability issues that inevitably arise.
Ideally, IT should be able to get on the phone with a senior level support engineer at SAP to riddle out a solution to a performance or interoperability issue.
After all, licensees pay a high premium for annual support. But outside of standard break/fix support, issues related to custom code, performance or interoperability are not covered or the proposed answer may be cost prohibitive.
For instance, if an issue crops up with compatibility between an older SAP application and the latest Windows OS, the response from SAP support might be to upgrade the application. Many may not choose to face a potentially costly and disruptive upgrade just to solve an isolated issue.
The Independent Support Option
More and more companies are increasingly exploring independent support as an alternative to SAP support. Licensees that have made the move benefit from significant cost savings, more comprehensive support and expertise from senior engineers.
A Level 3 engineer can offer more creative solutions to ensure core SAP systems run smoothly and interoperate well with the rest of the IT landscape.
For example, a Rimini Street client experienced issues running SAP ECC 4.6 on a newly implemented Windows 2008 OS. Note, in response to potential interoperability issues, SAP has logic built into its application that disables certain functions or forces a degraded mode.
The client contemplated an expensive upgrade to ECC 6.0 in order to resolve that one problem, but first consulted with Rimini Street who helped them implement a standard Microsoft tool and best practice that enabled the applications to interoperate.
A Support Model Should Be Relevant to Your Business Needs
Among the pain points of software support, the traditional support model is frequently staffed with layers of junior-level engineers or even book-trained help desk resources. Licensees can find themselves repeating the same issue multiple times before escalation to senior-level engineers and eventually reaching a resolution.
Many SAP licensees have heavily customized Business Suite applications, of which 65% of support calls are usually related to custom code.
SAP has delivered fantastic products over the years, but its support value seems to have significantly diminished compared to the high cost of maintenance today.
Independent support provides the quality and responsiveness that keep SAP systems running at peak performance while greatly reducing the burden on IT staff while saving an average of 75 percent on total annual maintenance costs.
This kind of savings can liberate time and money to invest in innovation that can make a genuine business impact.