Making Sense of SAP’s Service & Support Offerings


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To capitalize on the growth in digital transformation investments, SAP has a singular approach for their existing and new customers – drive transformation through their cloud offerings.  In fact, SAP is advertising their latest ERP offering as the silver bullet for this journey, referring to RISE with SAP as “Business Transformation as a Service”.  RISE is a cloud-based, subscription ERP platform featuring a single contract that is inclusive of software, infrastructure (delivered by a hyperscaler), maintenance, and technical services.

However, SAP realizes that many organizations may still be hesitant to accelerate their cloud journey and that pioneering new cloud solutions such as RISE is not enough for them to achieve their aggressive goals.  As such, it will be essential for SAP to also influence their customers’ business transformation strategies by emphasizing the value proposition of their cloud solutions and ultimately guiding customers through their cloud journey by leveraging SAP’s services and support portfolio.

Which Services and Support Offerings are Right for You?

Unfortunately, SAP’s marketing does not do a good job of clearly articulating the differences between their services and support offerings.  Not only are the marketing descriptions ambiguous and without defined boundaries, but many companies also struggle to understand the degree of customization available and ultimately the value they will receive from SAP.

To help you navigate these muddy waters and better understand how SAP’s services and support options compare, we outlined SAP’s current offerings (as of November 2021) below.

SAP’s Service or Support Offering

Description

UpperEdge’s Perspective

Advisory Services General consulting covering a wide range of topics including digital business ideation, digital strategy planning, landscape architecture design, organizational change management, process improvement, and learning services. SAP’s Advisory Services are not common with our clients as these services are typically provided by system integrators and traditional consultants.

Cloud Services

Various offerings including application management, cloud peering, managed data services, managed security services, and managed testing services meant to improve performance and security and simplify the customer’s management of SAP’s cloud systems. Although the majority of SAP’s Cloud Services are not common with our clients, we have seen application management and managed data services leveraged occasionally.
Essential Business Services Consulting provided via a remote model focused on the needs of the customer’s front office (marketing, sales, services, and support), supply chain (production and logistics), back office (procurement, finance, and HR), and other essential operations (IT) such as risk mitigation and preparing for emerging trends, technologies, and future opportunities. This offering is uncommon with our clients as these services are typically provided by traditional consultants.
Implementation Services and Solution Varying deployment models positioning SAP as either the primary deployment partner, as a program advisor that complements a 3rd party system integrator, or as a delivery provider for the customer’s data management and data migration needs. These are aspirational services for SAP as they are generally more expensive and don’t have the depth of experience that traditional system integrators provide.
Innovation Services and Solutions Consulting focused on driving an innovation culture for customers through new and/or enhanced processes, insights, technologies, and experiences. Although SAP markets these services as uniquely tailored and comprehensive, traditional consultants provide a more well-rounded and unbiased perspective.
Premium Engagements Provided through a combination of dedicated, onsite, remote, and shared support, this is SAP’s most common service offering.  Whether customers choose ActiveAttention or MaxAttention, these engagements provide SAP’s highest level of collaboration and expertise across the lifecycle of the customer’s transformation journey. SAP’s Premium Engagements come with a premium price tag and limited commercial transparency.  If you select a Premium Engagement, take time to learn more about these offerings and how to ensure your deal is competitive.
Support Services SAP’s packaged software support options include Enterprise Support, Standard Support, and Product Support for Large Enterprises (PSLE) along with enhancements such as SAP Preferred Success and Preferred Care. There are many factors to consider when evaluating SAP’s support models.  Our recent blog goes into more detail and will help you decide which is the best fit for you.

Whether you are an existing SAP customer evaluating a conversion to S/4HANA or a new customer inquiring about RISE, SAP will undoubtedly look for opportunities to include these services and support offerings in your agreement to help shape your strategy while obtaining a larger share of your wallet.

Key Considerations

We recommend all SAP customers consider the following questions when evaluating these offerings:

  • As these services will undoubtedly focus on SAP solutions, have you properly vetted alternative software providers?
  • Has SAP clearly conveyed how the relevant scope of services will be customized for you in a way that delivers significant value?
  • Do you trust that SAP will objectively provide the best solution for your company vs. pushing solutions to meet their goals?
  • As these engagements can last up to 5 years, are you ready to commit to years of operational expenses?
  • Do these services overlap with any of your other service partners (e.g., system integrators) or internal initiatives currently in-flight?
  • Do you have the right internal members to sponsor these programs and drive change while ensuring the proper guardrails are maintained?

If you ultimately determine there may be a fit, it is critical to ensure your deal includes transparency around SAP’s services and rates, contractual flexibility, and commercially competitive terms.

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Michael Wesseler

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