SAP Third-Party Support: Insights and Best Practices

SAP Third-Party Support is:

  • Alternative Support Option: A service provided by independent vendors, not by SAP directly.
  • Cost-Effective: Typically offers significant cost savings compared to SAP’s support.
  • Customized Services: Tailored support that often includes custom code and legacy systems.
  • Extended Lifecycle Support: Enables continued use of existing SAP versions without forced upgrades.
  • Focus on Customer Needs: Often praised for more personalized and responsive customer service.

Introduction to SAP Third Party Support

SAP Third Party Support

SAP Third Party Support plays a crucial role in modern business environments, characterized by:

  • An Alternative to Direct SAP Support: Offering support services for SAP products outside the direct SAP vendor framework.
  • Focus on Cost-Efficiency and Customization: Aimed at reducing operational costs while providing tailored support.
  • Growing Preference Among Businesses: Increasingly favored by companies looking for greater flexibility and control over their SAP solutions.

Benefits of Third-Party Support

The adoption of third-party support for SAP products offers several distinct advantages:

  1. Cost Savings and Efficiency:
    • Significant Reduction in Operational Costs: Substantial savings compared to traditional SAP support models.
    • Optimization of IT Budgets: Allows companies to allocate more resources towards innovation and strategic initiatives.
  2. Enhanced Control Over Technology and Strategy:
    • Customized Support Services: Tailored solutions that align closely with unique business needs.
    • Strategic Flexibility: Empowers businesses to choose support that aligns with their long-term IT strategies, independent of SAP’s roadmap.
  3. Superior Support and Customization Options:
    • Personalized Assistance: Access to dedicated support teams that provide more personalized service.
    • Extended Support for Legacy Systems: Continuity of support for older SAP versions, extending their lifecycle.

Real-world Case Studies and Success Stories of Third-Party SAP Support

Third-party SAP support has demonstrated significant benefits across various industries, as evidenced by multiple case studies:

  1. Exela Technologies: A global leader in business process automation, Exela Technologies faced challenges in managing its extensive SAP Business Suite due to high support costs and a need for more responsive customer service. By transitioning to Spinnaker Support, they achieved a 60% reduction in support costs while enhancing service responsiveness and support quality​​.
  2. Diverse Industry Applications: Companies from design software services to geospatial solutions have reported substantial cost savings and enhanced cash flow efficiency after switching to third-party SAP support. These firms were able to redirect resources towards crucial business transitions and strategic growth initiatives, achieving significant financial benefits over multi-year agreements​​.
  3. Water and Recycling Company in England and Wales: This company implemented third-party SAP support as part of its cost control measures. The change contributed nearly £2 million annually towards strategic programs, enabling the company to serve a growing population more effectively​​.
  4. A Tokyo-Based Leader in Test and Measurement: Facing business fluctuations, this company switched to third-party support to improve cost structure and increase R&D investment. The switch resulted in savings of over $4 million in five years.​

Choosing the Right Third-Party Support Provider

When selecting a third-party support provider for SAP, consider the following factors:

  1. Assess Provider Expertise: Ensure the provider has extensive experience and knowledge in SAP management and support.
  2. Understand the Scope of Support: Evaluate the breadth of services the provider offers, including their ability to handle custom code and integration with other systems.
  3. Check Responsiveness and Service Quality: Look for providers known for their responsiveness and high-quality service, which is crucial for effective issue resolution.
  4. Consider Legal and Financial Perspectives: Be aware of third-party support’s legal and financial implications, such as intellectual property rights and cost structures, compared to conventional SAP support​​.
  5. Evaluate Operational Considerations: Understand how the third-party support will integrate with your existing systems and processes, including support for modifications and upgrades.

By carefully considering these aspects, organizations can make informed decisions about third-party SAP support, aligning their IT strategies with broader business objectives.

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid with Third-Party Support

When integrating third-party support for SAP, it’s crucial to avoid these common pitfalls:

  1. Not Fully Vetting the Provider:
    • Ensure the support provider has a proven track record, adequate SAP expertise, and positive customer testimonials.
    • Research their legal standing and any potential litigation issues they might be facing to avoid future complications​​.
  2. Overlooking Custom Code Support:
    • Confirm that the third-party provider offers support for custom code, as neglecting this can lead to significant operational issues​​.
  3. Ignoring Transition and Integration Plans:
    • Develop a clear transition plan to seamlessly integrate third-party support with existing systems and operations.
    • Ensure the provider has a robust onboarding process to minimize disruptions during the transition​​.
  4. Neglecting to Align Support with Business Objectives:
    • Choose a provider whose support services align with your long-term IT strategy and business goals​​.
  5. Failing to Understand Scope and Limitations of Services:
    • Clarify what is included in the support package and understand any limitations, particularly regarding upgrades and new releases​​.


Q: How does third-party SAP support differ from traditional SAP support?

A: Third-party support typically offers more personalized service and can be more cost-effective. It focuses on maintaining current systems rather than pushing for upgrades and often supports custom code and older versions of SAP.

Q: Can third-party support handle legal and compliance issues?

A: Reputable third-party support providers stay updated on regulatory changes and ensure compliance. However, it’s essential to verify this capability with your chosen provider.

Q: Is third-party support suitable for all types of SAP products?

A: Most third-party providers offer extensive coverage for various SAP products, but confirming that they can support your specific SAP applications and versions is crucial.

Q: What happens if I need to upgrade my SAP system?

A: Third-party providers typically don’t offer upgrade services. If an upgrade is necessary, you may need to transition back to SAP support or use another service for the upgrade process.

Q: Can I switch back to SAP support after using a third-party provider?

A: Yes, you can generally return to SAP support if needed. However, it’s advisable to understand any contractual obligations or transition requirements involved in switching back.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.