sap third party support

SAP Third-Party Support: Key Benefits and Strategies

SAP Third-Party Support is:

  • An alternative to direct support from SAP.
  • Managed by independent companies specializing in SAP systems.
  • Often more cost-effective and personalized.
  • Focused on maintaining and optimizing existing SAP systems rather than upgrades.

Introduction to SAP Third-Party Support

intro sap third party support

SAP Third-Party Support has emerged as a significant player in the ever-evolving world of enterprise resource planning (ERP).

But what exactly does it entail, and how does it compare to traditional SAP support?

Let’s break it down:

  • What is SAP Third-Party Support? This service model offers an alternative to the support provided directly by SAP. It’s managed by independent companies that specialize in maintaining SAP systems.
  • Contrast with SAP-Provided Support: While SAP’s support focuses on upgrades and moving to newer versions, third-party support typically emphasizes maintaining and optimizing existing systems.
  • Emergence and Growth: The rise of third-party support is a response to the increasing need for cost-effective, flexible, and personalized SAP maintenance solutions.

Benefits of SAP Third-Party Support

Benefits of SAP Third-Party Support

Exploring third-party support reveals a range of benefits, each addressing different organizational needs:

  • Cost Savings and Financial Implications: A major draw is the potential for significant cost reductions compared to traditional SAP support.
  • Enhanced Service Quality and Responsiveness: Many third-party providers promise quicker, more tailored responses to support queries.
  • Support for Custom Code and Legacy Systems: These services often extend to areas SAP may not cover extensively, like custom code and older system versions.
  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Third-party support can be more adaptable to the specific needs and circumstances of a business, offering a more personalized experience.

Key Features of Third-Party SAP Support Services

Features of Third-Party SAP Support Services

When exploring the landscape of Third-Party SAP Support Services, several key features stand out, each designed to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of your SAP environment:

  1. 24/7 Support:
    • Round-the-Clock Availability: One of the most compelling features is the promise of 24/7 support. This ensures that expert assistance is always a call or message away regardless of your global location or time zone.
    • Rapid Response: Immediate access to support can minimize downtime and swiftly resolve critical issues, thereby maintaining business continuity.
  2. Global Tax and Regulatory Compliance:
    • Staying Up to Date: These services often include assistance with global tax laws and regulatory compliance, ensuring your SAP system aligns with the latest legal requirements.
    • Navigating Complex Regulations: Especially beneficial for multinational corporations, this feature simplifies the complexity of adhering to various regional regulations.
  3. Full-Stack Security:
    • Intrusion Detection and Virtual Patching: A comprehensive security approach is crucial. Third-party providers typically offer advanced security measures like intrusion detection and virtual patching to protect your SAP systems against cyber threats.
    • Proactive Threat Management: These measures are reactive and proactive, constantly monitoring for and addressing potential vulnerabilities.
  4. Interoperability and Integration:
    • Seamless Integration with Existing IT Ecosystems: A key advantage is integrating seamlessly with your existing IT infrastructure, ensuring that the transition to third-party support does not disrupt your current operations.
    • Support for Diverse IT Environments: Whether your SAP environment is cloud-based, on-premise, or a hybrid, third-party support services are designed to be compatible with various IT setups.

Evaluating Third-Party SAP Support Providers

Evaluating Third-Party SAP Support Providers

Selecting the right third-party SAP support provider is a critical decision. Here are some guidelines to help you make an informed choice:

  1. Criteria for Selecting a Suitable Provider:
    • Experience and Expertise: Look for providers with a proven track record in supporting SAP environments similar to yours.
    • Customer Reviews and Testimonials: Assess customer feedback to gauge the provider’s reliability and service quality.
    • Support Coverage: Ensure they offer the specific services you need, such as 24/7 support, security measures, and compliance assistance.
  2. Understanding the Scope and Limitations of Services Offered:
    • Service Inclusions: Clearly understand what is included in the support package. Are there any additional costs for certain services?
    • Limitations: Be aware of any limitations in the service, such as restrictions on the number of support tickets or exclusions of certain SAP modules.
  3. Ensuring Alignment with Long-Term IT and Business Strategies:
    • Strategic Fit: The provider’s capabilities should align with your long-term IT strategy and business goals.
    • Flexibility and Scalability: Consider whether the provider can scale their services to match your evolving business needs.

By focusing on these features and evaluation criteria, you can ensure that your choice of a third-party SAP support provider will bring substantial value to your organization, enhancing your SAP environment while aligning with your business objectives.

Companies Specializing in Third-Party SAP Support

  1. Rimini Street:
    • Known for its extensive expertise in navigating complex ERP ecosystems.
    • Offers cost-effective alternatives to traditional vendor-provided maintenance.
    • It specializes in providing dedicated assistance to SAP systems.
  2. Spinnaker Support:
    Provides comprehensive third-party support for various SAP Business Suite & Apps.
    Tailors its services to individual business needs, offering flexibility and scalability.
  3. N’ware Technologies:
    • Focuses on offering solutions catering to specific industry requirements.
    • Known for updating its knowledge base to keep up with the latest SAP advancements.
    • Provides timely patches, fixes, and upgrades, offering adaptable service agreements.

These providers are known for their ability to offer specialized, cost-effective SAP support, tailored to the unique needs of different industries and organizations​​.

Strategies for Transitioning to Third-Party Support

Transitioning to third-party SAP support is a strategic move that requires careful planning and execution. Here’s how to develop a robust transition strategy:

  1. Developing a Transition Plan:
    • Assessment of Current SAP Environment: Begin by thoroughly assessing your current SAP setup, including versions, customizations, and integrations.
    • Identify Key Requirements: Determine what you need from the third-party support, such as specific expertise, support hours, and additional services.
    • Set Clear Objectives: Define goals for the transition, such as cost savings, enhanced support levels, or extended lifecycle for legacy systems.
  2. Seamless Integration with Existing Systems:
    • Compatibility Check: Ensure the third-party support is fully compatible with your existing SAP landscape and any other integrated systems.
    • Integration Plan: Develop a detailed plan for integrating third-party support into your IT infrastructure, addressing potential technical challenges.
  3. Managing the Changeover Process:
    • Communication Strategy: Develop a communication plan to inform all stakeholders about the change and its benefits.
    • Training and Knowledge Transfer: Provide training and resources to your IT team to familiarize them with the new support structure.
    • Phased Implementation: Consider a phased approach to transition, starting with less critical systems to minimize risks.

Best Practices in SAP Third-Party Support

Best Practices in SAP Third-Party Support

To maximize the benefits of third-party SAP support, it’s essential to follow the best practices:

  1. Ensuring Custom Code Support:
    • Documentation and Analysis: Ensure all custom code is well-documented and analyzed for compatibility with third-party support.
    • Expertise in Custom Solutions: Choose a provider with proven expertise in handling custom SAP solutions to ensure they can effectively support your unique environment.
  2. Aligning Support Services with Business Objectives:
    • Strategic Alignment: The support services should align with your overall business strategy, facilitating growth and innovation.
    • Tailored Support: Look for providers that offer tailored support plans that can be adjusted to meet your specific business objectives.
  3. Regularly Reviewing and Adapting Support Strategies:
    • Continuous Improvement: Regularly review the performance of the third-party support to ensure it meets your evolving needs.
    • Adaptability: Be prepared to adapt your support strategy as your business grows and changes, ensuring that the support remains relevant and effective.

By carefully planning the transition and adhering to these best practices, you can ensure a smooth switch to third-party SAP support, aligning it with your business needs and maximizing its value.

Top 5 Recommendations for Maximizing Third-Party SAP Support

To ensure you’re getting the most out of your third-party SAP support services, consider these top recommendations:

  1. Regular Performance Reviews:
    • Conduct regular assessments of the support service’s performance against your business needs.
    • Use metrics and KPIs to measure effectiveness and identify areas for improvement.
  2. Effective Communication:
    • Maintain open lines of communication with your provider for swift resolution of issues.
    • Provide clear, concise feedback to enable them to better understand and meet your needs.
  3. Leverage Expertise for Strategic Projects:
    • Utilize the expertise of your third-party provider for strategic projects beyond routine support, like digital transformation initiatives or system optimizations.
  4. Customization and Flexibility:
    • Work with your provider to customize support services to fit your specific business environment and needs.
    • Ensure that the support is flexible enough to adapt as your business evolves.
  5. Proactive Problem-Solving:
    • Encourage a proactive approach to problem-solving, anticipating potential issues before they arise.
    • Utilize your provider’s predictive analytics and other tools to enhance system stability and performance.

FAQs on SAP Third-Party Support

Q: How does third-party SAP support differ from SAP’s support?
A: Third-party support often focuses on maintaining current systems without pushing for frequent upgrades, and it can offer more personalized, cost-effective services.

Q: Can third-party support handle legal and compliance issues?
A: Yes, reputable third-party support providers stay updated on regulatory changes and ensure compliance, but it’s important to confirm this capability with your provider.

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 return to SAP support or use another service.

Conclusion

In conclusion, SAP Third-Party Support presents a viable, often more flexible, cost-effective alternative to traditional SAP support.

Following the top recommendations, businesses can fully leverage these services for enhanced efficiency and strategic advantage.

Author

  • 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.