SAP on Tuesday announced a new program that allows customers to handle both on-premises and cloud support issues through a single, integrated platform, and to make it easier for companies to adopt and manage hybrid environments.
"We think this is the future of support," said Augusto Abbarchi, SAP's global head of maintenance go-to-market strategy. "It covers everything from SAP, all solutions, all deployment models."
The new program, called ONE Support, comes with SAP Enterprise Support at no extra charge.
Abbarchi said the new program reflects where SAP thinks its customers are headed.
"What we've learned is that companies want to move to the cloud at their own pace, in their own way," Abbarchi said. "This means that we need to provide support to customers regardless of if they deploy the solutions on premise, or in the cloud, in the same exact way, and trying to hide as much as possible the complexity on our side."
Because customers will use one integrated portal for all support tickets, they won't have to worry if they're contacting the right SAP support entity, according to SAP.
SAP ONE Support also means there is one escalation process for cloud, on-premises, and hybrid software landscapes. "All communications channels, processes, and reporting mechanisms are aligned to address critical customer situations, regardless of their software deployment scenario," SAP said in a statement.
The current ONE Support program only includes the integrated incident-management processes. However, SAP says it will continue to enhance the program, including adding application lifecycle management features that will allow SAP to look at performance issues and other problems across the totality of a customer's SAP deployment.
"[We will be able to] track and follow an incident through the whole implementation," said Jens Bernotat, vice president of SAP's maintenance go-to-market strategy.
"[If] we see a performance issue in the suite, we can follow the whole process through. Maybe the root cause is not with the [SAP Business] Suite, but somewhere else. We'll look at the end-to-end deployment. We'll look at SuccessFactors, Ariba. Maybe there's a misconfiguration between SuccessFactors and the Suite," Bernotat said.
Forrester Research analyst Duncan Jones called the move a positive step – if a modest one.
"This is a sensible move by SAP to reduce gaps and inconsistencies in the customer experience, between traditional and SaaS (Software as a Service) products. It will help them cross-sell on premise and SaaS," Jones said.
Jones said he did not think the program would significantly change the value proposition of SAP support either way. Those that value SAP support to begin with would stay, and those who might gravitate to third party support to cut costs would still do so.
More details on the program will be forthcoming at the SAP Sapphire Now conference, June 3-5 in Orlando, according to SAP.