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SAP rolls out new support option

SAP's new "premium" level support fills a gap between standard support and its high end services.

SAP is launching a new mid-tier support package aimed at customers who need heightened levels of responsiveness and individual attention, but not the high end services purchased by the largest customers.

It's near the same price point that Oracle charges for maintenance, but SAP has a higher service level associated with the support offering.
Paul Hamerman,
vice president of enterprise applicationsForrester Research Inc.

The new level called SAP Premium Support, is a step above SAP's standard support package and is offered at 22% of the net license fee. SAP said the new package was launched after customer research revealed a gap in its support offerings between standard and high end support.

With the new package, SAP is looking to generate more support revenue by selling a level of service at a price point similar to rival Oracle Corp., said Paul Hamerman, vice president of enterprise applications at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc.

"It's near the same price point that Oracle charges for maintenance, but SAP has a higher service level associated with the support offering," he said. "It has a broader applicability to customers that have a lower risk tolerance for their systems to be offline."

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In addition to the standard level of support, the new program gives customers access to more individualized attention and a telephone support advisor that guides the customer through issues. SAP Standard Support, the basic offering from SAP, is offered at 17% of the net license fee.

SAP MaxAttention, the highest level of support, is aimed at its largest enterprise customers and includes a permanent on-site support team and an executive sponsor.

Move to SOA could result in lost support revenue

As SAP, Oracle and other large applications vendors ready their products for a service oriented architecture, many customers may decide to forgo upgrades. As a result, third party support providers could fill a gap missed by large enterprises, according to Hamerman.

So far, enterprise applications vendors have avoided providing "a la carte" support service to customers. Through this kind of support package, customers can choose the support services they need and buy upgrades on an as needed basis.

"Enterprise application vendors may see their support base erode over time," Hamerman said. "I'd like to see vendors not only offer premium support package but a reduced level of service options for customers that need more support and less likely to upgrade."

SAP recently acquired third party support provider, TomorrowNow Inc., to offer support to customers running PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards (JDE) software. The company used the acquisition to bolster its Safe Passage program, to get PeopleSoft and JDE customers to switch to SAP. TomorrowNow has been initially targeting companies that are already joint SAP customers.

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