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SAP to bolster support program with new hires

SAP executives said Tuesday they plan to hire additional personnel to support its new premium support package.

SAP said Tuesday it plans to bolster its revamped support program with new hires in addition to shifting internal employees to reinforce its maintenance and support organization.

Our support professionals will be coming through the ranks of support delivery and some of them will come from the consulting operations.
Greg Pike,
 senior vice president of Active Global SupportSAP America Inc.

SAP spokesman Jim Dever said additional hires would be needed to sustain its support organization after rolling out a new premium support option. He didn't elaborate on how many new support personnel would be hired, but said the focus would be on improving customer support in all areas.

SAP launched a new Premium Support package this week offering customers individual support advisors who could be contacted by firms experiencing issues with their SAP systems. The support package, offered at 22% of the net license fee, includes an annual assessment to identify risks and mitigate potential problems, said Greg Pike, senior vice president of Active Global Support America, SAP America Inc.

"Our support professionals will be coming through the ranks of support delivery and some of them will come from the consulting operations," Pike said.

Related information:

SAP rolls out new support option

SAP's new support plan gives customers more to mull

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Pike said the program at first would be "internally resourced," but wouldn't rule out partnerships with third-party support providers in the future.

SAP Premium Support adds a guaranteed service level agreement on response time and corrective action. The agreement includes non-performance penalties to SAP for critical outages.

In January 2005, SAP acquired TomorrowNow, a third-party support provider for customers running PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards (JDE) software, as part of its strategy to wean those customers away from Oracle Corp. Pike said those personnel would continue to remain separate from the full support organization to work with customers making the switch to SAP.

"They are still very much focused on integrating customers with SAP and are continuing to give them a high level of service," he said.

SAP said recently that it would hire 3,500 new employees to support its operations in 2006, continuing a hiring spree it made in 2005, with an additional 3,600 workers.

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