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External Support for SAP - Open Discussion

Hi All,

Lately I have discovered that there are some companys in the market that offer to change the official Maintenance Support from SAP to an external support for the SAP products (ERP, BW ..) Even they offer the same service for the database managers (Oracle, DB2 ...). Honestly I've never heard about it till now.

We can say that is like "Detach" SAP from SAP so at the moment that you go to this way you don't have maintenance support from SAP anymore and you will deal your maintenance with the other company. They should solve all your issue instead of SAP or Oracle, IBM ..

From the finance point of view you can save money with this approach because this companies offers prices obviously lower than the official vendors,

But to be honest I don't care about the finance component, I'm more courious about how to work with this model from the SAP System Administrator point of view.

Please feel free to share all the thoughts and, of course, your experiences in this kinf of models. As you can see I have not mentioned the names of these companies to avoid any commercial discussion by both sides so please try to focus in technical discussions.

Kind Regards

Jose

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    author's profile photo Former Member
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    Posted on Oct 18, 2013 at 04:09 AM

    Hi Jose,

    My thoughts...

    There is undoubtedly some differences in the offerings of each of these external maintenance providers however I think the key to understanding the impact of moving to such a model lies with the common denominator; that is, all of these external support providers are not SAP.

    By this I am not trying state the obvious but highlight the fact that many ongoing and future requirements demand SAP’s involvement should the customer wish to remain ‘SAP standard’.
    For example, customers using an external provider will not be able to access the following:

    - SAP Notes

    - SAP Support Packs

    - SAP Enhancement Packs

    - version updates / new releases

    It is highly likely that the external providers will have their own versions of the above, but they will not be SAP standard and it will make life very difficult/costly should the customer ever wish to move away from that provider. It is also worthwhile pointing out that any non-SAP database will not be as anywhere near as extensive as the SAP Note database (fortunately or not, depending on your point of view).

    From a day-to-day system admin perspective, the impact will depend on the offerings of the external provider. Will hey have an EarlyWatch Alert equivalent and how does that work? What are the backend connectivity requirements? Etc. The actual day-to-day operations, however, should remain unchanged.

    Of course, for customers wishing to keep their systems as-is without a strategy to chase future technologies, I can see the use of an external provider as a worthwhile option.

    Cheers,

    Gregg

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    • Former Member Former Member

      These companies can only make sure that the customer system system keeps going. They fix problems if they arise. They generally don`t provide any service that can help to improve performance, security or reduce costs. When engaged in these discussion with a customer, it is important to stress the features offered by Enterprise support and make sure the customer uses them. The services offered by ES cannot be matched by the offering of third party maintenance provider as far as I am aware

  • Posted on Jan 17, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Hello Jose Manuel,

    I was surprise with your initial post, i don't understand how a company that offer service to a SAP customer can give support avoiding SAP maintenance...

    If customer read their "Exhibit for SAP Enterprise Support" or "Exhibit for SAP Standard Support", both maintenance have this on their lines:

    How a third company give support to SAP customer's without a Solution Manager ? With Solution Manager, you are not available to give support to customer's than't don't have their maintenance up-to-date; and if they do their are getting in trouble that SAP Customers.

    As my own experience after working in a SAP Support department where we offer SAP Support to more than 300 customers, I can't believe how that offer "External Support".

    Think about that:

    - Legal changes in countries like SEPA, 340,etc.. in Spain or other countries: That type of changes/fixes/corrections delivered from SAP and need to be implemented on SAP customer's System is trough hard coding, have you think about hard coding around 20 sap notes corrections ? Without the release check ? ....

    - That SAP customer's can't get SAP early Watch report from a Solution Manager, because the ewa report always check if the license maintenance are up to date, so they will not have access to ewa recommendations.

    - If in SAP customer's specific country change any payroll detail that need to be added to HCM system for legal requirements, will that customers endanger their on Salary ¡

    - External support will not able to report support message to SAP to give support from experts if SAP customer found a problem in SAP system normal functionality.

    - SAP-OSS will not work anymore...

    - You can use Maintenance Optimizer to approve downloads or create XMLs software stacks.

    - Each customer owner with a Standard or Enterprise Support Maintenance are able to download and use SAP Solution Manager; that customer's that don't have they maintenance up-to-date are not able to download or use it, and of course any external company can't offer support from external Solution Manager to SAP Customer's without a Correct Maintenance.

    I can't stop writing inconveniences to any company that use External Support detaching SAP from SAP...

    Thanks Jose Manuel Salgueroto open a discussion like this to allows customers in that situation to see what they are losing, and the risk that this can afford to most important and critical business process for their business.

    Regards,

    Luis


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  • Posted on Nov 19, 2015 at 11:19 PM

    I'm now working for a 3rd party support organisation that has no contact with SAP, to the extent that I am not (based on independent legal advice to the company) allowed to access support.sap.com on any company device. I think I have avoided any reference to my employers name, so that this doesn't contravene any SCN guidelines 😊

    If you cancel your SAP maintenance contract, you retain access to:

    Security Notes

    https://support.sap.com/securitynotes

    Installation Data

    https://support.sap.com/keys-systems-installations/installations.html

    System Data

    https://support.sap.com/keys-systems-installations/systems/view-edit.html

    License Keys

    https://support.sap.com/keys-systems-installations/keys.html

    SSCR keys

    https://support.sap.com/keys-systems-installations/keys/sscr.html

    Migration keys

    https://support.sap.com/keys-systems-installations/keys/migration.html

    Of course, there is a distinction between going off maintenance because your release is out of date, and cancelling "official" SAP support entirely.

    The former opens up a lot of business assumptions around core platform, risk assessment etc. I have worked with SAP customers who were on Max Attention or it's equivalent at the time, which made the support of 2.x and 3.x and 4.x R/3 systems relatively simple. We had more issues with hardware maintenance than software maintenance on those systems. Having said that, given the stability of those systems, you can see why customers who are happy with their only R3 system being a 4.x system don't see any point in having any connection at all with SAP.

    In the case where you cancel SAP maintenance, you still own the rights to run and modify the software that you have rights to. What this means is if you are running ECC6 EHP4, you can download the EHP6 upgrade and appropriate OSS Notes, create the appropriate STACK XML for the upgrade, then cancel maintenance, then do your upgrade.

    After you cancel maintenance, you retain your S number, but you lose the authorization to access notes or corrections (see exception noted below), documentation (except for SCN and help.sap.com), new software or patches, install the SAP router connection to SAP etc. This can cause problems; for example, sometimes the company I work for gets the job because the SAP system just isn't the focus of the business any more; not as important as most of us think it should be. This leads to, shall we say, an under-investment in training and staffing by the customer; I've worked with people who needed reminding that executing the next transaction in the SAP GUI needs a "/n" before it 😊


    Importantly you still have the rights to move your system (i.e. specify a new hardware key via the license keys tool) and to get SSCR Keys | SAP Support Portal to make changes to SAP objects and Z objects.


    BTW, one exception regarding access to notes and corrections is that customers who have cancelled maintenance still have the right to access https://support.sap.com/securitynotes. I have to say it would have been easy for SAP to make this inaccessible, but it is genuinely good socially responsible behavior that should be applauded, as it must cost some effort (to distinguish between security and product issues) to maintain. The only caveat here is that SAP does not prvide operating system or DBMS security updates (except for HANA, of course).


    What appears to be a more complicated issue is the customer who wants to run Windows 8.x and / or Office 365, but only has access to the SAP GUI 7.20 that was current when they cancelled maintenance. There are Microsoft technologies and techniques that help us get around that particular issue. More complicated examples exist as well, like another customer who had downloaded NW 7.4 software, but didn't create a STACK XML file. Theoretically, its possible they can upgrade, but we are legally / ethically unable to do things like suggest they use someone else's (on SAP maintenance) Solution Manager, I know it happens (we have many cases where SAP partners like IBM are providing first-level or hardware support to the Customer, and they will sometimes provide SAP IP that the customer isn't entitled to).

    The worst case, from a technical perspective, will require that the customer "uncancels" SAP maintenance. They usually return (because of the issues mentioned elsewhere in this thread).

    My final point is that I get paid based on case satisfaction surveys. I get a copy of the survey response, so does my boss, his boss, her boss, and the CEO. While the mechanics of our CRM system let me ignore or close a case any time I like, if I do so it gets reflected in the survey for that case, and in my pay packet. This breeds a close personal relationship between customers and Support Engineers; My customers have my phone number. Sometimes this gets abused, but you know what ? They may not always be right, but they will always be the customer 😊

    hth

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