One of the biggest questions customers have for their software vendors revolves around the business value of support and maintenance – and rightly so.


Yet according to Jens Bernotat, vice president of Strategy for Maintenance Go-To-Market at SAP, customers may not always realize exactly how their investment in support and maintenance actually brings real value to their company.

“We’re committed to helping our customers make the most of every opportunity to innovate at their own pace,” said Bernotat.

Reinforcing its long-term commitment to innovation, SAP has already announced it will provide mainstream maintenance for SAP Business Suite 7 until 2025 and through the assumed envisioned sequence of releases for SAP S/4HANA also until then.

Equally important, Bernotat said that companies have access to a number of important services in addition to the innovations they receive as a result of paying maintenance to SAP. He outlined four common misconceptions about SAP support and maintenance, and how customers can fully use these services for even greater business advantage.

1. Business Outcomes

Some customers may not know the extent of SAP’s direct support in showing them the best way to capture value from their software and support investment. For example, SAP Enterprise Support offers benchmarking that helps customers understand how their business performance stacks up again peer KPIs (key performance indicators) for their industry. Included are suggestions for improvements customers can implement using support services they have already paid for.

“Along with proposals for using SAP support services that are part of their maintenance contract, we help them understand how to best realize identified value opportunities,” said Bernotat. “Customers learn how to improve their overall business performance by using SAP in the most effective way for optimized business outcomes.”

Bernotat also explained that “customers can use our tools to figure out which elements of the hundreds of functions we ship with every enhancement package would be most beneficial to their company, based on their specific SAP footprint. These tools are available within all support offerings.”

2. Seamless Support for Hybrid Landscapes

SAP provides a seamless support experience for customers across their software landscape, bridging on-premise as well as cloud solutions. This is becoming increasingly important in a hybrid world where organizations typically have both on-premise and cloud solutions in different parts of the company. It’s particularly valuable to the many companies transitioning to SAP S/4HANA, which expands business processes in the cloud.

“Customers may not be aware of the additional advantages there are to having one support experience from SAP for all of their systems, whether in the cloud or not,” said Bernotat. “This kind of orchestrated, end-to-end and harmonized support platform saves time and costs, and makes sure business processes are up and running as quickly as possible. Customers can therefore focus on how to best implement business processes.”

3. Reallocate Investment Toward Innovation

Some customers also don’t know that they can reallocate their maintenance spend to bring in innovative solutions. Using “extension policies,” customers can terminate maintenance on unused software and, in exchange, purchase the latest software from SAP – whether on premise or cloud. The idea is to provide businesses with the kind of flexibility needed to more easily adopt innovative technologies for digitalization.

4. Constantly Expanding Support

Many customers haven’t fully explored the value of enriched support offerings from SAP. One example is SAP Solution Manager 7.2, which introduced a new standard for application life-cycle management that addresses both IT and business mandates.

“Digital transformation is about introducing innovations fast,” said Bernotat. “This is where SAP Solution Manager 7.2 excels, helping customers make the most of tremendous additional opportunities like approaches and services to bring in SAP S/4HANA. All of these capabilities are included in every customer’s support contract.”

SAP Support is also moving away from the traditional, incident-driven model to embedded, social interactions that answer customer questions and solve problems faster. For example, customers can interact with SAP experts using chat for faster and more direct conversations.

Like everything else in a digitalized world, support and maintenance is transforming with dramatic impact for customers. With a greater understanding of how to use these services, companies can accelerate innovation for faster growth.

Author: Susan Galer