How To Select The Right SAP Service Partner?
Once the decision to outsource has been made, the overwhelming task of evaluating the large number of partners who may potentially be the best fit, is undertaken. An SAP partner is a critical member of the organization and hence mutual understanding, unified strategies and a smooth relationship between the two organizations is imperative. Here are some of the questions that should be in your checklist while evaluating and selecting the best SAP partner.
7 Critical Questions To Ask Your SAP Support Partner
Does the partner have the right pool of SAP certified consultants with cross-industry and cross-functional experience?
Selecting a partner with the right talent pool is as important as the process of hiring the right employees for an organization. The right talent includes certified support consultants with expertise and skills that cover the entire SAP spectrum, including all lines-of-business and industries, thus easily aligning itself to the company's changing application landscape and increasing operation/customer base.
Does the partner have the latest technology, telecommunication capabilities, stable infrastructure and seamless communication channels for successfully fulfilling SAP operations?
A stable base of powerful service infrastructure for effective support processing, skilled call management and systematic escalation management goes a long way in achieving operational maturity and optimizing SAP functionality. Daily communication between the SAP services vendor and the organization ensures proper coordination and issue handling.
How is the compatibility in terms of culture and quality between the partner and your organization?
In the process of actively seeking technical pricing, SLAs and support offerings, organizations tend to overlook other important aspects such as the cultural fit, relationship building and shared values/priorities. A good cultural fit allows organizations to build a strong foundation and easily settle disagreements, thus building a long lasting partnership.
What is the standardized process flow that will be followed for risk management, IT governance, incident management, change management and accountability?
A standard framework for incident management, governance methodology and accountability, increases efficiency of SAP Application Management Services and helps ensure sustained reductions in operating costs along with high levels of security. An effective SAP outsourcing organization provides a single point-of-access for accountability and risk management.
What are the different support offerings and service levels offered by the vendor? Is the actual price difference between standard and premier support levels large?
SAP vendors need to offer flexible delivery models to enable deployment of the best resources in a cost effective manner and suited to the needs of the client. Also, cost alone cannot be the deciding factor in choosing the right delivery model. The success or failure of onsite, offshore or hybrid models largely depends on the choosing the right provider.
What is the commitment given by the provider in terms of quality, SLAs, metrics and performance measures? Is this in line with your organization's goals?
Outsourcing SAP maintenance does not release an organization from fulfilling its own responsibilities to its customers. Hence SLAs and performance metrics should be well-crafted and mutually agreed upon by both parties. Strict adherence to this should be monitored and recorded on a regular basis.
How many projects has the vendor fulfilled in the last 5 years? Does the vendor have the infrastructure and support system to transit to SAP S/4HANA in the near future?
Quality, reliability and efficiency come with years of experience in managing SAP and SAP-centric solutions. A clear advantage that would set any service provider apart, is experience in implementing and migrating to newer technologies like SAP S/4HANA – both on-premise and cloud versions.

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