Valentine’s Day: are you smitten with your support partner?

This Valentine’s Day, we’re considering the aspects that make up a great support partnership, and whether organisations like yours are currently able to enjoy them.

With any kind of relationship, be it personal or professional, there will always be some level of expectation. You come to expect certain behaviours and support from the other side.

It’s important to honestly consider whether your relationships with your vendors, such as Oracle and SAP, are meeting those expectations. How would you describe your working relationship with the mega-vendors? Do you feel as though you’re getting a decent commitment – or any at all, for that matter?

Can you depend upon your support partner?

Trust is a very important aspect of any relationship. It’s the unspoken promise to be loyal, the lack of hidden surprises, and the trust of each other being there in times of need. But how much do you trust your support partner to provide help when you ask for it?

When you submit an incident report through My Oracle Support, do you do so with a strong sense of optimism? Given that you’ll have no definitive idea of when you’ll receive a response from Oracle, much less a resolution, we highly doubt it.

The incident report itself will likely bounce around Oracle’s specialists. Then, it potentially ends with you being pointed towards self-help guides or Oracle-user forums. Meanwhile, you’re risking loss of revenue or reputation (depending on the severity) during the wait.

The vendor also has a reputation for tricky-to-understand contracts and automatically renewing support agreements. Oracle gives names to its particularly crafty contracts, like ULAs and Market Driven Support.

Note to all Oracle-using organisations: should the vendor approach with offers of an Unlimited Licence Agreement or Oracle Market Driven Support, be sure you know the facts first. Click the links to find out why.

As though that wasn’t enough to contend with, can you depend on your current support partner to respect your choices? Whether or not a software upgrade or Cloud purchase is in your roadmap, Oracle is liable to ‘encourage’ you towards one regardless.

Dependability is a scarce resource when your support partners act in their own self-interests.

Can your support partner meet your needs?

Compromising is another important aspect of any relationship; being flexible and accommodating to benefit both parties.

Although, in a professional setting, that tends to swing more in favour of the consumer. In this age of endless competition, and an exponential need to provide exceptional customer service, the focus is on the suppliers to meet customers’ varying needs.

Yet, some suppliers still seem insistent on going in the other direction. Take SAP, for example. The Head of Product Management for SAP S/4HANA, Oliver Betz, believes in standardisation, “which needs to happen on the customer side: they have to agree on standardised processes.”

Then, of course, there is the (in)famous SAP S/4HANA support deadline in 2027. All SAP-based organisations will need to have invested in and moved (or be moving) to the Cloud solution. Otherwise, they’ll be left paying for minimal support (which is paradoxically more expensive than regular support).

These are not the behaviours or beliefs of a reliable support partner. This is not compromising to suit both parties. These things must be done the vendor’s way, and to the vendor’s time frame.

Does your support partner believe in commitment?

A strong relationship means more than the occasional gesture, like a random bouquet of flowers. While it might sweeten a short-term situation, it doesn’t undo longstanding, fundamental problems.

For example, SAP recently announced there would be no support fee price increase for 2021. SAP made this decision in an effort to help customers facing difficult times.

On the one hand – great! It’s refreshing to see positive action on SAP’s part.

But SAP’s generous offer doesn’t lower a support cost that has only ever increased. It’s like the customers have a series of weights attached to them. As SAP’s gift this year, another weight won’t be added. The vendor has not taken positive action to help customers – it has simply decided not to take negative action this year.

Organisations need a support partner that responds to their needs on a regular basis; not just on the odd occasion when they feel like it, or to make up for doing something wrong. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find an occasion when the vendors did that!

You before us

If your answer to one, two, or all three questions is no, then perhaps it’s time to make a change. A support partnership should be built on foundations of reliability, trust, commitment – and more.

Your support partner should be dedicated, care about your goals & aspirations, and do what it can to help you reach them. That’s why we’ve made our support services what they are today. As a start, we can offer your organisation:

  • Full control of your IT roadmap – no forced upgrades or Cloud purchases
  • Huge savings on your current support bills – at least a 50% reduction
  • Response and resolution SLAs – we’ve fixed over 99% of incidents within their targets in the past 12 months, and you can expect this too

So, if you’re falling out of love with your existing support partner and want to build a stronger connection – one that benefits you – then get in Contact (love notes optional).

Or if you’d like to see the customers/competitors who’ve already fallen for us, be sure to visit our Customers page by clicking below:

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