What to expect from New Year’s (support) resolutions

Oracle/SAP don't agree to resolution SLA

It’s that time of year again. As 2019 ends and 2020 begins, you are probably considering your New Year’s Resolutions. It’s the time for promises that we make to ourselves like going to the gym or starting a new hobby. You’ve probably seen a hundred blog and social posts already about how to make and keep your New Year’s resolution.

So, this got us thinking about our own resolutions, not for ourselves, but for our customers: support resolutions.

Our business is all about providing resolutions to our customers when incidents occur, and providing these resolutions efficiently and in good time.

You can sum up our support resolutions (which we’ve had for over 22 years, not just from this month onwards) by examining our SLAs. These are the Service Level Agreements we have in place to define the quality and speed in which we respond to and resolve our customers’ incidents.

SLAs are commonplace in every industry, and are somewhat expected from customers now. Without an SLA, you’re effectively left with disparity and a sense from the provider of “well, we’ll get around to it when we can… you’ll hear from us… eventually…”

If you’re receiving support currently from Oracle/SAP, the above response might sound familiar.

Oracle and SAP probably haven’t made a New Year’s Resolution

That’s because both Oracle and SAP’s approach to resolutions in their SLAs are practically non-existent.

Oracle only offers SLAs for a response to an incident; it doesn’t provide a resolution SLA. This means you’ll get an estimated timescale on when you’re likely to hear back from Oracle, but not when you can expect your issue to be fixed. The equivalent of which is knowing when you’ll hear back from your plumber, but not when they’ll be able to fix the flood.

Oracle doesn’t do resolutions (or stick to them)

Oracle doesn’t create an atmosphere of faith or trust to reassure its customers either. The disclaimer in its support policies tells you all you need to know:

“Oracle’s failure to adhere to the times stated will not constitute a breach by Oracle.”

Oracle Software Technical Support Policies

So not only is it vague about its resolution times, Oracle has protected itself, stating that if it fails to meet those vague timescales, it isn’t liable. Therefore, it doesn’t have to offer any compensation or even any justifications for its performance (or lack of).

SAP’s DIY support resolutions

SAP, like Oracle, provides response time SLAs but no resolution SLAs. The only exception here is if you are paying for its top-tier service, but even then, its “top-tier” resolutions are anything but.

While Oracle believes in a “cross that bridge when we get to it” approach, SAP believes you’re better off crossing the bridge on your own. That’s because its personal definition of problem resolution reads, “SAP shall provide a solution, workaround or action plan for resolution.”

Instead of intervention, you will be given a plan to fix the incident yourself (which you and Google might have already tried). Then while you are trying to fix the issue yourself, SAP will helpfully mark the incident as resolved, because it has done its bit.

What can you expect from a third-party support provider?

So, the vendor’s approach to SLAs and support is not up to standard, but how do they compare with third-party providers like Support Revolution? Many imagine that because we cut Oracle and SAP support costs in half, we must provide a lower quality service.

But actually the opposite is true. Unlike the traditional vendors, our business is entirely focused on providing support, and this is evident from comparing our SLAs.

Beware though that not all third parties provide a similar level of service. That’s why we’ve put together the below table outlining your options and their SLAs:

Provider Response SLAs Resolution SLAs Service credits
Support Revolution Yes Yes Yes
Rimini Street Yes No No
Spinnaker Support Yes No No
Oracle Yes No No
SAP Yes Premium service No
(Data based on publicly available information on 01/01/2020)

Rimini Street

Resources on its website will advise you that Rimini Street offers an average response time of less than five minutes for critical issues, and its SLA guarantees a response within 15 minutes – again, for critical issues.

These are still just response times though. Its SLAs regarding resolution times and its timescales for non-critical issues are not defined. This is one aspect of its service that is perhaps too much like Oracle’s.

Spinnaker Support

Spinnaker Support, on the other hand, advertises response to high priority tickets as within 15 minutes. The official wording in its online resources goes as follows:

“For tickets of lower priority, SLAs provide equally reasonable response times. The leading objective is to ensure that every issue presented is successfully resolved in a timely manner.”

Spinnaker Support

A respectable target, although a little vague. How long, precisely, is “a timely manner?” And you’ll notice that, once more, definitive figures for its resolution times have not been included.

Support Revolution’s SLAs

We don’t just provide both response and resolution SLAs. At Support Revolution, we also provide transparent reporting and service credits to compensate our customers if we ever miss our SLAs.

Our own approach to SLAs is a little more watertight. Firstly, we believe that SLAs should be made up of several, vital components:

  • Outline what services will be provided
  • Define the responsibilities of both parties
  • Measure performance, to ensure both parties are satisfied with the service provided
  • Track and report SLA performance on a regular basis
  • Provide dispute processes, in cases of escalation or dissatisfaction

With these components in mind, we set metrics to measure them, ensuring we use best practices and deliver to our customer’s requirements. As part of those metrics, uniquely and quite crucially, we have a time frame for both a response and a resolution to any issue raised.

Unlike the vendors listed above, we have defined our SLAs to include both, and to cover a wide variety of issues – not just the critical ones. Plus, when we say resolution, we don’t mean we’ll resolve the issue by sending you a how-to guide; we will work hard to solve the problem for you. We may require some input on your part, but we would never just leave you to your own devices.

Upfront and honest

Hitting over 98% of our SLA targets is a key performance indicator, set by the Support Revolution Board of Directors. We scrupulously measure and deliver our high quality service with the results to prove it. Our 2019 SLA delivery looks like this:

Support Revolution 2019 SLAs

It’s clear to see that we have a great track record, and we’re proud of it. We even have a compensation practice in place, just in case we fail to reach our target (a mentality that isn’t shared by Oracle, SAP, or any other support provider). If we fall outside of an SLA, we will provide service credits of up to 16% of your monthly fee.

Support Revolution resolutions

We take our SLAs very seriously. They provide a clear indication on how we’re performing and our service levels. They tell us that we’re fast, efficient, and secure, which is what our customers need to know too.

“We are proud to be the only Oracle and SAP support provider to offer not only responses AND resolutions SLAs, but also service credit compensation if we ever miss these targets. And we don’t just talk a big game, we show up and deliver every day of the year.”

Mark Smith, CEO of Support Revolution

If you want to read more about SLAs, as well as why you shouldn’t put up with Oracle and SAP’s ambiguity, you can check out our SLA guide using the link below.

We also have another support SLA blog post, where we explore what is classified as a ‘critical’ issue, plus a detailed look into our time frames for resolution.

This year, while investigating your ERP support options, don’t settle for response-only SLAs or DIY support. Make it one of your resolutions to find a higher level of support service and performance.

Join our revolution today.