How Procurement Can Assemble the Right Team to Evaluate Third-Party Support

March 21, 2019 

When Switching Support Vendors, it’s Always a Team Decision

Support for business-critical enterprise software is a necessity, and the decision to switch to a new support vendor has more stakeholders than you may expect.

But who are they and who should be on the team?

As the sourcing and procurement lead, you will need to engage various departments and individuals throughout the due diligence and decision-making processes. Should you choose to omit one or more stakeholders, then the resulting decision could be delayed or even suspended indefinitely.

Based on our experience with nearly 1,000 customers, here is a list of whom you must engage.

Information Technology (IT) Leadership

As the most impacted stakeholders, IT leaders must be included early. They have a vested interest in the Oracle or SAP enterprise applications that help manage the company’s financials, payroll, global tax and regulatory compliance, manufacturing operations, and supply chain. Their team must ensure the software applications perform well, are always up and running, remain secure and interoperable, and are adapted as business requirements change.

IT leaders like the CIO want to squeeze out as much value as possible from established investments, so getting them on board should not be difficult. We recommend a business-case approach combined with education. The concept of improved service for less than half the cost is always an intriguing proposition – especially since Oracle and SAP are investing less and less to enhance on-premise software.

IT leaders are also concerned with keeping their staff relevant and able to embrace future conditions. You can assure them that third-party support experts can handle virtually any current on-premise support requirement. That means that they can re-tool their teams for tomorrow’s new systems or cloud environments. Third-party support maintains the existing systems indefinitely or until a suitable replacement offering is made available and funded.

Information Technology (IT) Staff

It’s also advisable to include one or more lower-level IT staffers on the selection committee. These employees will more likely view third-party support through a personal lens, and so have job-related reservations. Your IT team might see third-party support as a threat to their job security and so will want the chance to ask tough technical questions to ensure third-parties can handle the heat. You should ensure they get their chance to drill the third-party engineers.

In fact, under third-party support, your internal IT managers and specialists will see many benefits, including the end of the self-service model perpetuated by Oracle and SAP. They will no longer need to browse an online knowledgebase to get issues fixed or questions answered. They simply open a ticket using a modern, secure issue tracking system, and a dedicated support analyst/team will work with them to resolution. Response time from ticket initiation occurs within minutes.

Finance

The Office of Finance is interested in any business decision that optimizes investments and reduces cost. CFOs like sure bets for your team. Since you are chartered to find and drive smart procurement and sourcing opportunities, enlisting your CFO can help persuade IT leaders and help smooth your progress through the decision-making gates.

Financial professionals should be receptive to the cost benefits of third-party support, which has been proven in over 3,000 enterprises. It brings dramatic, immediate savings that can help improve the bottom line (if your organization is in financial distress) or can be redirected (if your organization is funding IT innovation).

Business Operations

IT’s internal customers include business operators, the end users of enterprise software solutions. You might choose to engage some of these stakeholders at some point to confirm they are comfortable with a different support model and have the chance to weigh in with their questions.

Security

Ongoing security and vulnerability protection are paramount, and so it is important to include those chartered to maintain application and technology stack security into the third-party support conversation. Oracle, and to a lesser extent SAP, will make security a big issue. Third-party support vendors have developed equal or better solutions, and your security personnel will want to vet the offerings.

Legal

A final seat holder on your team should be someone representing legal. Key to the decision is a thorough assessment of operational, financial, and legal risks, and a top challenge for you is to monitor and mitigate vendor risk. Before making the decision to switch to third-party support, you will want to broker a conversation between your legal staff and the legal resources of the third-party vendor.

Both Oracle and SAP have made public statements that verify the legality of third-party support that is delivered the right way by respecting the intellectual property rights of others. Make sure that your legal advisors are brought in at the right time and made aware of past legal issues and associated risks with any vendor you review.

Summary

Switching from Oracle or SAP-provided Support to third-party software support is a big deal, not done lightly and not done in a vacuum. Migrating to a new vendor that will maintain your organization’s critical systems impacts multiple departments and individuals, and collectively, your assembled team will make a wise and informed decision. For additional insights, download our paper, “Building the Case for Third-Party SAP and Oracle Support: A Guide for Sourcing and Procurement Professionals.”

2019-03-21T10:31:12+00:00

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