SAP Institutes Control Center Approach for Premium Implementations and Operations

A common myth in the enterprise applications space is that ongoing support and maintenance are only about “keeping the lights on.” Rather, support and maintenance should be innovation enablers to help companies become agile real-time enterprises, by more quickly deploying new capabilities and business models. Innovation cycles are becoming shorter, so the ability to maintain a competitive edge often depends on quickly implementing the latest technology advancements.

SAP has recently launched a new control center approach for "premium engagement" customers (currently about 300 enterprises). Delivered by the SAP Active Global Support (SAP AGS) organization, the control center approach aims to help companies achieve effective and efficient implementations and optimize ongoing operations (by deploying innovations such as the SAP HANA platform as well as cloud and mobile solutions).

Technology has improved far beyond what rocket scientists had access to when they launched Apollo 11 to the moon way back in 1969. But at least one concept has served as inspiration for SAP today: the development of a high-tech, purpose-built “control center,” designed to help SAP customers get the most out of their SAP investments. The control center approach is available exclusively to customers using SAP MaxAttention or SAP ActiveEmbedded services, delivering a combination of an embedded support team on site that is backed up by remote expertise and engineered services from SAP tailored to a customer's specific needs.

Onsite and Offsite Teams Working in Tandem

Based on the long-term support experience of SAP AGS, the control center approach is designed to fix issues, enable smooth installations, and increase satisfaction at all stages of a customer's relationship with SAP. The control center approach consists of three components: the innovation control center (ICC) and the operations control center (OCC), both located at the customer site, and the mission control center (MCC), located remotely at an SAP facility. Each is designed to complement the other and provide high-level support through the life cycle of an SAP solution.

The ICC and OCC are connected in real-time to dedicated remote MCC locations to help ensure best practices are being used for the implementation and that ongoing operations are supported. The MCC locations are managed by experts from support, development, and product management. The idea is to have all experts in "one room" at the same time focused on the specific customer situation. These interdisciplinary teams proactively monitor a customer's installation in real-time, allowing issues to be quickly identified and addressed. This approach also helps customers to adopt SAP Best Practices and resolve functionality concerns. To date, SAP has launched three MCC locations, including two in China (where SAP AGS is headquartered) and one in the United States. Additional locations are planned to be opened in Germany, Brazil, and Mexico.

Connected through the SAP Solution Manager application management solution, these centers work together to provide customers with guidance on how to use existing SAP functionality to fulfill business requirements. At the outset of an implementation or innovation project, the ICC delivers customer support aimed at modification-free implementations and continuous improvement within the business. The center is run by an on-site lead from SAP and supported by functional experts from the customer or the customer's implementation partner.

Using SAP Solution Manager, this team works together using the innovation control methodology in which "SAP solutions are built to run as efficiently as a factory." 

As the implementation approaches the go-live date, the ICC transitions to the OCC using the same setup at the customer site. The purpose of the OCC is to help ensure that SAP and third-party software solutions run efficiently and without disruptions. This center supports the streamlined, efficient operation of the SAP solution with a focus on the prevention of problems and immediate reaction to any issues. 

On the expo floor of the recently held SAPPHIRENOW 2013 conference, attendees could see flat screens equipped with control center support stations likely overseeing some unnamed live SAP environments.
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