The SAP/Business Objects Support Blunder - InformationWeek

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7/15/2008
12:12 PM
Cindi Howson
Cindi Howson
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The SAP/Business Objects Support Blunder

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that support is one of my hot buttons in evaluating BI vendors... You also know that support has been Business Objects' Achilles heal, yet the vendor has made significant improvements over the last two years... All of that fell apart last week when SAP abruptly switched Business Objects customers to the SAP support site.

When SAP acquired Business Objects early this year, it committed to keeping Business Objects as a separate company. As a separate company owned by SAP, it could better execute on its leadership in the BI market and remain open and agnostic to non-SAP customers and systems. Both also wanted to tap into any potential joint customers and synergies. One of those synergies is support.

Naturally, there are economies of scale in sharing support systems to track cases, provide searchable content, and so on. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that support is one of my hot buttons and one I consider to be a critical factor for evaluating BI vendors. When things go wrong with software - and they will - it's the quality of support that is the difference between success and frustration and failure.If you read the BIScorecard Summary Report (new one due out next week), then you also know that support has been Business Objects' Achilles heel. And yet, it is one that the vendor has made significant improvements on in the last two years. The vendor's internal metrics showed marked improvement. Anecdotally, the customer feedback I've heard has improved and in particular, larger deployments on the Elite level plan raved about the attention and follow through.

All of that fell apart last week when SAP abruptly switched Business Objects customers to the SAP support site. Customers were supposed to get new logon IDs, but many didn't and still haven't. Critical cases that were opened before the switch are currently missing from the SAP support system, and the Business Objects support system is no longer accessible to customers. Business Objects support engineers, meanwhile, are telling customers they will suspend critical cases that haven't been updated. Duh. How can customers update them without access to either the old or new system?

This blunder is beyond comprehension and smacks of both poor planning and inadequate testing.

The issues will no doubt eventually get fixed, but it does not bode well for quality of support either continuing to improve or being any better under SAP's direction. My recommendation to existing customers - other than patience - is to test your new logon ID when received and escalate issues rapidly and loudly. For prospects, remember to evaluate support as part of your selection process.

Regards, CindiIf you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that support is one of my hot buttons in evaluating BI vendors... You also know that support has been Business Objects' Achilles heal, yet the vendor has made significant improvements over the last two years... All of that fell apart last week when SAP abruptly switched Business Objects customers to the SAP support site.

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