February 14, 2019

February 14, 2019 | Larry Goldman | Senior Director, Product Marketing

On February 6, 2019, Vinnie Mirchandani posted an article entitled Software Maintenance “Empty Calories” that immediately caught our attention. Mirchandani is a prolific blogger, book author, and CEO of Deal Architect, a top advisory boutique for enterprise technology. He’s been following the enterprise software space and third-party support market for decades. One of his pet peeves — highlighted in the article — relates to the software maintenance programs delivered by the likes of Oracle, IBM, and SAP.  

Mirchandani’s take is that the value of these programs has worsened over time, so much in fact that he equates them to “empty calories.” As a third-party support provider of Oracle and SAP software solutions, we couldn’t agree more, especially with his caloric metaphor. Vinnie doesn’t mince words. We encourage you to read his article:  https://www.enterpriseirregulars.com/134670/software-maintenance-empty-calories/ 

Not All Calories Are the Same 

Experts in health and diet research are at pains to point out that not all calories are equal. While 100 calories of chocolate have the same amount of energy as 100 calories of broccoli (418,400 Joules of energy, if you’re curious), the human body uses different chemical pathways to digest those calories. Some of the biological processes are far more efficient, and others require more energy to run.  

This is why some dieticians are pushing the benefits of more protein (fills you up and takes more energy to digest) and Paleolithic diets and warning you away from refined sugars (metabolized to fat too quickly and linked to diseases including diabetes). The sugars, exemplified by high fructose corn syrup (as noted recently in Bud Light commercials), are the types of empty calories that degrade your health. 

Is the Health of Your IT Support Anemic? 

In his post, Mirchandani reinforces his caloric metaphor by explaining how Oracle, IBM, and SAP software maintenance have become inefficient for many IT teams — and unwanted fat in their budgets. And it’s an informed opinion. As part of his due diligence process, Mirchandani speaks with industry analysts, enterprise software executives, and vendors. He recently interviewed Spinnaker Support CEO Matt Stava, SVP of Global Operations Bob Harland, and VP of SAP Global Operations Shawn du Plessis to gather ideas and content for this and upcoming articles. 

Mirchandani writes that, as maintenance programs have transformed from live professional support to a self-support model, the only beneficiary appears to be the original software publisher, who has a hearty appetite for your budget dollars. CIOs are frustrated that they are paying more in fees for less direct response on fewer types of issues. IT teams are forced to fend for themselves using SAP Service Marketplace or the My Oracle Support portal to resolve issues that were once addressed by the software vendors’ engineers.  

And this is where third-party support enters the picture. Just as all calories are not the same, support solutions are not the same. Mirchandani touches on four reasons he believes support from third-party vendors is superior to that of the original software publishers: lower cost (often 70% or more), support for customized code, improved overall security, and avoidance of expensive, additional upgrade fees.  

We especially appreciate how he dispels the misperception spread by SAP and Oracle that third-party providers do not support customized code. Many technical issues originate in custom code that developers have added to refine their ERP processes, and third-party support providers have the incentive and expertise to find and resolve these. Categorically, SAP and Oracle do not support customizations. An excellent example of empty calories. 

The Energy Your IT Team Really Needs 

In comparison, a third-party support company provides dedicated and aligned senior software engineers that efficiently convert tickets into fast issue resolution. This paradigm shift in service approach allows a CIO to re-tool the staff towards priority tasks and value-add projects. Third-party experts handle the systems you have today while staffers are readied to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s cloud computing environments. A win/win for everybody. 

We are pleased that Mirchandani is shining a light on the high-cost, low-value support offerings from Oracle and SAP, while bringing awareness to the proven, superior alternative that is third-party support. We look forward to his related articles coming soon. 

Is It Time for You to Learn More? 

If you are interested in improving software support quality, saving at least 60% on maintenance fees, and holding off software publisher roadmap lock-in, then now’s the time to investigate third-party support. These solutions can extend the life of your existing on-premise software applications, and maintain their performance, security, stability, and ongoing interoperability. It’s more money in your pocket, more time to identify your best go-forward strategies, and better for the overall health of your enterprise investments. Contact us today to get the conversation started.

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