PCoE certification – a quality label from SAP to partners accredited to deliver SAP Maintenance.
As well as being a key element to keep SAP systems running reliably and safely, SAP Maintenance is an innovation enabler. With its Partner Center of Expertise (PCoE) certification renewed for the past ten years, PASàPAS delivers Maintenance on behalf of SAP whilst guaranteeing a high quality of service.
Bernadette de Araujo, PCoE manager at PASàPAS
Over time, many companies seem to have got into the habit of only updating their mission-critical applications under duress, for fear of disrupting the business with a patch or a version upgrade. “Obviously there is always a risk when you do something”, says Bernadette de Araujo, an SAP Maintenance specialist and PCoE manager at PASàPAS, “…but there is also a risk in doing nothing, and this risk has increased over time”.
In fact, businesses rely increasingly on ERP systems such as SAP, and in most organizations, if SAP stops, all activity stops. The rise of cyber threats in 2020 has highlighted the importance of keeping SAP systems up to date to minimise the risks associated with security breaches. And keeping SAP systems up to date is at the heart of SAP Maintenance.
Beyond these risk factors, bypassing the updates offered by the software vendor also means missing out on improvements and innovation, including user interface enhancements or even regulatory functionalities. Not to mention the difficulties that will inevitably arise when the company wants to catch up with the latest version of SAP: it will then be necessary to erase what is called the technical debt.
“The increase in cyberattacks, as well as the move to HANA (SAP’s In-Memory database) are pushing companies to better recognize the value of SAP Maintenance”, analyses Bernadette de Araujo, “because the transition to In-Memory architectures brings new ways of working across sectors and roles, and these new functionalities are often brought to the market via the SAP Maintenance.”
PASàPAS: PCoE-certified for the past 10 years
Rather than trying to deliver a one-size-fits-all Maintenance service to all its customers, SAP decided long ago to involve partners in the provision of the service to small and mid-size enterprises. Across both direct and indirect channels SAP retains all the software development (corrective as well as evolutions). However, partners such as PASàPAS are responsible for delivering first and second line support to their customers and, more generally ensure that customers get the most value from their SAP Maintenance contract.
To ensure that the partners involved in the delivery of the Maintenance are equipped to do it, SAP introduced the PCoE (Partner Center of Expertise) certification. This recognition, subject to a rigorous audit carried out every two years by a specialist team, is a prerequisite for partners to sell and support SAP solutions. It is also a distinction that PASàPAS secured about ten years ago and has been successfully renewing ever since, including once again this year.
For the customers, this PCoE certification attests that their SAP partner meets several strict requirements:
– certified consultants on all the SAP Solutions sold and supported – about one hundred at PASàPAS
– connection of all customers to the SAP Solution Manager monitoring platform
– availability of demo systems for all the SAP products and versions that the partner implements
– end-to-end service management process and system (between customers, partner, and SAP)
– and, finally, guarantee that the partner has up-to-date information on all customer contacts and systems deployed, to enable effective reaction in the event of an emergency.
This long list of requirements guarantees the quality of the service delivered by the partner and, in the event of an escalation, by SAP themselves.
A single port of call for SAP Maintenance and On-Demand SAP Expertise
“Renewing this certification requires about three months of work, full-time” notes Bernadette de Araujo – a significant investment for PASàPAS, which currently has over one hundred SAP maintenance customers. “And all our clients, whatever their size, benefit from identical processes and the same quality of service”.
“In addition to the value they derive from their SAP Maintenance, our customers can also get access to On-Demand SAP Expertise, a service offer originally designed by PASàPAS to reach beyond the strict scope of the Maintenance. As both services are delivered by the same team of expert consultants, using the same system, our customers benefit from a single port of call for SAP Maintenance and On-Demand Expertise.”
This means that they can reach out to PASàPAS for support from expert consultants, and PASàPAS will seamlessly deal with their request under their Maintenance contract if possible, and otherwise under their On-Demand SAP Expertise contract.
Finally, exceeding SAP’s requirements from PCoE partners, PASàPAS helps its customers make the most of the SAP system monitoring and health checks available as part of their Maintenance service.
This is particularly true with Early Watch Alerts, these weekly reports from Solution Manager that monitor the health of SAP systems. “We review these voluminous reports and explain their content to our customers in plain language, focusing on the most important recommendations for them”, explains Bernadette de Araujo. An approach that also applies to the “Technical Quality Checks” produced by SAP and which allow, for example, to assess the technological risk of an upgrade or to identify ways to optimize a system.
SAP Expertise retains its value when moving to Cloud
Could SAP’s “Cloud Only” strategy shake up this well-oiled organisation? For Bernadette de Araujo, SAP’s “Cloud Only” strategy, materialized by the launch of the RISE with SAP offer, will certainly move the lines that currently delimit the respective roles of SAP and its partners. “However, fundamentally, our role and our expertise remain relevant, particularly with SMEs that SAP does not usually address directly. With our expertise in maintaining and evolving SAP systems, in moving them to Public Cloud environments and in S/4HANA conversions, we are ideally placed to keep on helping our customers on this journey to the Cloud and beyond”.