GREE, a leader in the Japanese mobile internet and media service provider, has moved to Rimini Street. Surprisingly the change comes only six years after they implemented SAP ECC 6.0. While GREE sees a long future in its use for SAP it also wanted to see better value from its maintenance contracts. There were three key factors that influenced its decision.
SAP is ending mainstream maintenance of ECC 6.0 in 2025.The Rimini Street press release stated :”a 2025 planned end of mainstream maintenance date for ECC 6″. However SAP requested that a clarification is issued (See full response from SAP below)
- The high operational and maintenance costs from SAP meant that it did not believe it was gaining value from its payments.
- While SAP offered updates to its software GREE did not feel that the benefits of the upgrade was worth the cost and time of implementing them. It therefore looked at alternative avenues for support and realised that a third party maintenance provider might provide an answer.
It selected Rimini Street to deliver support for a minimum of 15 years from the switchover date. This is well beyond the end of life that SAP has offered, though SAP may still extend those end dates. The switch delivered immediate benefits. Like all customers it received a named senior level Rimini Street Primary Support Engineer (PSE). They were supported by a guaranteed 15 minute response time for any P1 issue. It also required engineering support 24×7 due to the nature of its business.
Hiroshi Okada, director, Management Information Systems Unit, GREE, Inc. commented: “In the past, we often needed to pay extra for inquiries with the vendor, and despite paying separately for this service it took a long time for the vendor to respond. However, after switching to Rimini Street, we are able to work faster because even if a problem occurs in the midnight, they respond quickly as we are provided individualized support 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.”
One clear outcome was the 50% savings GREE made in maintenance costs having made the switch. For many companies this might be the end of the story. However GREE, rather than losing the savings back into the business decided to reinvest.
More than a maintenance provider
In Rimini Street they found a partner that has provided more than just a support offering. Instead the conversations have allowed GREE to make longer term plans for improvements. Okada explained further saying: “As a result, their services provide multiple benefits including ultra-responsive, award-winning support by experienced engineers, and a strategic partnership to help accelerate an organizations’ business-driven IT strategies for competitive advantage versus being held captive by a vendor-dictated plan.
“By switching to Rimini Street, it became possible to invest in an IT environment with the latest technology, while maximizing the value of our current ERP system. At the same time we have been able to plan for and fund our business initiatives over the next five years.”
Those initiatives include the first steps on a journey to the cloud and an improved security solution. Rimini Street has also helped the company improve its use of the ERP solution delivering further business benefits.
Yorio Wakisaka, general manager Japan, Rimini Street commented: “GREE was able to utilize their newfound IT budget, a savings realized by reducing high maintenance costs from the vendor as well as related costs and resource inefficiencies, to implement cloud and next-generation security systems while maximizing the value of their current SAP system.
“As with so many of our clients, GREE is now looking ahead with a strategic business plan, and investing in the latest IT environment. The mobile Internet industry is advancing rapidly, and with the support of Rimini Street, their IT team is ready to transform and innovate to help the company maintain its competitive edge.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
Rimini Street is no longer just a simple maintenance services company, it is able to offer a far wider remit. It offers support and consulting services for a variety of vendors including IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP. Furthermore, it is also able to offer database administration and security. It has also proven at GREE that it can offer strategic consulting around cloud migrations should companies wish to attempt them.
As a result of this companies such as GREE, that only recently implemented their ERP solutions, may think seriously about renewing their ERP support arrangements with a third party that can reassign costs to more strategic projects.
The full response from SAP is as follows:
“Long-term, trustful and reliable customer relationships have been SAP’s highest priority for more than the past 40 years. For this reason, we are in frequent interactions with our customer basis, in particular related to our maintenance strategy.
In order to address our customers’ requests for reliability and investment protection, back in 2014 we have prolongated the mainstream maintenance until end of 2025 for SAP Business Suite 7 core application releases including the SAP ERP 6.0, SAP Customer Relationship Management 7.0, SAP Supply Chain Management 7.0 and SAP Supplier Relationship Management 7.0 applications and SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA 2013.
For SAP S/4HANA a comparable long-term planning reliability will be provided through a series of releases. Compared to market benchmark, this represents a remarkable long-term maintenance commitment. As in the past, SAP is committed to offering its customers paths to keep their SAP solutions current while protecting earlier investments. SAP will announce future maintenance and product options in due time, of course, while providing long-term lead times under consideration of our customers’ requirements.”
In the ET view. Effectively this means that if SAP issues no further announcements the current end date for maintenance is 2025. However the inference is that SAP may well extend maintenance for the products above, the current date is merely a placeholder. The two positions are not contradictory.