A couple of months ago, we published a blog post on the cost of SAP Business One. This looked at some of the factors that affect the lifetime cost and ROI of a SAP Business One solution, including pre-implementation work, customer-side resourcing, and reviews and optimisation.
One thing it didn’t look at, however, was how much you should expect to pay for support. And this can be a big part of the overall cost – and value – of any ERP product. When the running of your business depends on the availability and functionality of your software, you can’t afford to underestimate your support needs – or choose a bottom-of-the-barrel supplier.
So how much will SAP Business One support cost?
Generally speaking, you should expect to pay around 20% of your licence fee per annum for SAP Business One support, comprising both SAP’s annual maintenance fee (which entitles you to regular fixes and upgrades, as well as access to customer-only areas of SAP’s websites) and support fees from your SAP partner.
This may sound high to some would-be customers, but there are other ERP vendors – even in the small and medium-sized business market – that charge significantly more. NetSuite’s top-tier support package, for example, costs 37.5% of the software’s annual licence fee, according to reviews like this one and this one. Naturally, this will have a massive impact on TCO.
Note that some ERP support partners eschew percentage fees in favour of a pay-per-ticket or pay-per-hour model, where – as the name suggests – customers are invoiced by the number of support tickets they raise, or the amount of their partner’s engineers’ time they use. This may sound like an attractive option to the budget-conscious ERP buyer, but it can be a false economy – there’s always a risk of your support needs spiralling out of control should a serious incident ever occur, and this could cost your business heavily.
What should you look for in a support partner?
Assuming you didn’t already realise, you’ll have gathered from the above that a large part of a SAP Business One customer’s support comes from their SAP partner, not SAP itself. The level and quality of support you get for the solution can vary from one partner to another.
As such, when it comes to choosing between suppliers, you should pay attention to factors like their support desk hours and flexibility, the way they assign and resource their support teams (with some suppliers, you may only have access to one or two specialists for a few hours a week), and their depth of SAP Business One knowledge (particularly around any add-ons you may use).
Perhaps more importantly, though, we recommend you work from day one with a partner that takes the time to get to know your business inside-out before the implementation process even begins. That way, it can deliver a solution that won’t cause a surfeit of problems in the first place, and that can easily be monitored and fine-tuned to stay up-to-date as your requirements change over time.