HP targets SAP users with software services

HP services are timed to help customers upgrade from SAP R/3 to SAP ERP 6.0

HP rolled out a set of services this week to help SAP users modernize and manage ERP systems.

The services are timed to help customers upgrade from SAP R/3 to SAP ERP 6.0. SAP is encouraging these upgrades by changing support policies for old releases, but many companies find the upgrades challenging because they have a shortage of skills for managing SAP applications, HP officials say.

"SAP environments tend to be very mission critical," says Pat Adamiak, vice president, of portfolio marketing and alliances for HP's outsourcing services. "You've got very high-level expectations of availability, and very complex infrastructure underneath it. At the same time, many of these applications have been heavily modified over the years so they're very complex environments."

HP, which has partnered with SAP for more than two decades, is tackling this problem with a mix of on-site and remote services. Two of the new services specifically target upgrades to ERP 6.0, with a focus on accelerating the transition while improving flexibility and features.

In another service, HP Application Outsourcing for SAP, HP actually takes over the customer's application maintenance and support tasks.

"For customers who want to offload the ongoing complexity and reduce the costs of SAP maintenance, HP Application Outsourcing for SAP has achieved new levels of automation and optimization," HP states in a press release. The service provides a predictable funding model for an SAP upgrade while meeting needs for availability, stability and functionality, according to HP.

"Equally important, it eliminates the need to re-skill the team with each subsequent SAP upgrade," HP states.

One of the services is initially available only in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. That's the HP ERP Outsourcing Factory for SAP, which targets customers doing a new SAP installation and runs the program for them, almost like software-as-a-service, Adamiak says. The capabilities will be extended to the United States at some point as well.

Pricing varies widely. A Fortune 100 company with multiple instances of SAP installed might pay HP US$10 million a year for these outsourcing services, while a smaller client may pay US$100,000, according to HP officials.

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