Users of SAP's Business Suite and BusinessObjects are complaining that the enterprise software giant is struggling to integrate support for the two products, according to the latest survey from the UK & Ireland SAP User Group.
The research found that there has been an increase in companies using BusinessObjects as their main analytics platform, with 30 percent of respondents indicating this to be true in 2013, compared to 21 percent in 2012 and only seven percent in 2011.
In addition, some 75 percent of respondents now said they could see the combined value of using BusinessObjects for analytics with their core Business Suite software implementation.
However, more than half (53 percent) of those using both Business Suite and BusinessObjects did not think that support across the two product areas was well integrated.
"With more and more organisations putting a greater focus on analytics, it is perhaps not surprising that more users are seeing the combined value of using core SAP software and SAP BusinessObjects," said Philip Adams, chairman of the UK & Ireland SAP User Group.
"Over the last two years we have seen a significant increase in SAP users adopting SAP BusinessObjects as their main business analytics platform. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in helping many users understand their options, such as the migration path from the SAP BW to SAP BusinessObjects solutions.”
He added: “Furthermore, it is evident that support for SAP BusinessObjects needs to be more joined up with the rest of SAP's other product offerings. Therefore we will be looking to work with SAP to help address this matter."
SAP needs to improve overall support
When looking at the value of overall support, one in five SAP users thought that the company's technical support wasn't as easy to use compared to other vendors. Also, 30 percent stated that they had difficulties using the SAP Service Marketplace extranet support portal.
Some 25 percent also stated that they weren't satisfied with the amount of time taken to resolve problems, while 25 percent said it was difficult for them to search and find relevant information.
Craig Dale, chief executive at the User Group, told Computerworld UK that he is working with SAP to find ways that it can improve its support for users.
“There is rafts and rafts of information in SAP Service Marketplace and there is a struggle for companies to find the right information. Don't get me wrong, we have worked with SAP over the years and it has improved dramatically. However, there is a need to keep going down that route,” he said.
“Some of it is about educating the customers too. We have built workshops into our conference this year about how to get the best out of SAP's Service Marketplace. We are also looking to organise a roundtable with some of the SAP global support team so that customers can have their say on specific issues that they want addressed.”
Dale added: “SAP takes on this feedback and hopefully 12 months down the line these numbers will have improved greatly.”
HANA gaining traction
The survey also found that SAP needs to improve the communication of its strategy to its customers after having made a number of acquisitions, such as Ariba and SuccessFactors. Some 46 percent of respondents indicated that they would like the User Group to assist them in understanding how these acquisitions could benefit their organisation.
Also, nearly half of respondents (49 percent) saw education on HANA, SAP's in-memory platform which will underpin all of its future product releases, as being the greatest value provided by the User Group over the next 12 months.
“I've seen quite a shift over the past six to 12 months. At our last conference I'd say that 95 percent of SAP's communication around HANA was marketing, but now what we are seeing is a lot more customer traction,” said Dale.
“Let's be honest, it's inevitable that SAP customers are going to be on HANA at some stage in the future. It's not a case of 'if', it's a case of 'when'. Getting customers into that mindset and thinking about how they can best leverage the technology, is key to our strategy.”
SAP has reviewed the research and plans to implement a number of changes as a result.
"SAP takes feedback from our customers very seriously," said Pam Ireland, vice president, Analytics Customer Success, SAP.
"As a direct result we have made numerous improvements for our customers and plan to deliver additional enhancements on an on-going basis. These planned enhancements include remote supportability tools for SAP BusinessObjects solutions, which help make it easier and quicker for SAP to respond to customers' requests and provide proactive support services such as continuous quality checks, SAP EarlyWatch Alert, and online training from the SAP Enterprise Support Academy program specifically for SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions customers.
“We also plan to announce a range of enhancements to our support portal, SAP Service Marketplace, later this year.”