When Vendor Research Collides: Whom to Believe?

SAP's Solution Manager product is either an overly complex beast or an IT staffing savior with amazing ROI. The answer depends on whose research you trust.

By Thomas Wailgum
Thu, June 03, 2010
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Not wanting to bury the lead, here's the first sentence of the press release: "The complexity of SAP Solution Manager is its biggest challenge."

The results that follow (taken directly from the Panaya report) were not as glowing, when compared to the IDC report:

  • The top benefit of using SAP Solution Manger is Control (42%). A substantial 20% of the respondents are unsure of what benefit they receive from SAP Solution Manager.
  • The Complexity of SAP Solution Manager is the biggest challenge in using the system (32%). One quarter of the respondents do not understand the value of SAP Solution Manager and find that to be a challenge.
  • Documenting business process in SAP Solution Manager is key for using some of its advanced functionality. But 42% of the respondents have not documented any of their business processes in SAP Solution Manager and only 3% have fully documented their business processes.
  • System Monitoring is the most used feature of SAP Solution Manager. Service Desk, Job Scheduling, and Incident Management are the least used features.
  • On average, SAP Solution Manager features go unused by 51% of the respondents, 10% use them rarely, 16% use them partially, 12% use them quite a bit, and only 8% use them fully.

So what does Panaya do? It "provides software tools that save SAP customers up to 50% of their software upgrade and maintenance costs, while minimizing risks and proving clear ROI," according to the company. Again, the survey was done by Panaya, and not a third-party research firm.

In sum: SAP sponsors research by IDC that provides positive reviews and eye-popping ROI regarding its Solution Manager product. And research done by Panaya, a company that aims to undercut and displace SAP's software support and upgrade costs, discovers too much complexity, unrealized benefits and use-case challenges with Solution Manager.

What the Vendors Have to Say

In response to the Panaya research, SAP's Jim Dever, head of the Americas media relations, writes in an e-mail: "Our own recent research demonstrates the significant returns on investment that can be achieved, and we are committed to providing tools and educational resources that help our customers better understand the benefits of Solution Manager and how to put it to best use within their IT landscapes."

As to veracity of Panaya's SolMan research, Dever points to the fact that Panaya did "not bother to engage with a reputable third party."

Panaya CMO Amit Bendov counters in an e-mail that "we do not have any motive to bash Solution Manager—it is not a competitor. While we are certainly in the application management business and are reducing SAP support costs, the functional overlap with SolMan is marginal at best. In fact, most (and possibly all) of our customers have solution manager installed."

Bendov insists that Panaya wanted market research on SolMan "for our own needs and could not find anything from SAP or others."

So, whom do you believe? SAP? Panaya? Both? Neither?

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