How to Choose Between SAP Enterprise Support, Standard Support, and Application Management Service

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Understanding the differences between SAP Enterprise Support (ES), Standard Support (StS), and Application Management Service (AMS) lies in grasping the scope of each of these offerings. In this article, we'll cover these differences.

Enterprise Support is a service directly from SAP that allows for continuous improvement and innovation (support for new software releases, support packages, access to source code, up to 5 days of remote support per calendar year from architects, and access to the Solution Manager). Additionally, it includes a global support backbone comprising a knowledgebase and SAP Notes, as well as mission-critical support, which involves incident handling, continuous quality checks, root cause analysis for custom code, and more.

Similar to Enterprise Support, Standard Support is provided by SAP, offering continuous improvement and innovation (new software releases, support packages, available source code), incident handling (including incidents with Sap notes), remote services like GoingLive Check, Upgrade Check, and OS/DB Migration Check, and access to the Solution Manager, albeit with some limitations compared to Enterprise Support.

Application Management is a service that allows you to delegate the management of your SAP system to a third-party provider. You can outsource specific functions or fully delegate the management of the software infrastructure. This blog post primarily discusses AMS in the context of on-premise or hybrid solutions (cloud + on-prem). But this service can also extend to cloud systems, with additional services for managing such systems.

Key Differentiators

  • Purpose

    Enterprise or Standard Support is a fundamental service for any SAP system user. These services include system updates (technical and administrative updates – like adaptation to changes in legislation) and SAP Notes that contain corrections or descriptions of system deficiencies and are essential for system maintenance. It also allows for incident reporting directly to SAP, crucial for identifying and resolving functional defects.

    Application Management Service provides a cost-effective solution for managing SAP systems. It allows clients to partially or fully outsource their software management tasks and gain the contractor's expertise to supplement or replace their internal team. An AMS provider monitors and manages applications, covers support service requests, and handles incidents, can help a company deploy new servers, plan a move, and more.

  • Delivery

    The fundamental difference between SAP Enterprise/Standard Support and Application Management Service is whether the vendor itself is involved in the service delivery.

    The SAP Enterprise/Standard Support service is delivered directly by SAP or through a VAR partner (including United VARs). In the latter case, the partner is responsible for providing the full range of services under the contract.

    Application Management Service, on the other hand, is provided by a third-party company. That service provider doesn't need to be a certified SAP partner but to ensure a higher level of services, it's better to choose an SAP-authorised company as a Partner Center of Expertise (PCoE).

  • Service Level Agreement

    Traditionally, the Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the client and the service provider is based on two parameters: Initial Response Time (IRT) и Maximum Processing Time (MPT).

    While Enterprise/Standard SAP support ensures the processing of all incidents, the SLA agreement covers only incidents that significantly impact business processes. That means that only for those incidents you have estimates regarding response and processing time.

    On the other hand, Application Management Service allows for tailored SLAs based on client needs, with guaranteed Initial Response Time (IRT) and Maximum Processing Time (MPT) for incidents of all priorities.

  • Working Hours

    With SAP Enterprise/Standard Support, incidents are processed 24/7. If the service is delivered through an SAP partner, incidents are handled by that partner's staff during their working hours. Outside of these hours, very high-priority incidents are automatically routed to SAP and handled by SAP employees, while incidents with lower priority are postponed till the next working day of the SAP partner providing support services.

    In the case of Application Management Support, clients can choose their preferred service schedule. Options include the service provider's working hours, the client's working hours, extended hours (e.g., 12-hour coverage instead of the usual 8), extended or shifted coverage within the working week (including weekends and holidays or adjusting weekends), or full-service coverage 24/7.

  • Issue Escalation

    If you have Enterprise/Standard SAP support, you can only escalate incidents that have an increased impact on business processes or when you need to accelerate issue processing. To do so, you must request priority escalation through the Customer Interaction Center (CIC). Likewise, you can request escalation from an SAP partner through their customer support service.

    With Application Management Support, clients can opt for a coordinator or a personal account manager. The coordinator usually handles a few projects at a time and focuses on SLA compliance and proper issue resolution (including issue escalation). On the other hand, the personal manager deals exclusively with one client, ensuring regular feedback and maximum client satisfaction with the level of service.

  • Service Provider's Integration into the Existing Support Infrastructure

    With Enterprise/Standard SAP support, it's the client's choice and responsibility to integrate the service provider into the existing IT infrastructure. The client company gets the rights to use the SAP Solution Manager and can either deploy it independently or utilize the partner's SolMan. All incidents are routed through the Solution Manager. The client company can also create a so-called Customer Center of Expertise – a group of employees competent in the company's IT landscape and business processes and can communicate directly with SAP or the SAP-certified partner.

    With Application Management Support, the contractor can either handle all SAP support tasks independently (including providing their Service Desk to the client) or integrate into the client's IT department. The contractor also manages the integration of their and the client's systems and apps, interacts with the client's IT team, handles IT support tasks (partially or fully), and establishes efficient workflows with the client's business users, IT department and SAP.

  • Scope

    Enterprise/Standard SAP Support contains services essential for stable and efficient system operation. It includes custom code development and preparation of standardized code documentation, as well as root cause analysis for custom code.

    The Application Management Support scope encompasses analysis and resolution of issues across all code in the system, including updates and fixes from the vendor. The service provider also studies and modifies z-code for optimization and error resolution. AMS often includes time slots for minor change requests that don't require separate projects.

    Apart from all that, AMS may also include:

    • Consulting services;
    • Deployment and configuration services for SAP systems, system updates, and infrastructure configuration (virtual machines, databases, operating systems);
    • Training and system guidance for the client's teams;
    • Development of how-to guides tailored to the client's needs;
    • Security management, elaboration of role and authorization concept.

    And remember that both ES/StS and AMS include services that facilitate future development and usage of new versions of already implemented products, along with the development of the IT landscape for the usage of new products.

  • Support Infrastructure

    With Enterprise/Standard SAP Support, client companies get the rights to use the SAP Solution Manager. And even more, they have to use it to interact with SAP.

    Support infrastructure is usually created following the ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library) methodology and includes the following components:

    • ITSM (service desk),
    • project management,
    • solution documentation,
    • test management,
    • change request management, and more.

    It also includes technical monitoring tools for proactive issue identification by Basis specialists (Early Watch Alerts).

    The system can be deployed on the client's or partner's servers.

    With Application Management Support, the service desk can be provided either by the client or the service provider. Proactive monitoring tools are selected upon the partner's and client’s choice. Early warning reports can be provided to client employees.

    While Enterprise/Standard Support Solution Manager is an ultimate choice, with Application Management Support, parties can use any incident registration method (hotline, emergency line, or service desk). Technical issues are preferred to be submitted in writing, but voice communication is also allowed in emergencies as it significantly speeds up the process.

    As for reporting options, they are not particularly important to the clients using Enterprise/Standard Support since the service costs are always fixed. For AMS, on the other hand, it's essential to understand the scope of performed SAP services. Therefore, partners provide their standard reports or customize them for the client.

  • Cost

    For Enterprise/Standard Support, the cost model is based on a percentage of the license cost (the percentage varies based on the type of support).

    For Application Management Support, pricing options and terms can differ (service subscription, Time and Material (T&M), subscription with T&M extension options, and combined models tailored to specific client needs).


Vendor support (Enterprise/Standard) provides a fundamental framework for maintaining system updates and addressing bugs in the source code. Application Management Support significantly expands the range of ES/StS services, allowing for the outsourcing of software system maintenance, customization of system operations, ensuring stable and efficient system operation, staying up-to-date, and benefiting from numerous additional services. In this scenario, the client's IT department shifts its focus from operational tasks to strategic planning.

As a Platinum SAP Partner and a certified Partner Center of Expertise, ACBaltica can provide Enterprise/Standard support of SAP solution and Application Management Services.

Vadim Chugunov, Chief AMS/EWM Support Manager

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