JÃ¼rgen FÃ¤lchle - stock.adobe.c
When Rimini Street set foot in Southeast Asia in 2019, the market was rife with organisations that were mulling over software maintenance options for their SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.
At the time, SAP had not announced it would extend support for its previous-generation Enterprise Core Components (ECC) 6 ERP software until the end of 2027, followed by optional extended maintenance until the end of 2030.
Companies that were on SAP ECC 6 were deciding if they wanted to continue using their systems, or migrate to the newer S/4 Hana. For many, the decision was not easy as either option came with pros and cons.
Today, even with extended maintenance from SAP for ECC 6, there are still some who view ERP as backend systems that keep the business humming and see no reason to upgrade.
“These systems don’t touch the customer and they sit at the backend to keep the lights on,” said Andrew Seow, regional general manager for ASEAN and Greater China at Rimini Street, a third-party software maintenance provider. “Do they want to spend 90% of their costs to keep the lights on, or try to reduce it to 50% and use the savings for innovation?”
Even for those planning to upgrade their ERP systems, Seow said they may still want to get out of their maintenance contracts and call for new proposals to get better pricing.
In Southeast Asia, there are enough of such companies, including Malaysian carmaker Proton and Filipino port operator ICTSI, to fuel Rimini Street’s growth in the region.
The company does not break down its earnings by geography, but its global revenues in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2022 reached $97.9m, an increase of 11.4%, compared with $87.9m for the same period last year.
“I was employee number one in the region three years ago, and we’ve grown to such a big team that we now have people in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Taiwan, and we are continuing to hire people,” said Seow.
Besides the SAP user base, Rimini Street is courting Oracle customers, too. He said the company’s Oracle business is growing rapidly, particularly from companies that are moving out of Oracle’s business applications, middleware and databases.
“They’ve decided to make the change to SaaS [software-as-a-service] or best-of-breed software, and have a transition time of two to three years, and so they are looking for ways to support their Oracle systems at half the cost,” said Seow. “Those were the opportunities we’ve seen over the past two years.”
But it isn’t just cost savings driving organisations to Rimini Street. The company also assigns a technical account manager who is familiar with a customer’s environment, including software customisations, so that problems can be addressed quickly.
In addition, Seow said the company provides consulting and application management services that are traditionally offered by the likes of Accenture, singling out customers such as the International Air Transport Association, which hired Rimini Street to manage its SAP applications in June 2021.
Read more about business applications in ASEAN
- A new lab will double SAP’s engineering workforce in Singapore by 2025 and help to shape the company’s product development roadmap.
- Oracle has launched a new cloud region in Singapore to tap the growing demand for public cloud services in the city-state and the ASEAN region.
- Tableau and Salesforce are looking to deliver more ‘pre-integrated’ offerings that embed analytics capabilities into the latter’s portfolio of software-as-a-service applications.
- Unit4 is investing in a research and development centre in Jakarta as part of efforts to win market share from established players.
Asked about the impact of greater adoption of SaaS applications – where maintenance and support are covered under a customer’s software subscription – on Rimini Street’s business, Seow said the company offers overlay support services for customers that feel they have not been getting good service levels from their SaaS providers.
Moreover, he noted that most companies in the region are still running on-premise applications, and for those that are lifting-and-shifting applications to public cloud, Rimini Street can still continue to maintain those applications. “But if they convert it into SaaS, then it’s something we’re not able to address,” said Seow.
Meanwhile, SAP has claimed it has been winning back customers from third-party maintenance providers.
“We’re winning back customers that stayed on the SAP platform but took their maintenance to third parties,” Paul Marriott, SAP’s president for Asia-Pacific and Japan, told Computer Weekly last year. “The reason they came back is because if you don’t have a direct relationship with SAP, you can’t drive innovation.
“Where customers have made a tactical decision to move to third parties for whatever financial reason, we’re seeing them come back because they realise that to get that transformation opportunity, particularly with S/4 Hana, they need to be strategically engaged with SAP to drive innovation.”