At just 465 miles square, Multnomah County in Oregon is home to 800,000 residents. With the county seat in Portland, the organization employs 8,000 people and has an annual operating budget of $2 billion USD, funded by taxpayers. Multnomah County is responsible for its operating units and for securely maintaining its systems to fulfill certain requirements, such as records retention. The organization believes in getting the most from its IT spend. The county’s next-generation IT strategy included this must-have: responsive service with support and maintenance at an optimized cost.
For its enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, Multnomah County runs a highly customized version of SAP ECC 6.0 with Oracle databases. After reviewing vendor support costs, CIO Bob Leek concluded that SAP support wasn’t delivering on its promise and was not in alignment with his IT roadmap. He and his team found SAP’s support both inefficient and expensive.
For one thing, IT was frustrated by the lack of continuity and felt that the burden of elevating support cases fell on its shoulders rather than on SAP’s. Typically, when the Multnomah County team initiated a case, it would communicate with a technician at SAP who would request data or logs. After Leek’s team sent the information, SAP would assign a new person for follow-up. Repeating the details of the case to a new support technician every time became tedious and extremely time-consuming – and it resulted in less than timely issue resolution.
Additionally, Leek says, as with many ECC 6.0 customers, Multnomah was continually being pressured to upgrade to SAP’s next-generation S/4HANA ERP platform, even though the product hadn’t fully matured. All of this just led to what he considered a not-so-great support experience. When some of SAP’s larger customers pushed back and refused to go along with the program, Multnomah County followed suit.
It was time to seek an alternative. In his role, Leek is accountable for the IT spend, so he was determined to make sure that any technology decisions he made would provide value. His aim? “To get better service than we were getting from SAP and reduce costs at the same time,” he explains.
Leek was looking for a vendor that would help him achieve this goal while meeting the county’s essential requirements:
- Seamless support for all the components of its complex and highly customized software solution, which included existing versions of both SAP ECC 6.0 and underlying Oracle databases
- Tax, legal and regulatory updates to help the county meet Affordable Care Act reporting compliance provisions
After evaluating several vendors, Leek determined that Rimini Street was the only one that could support all of Multnomah County’s needs. Rimini Street even met requirements for a sole-source exemption, which shaved six to nine months off the procurement process. Leek describes the transition to Rimini Street as “tremendous,” with no complex or burdensome onboarding.
For Leek, one of the biggest benefits derived from its engagement with Rimini Street is the single-point-of-contact, personalized support model. Multnomah County’s Primary Support Engineer (PSE) has a deep familiarity with the organization’s business systems. The IT team no longer has to rehash every support case, which saves time and significantly improves the support experience. As Leek points out, “Our SAP implementation has over 1,000 points of customization. Having a dedicated Primary Support Engineer at Rimini Street has been a real time saver for us – our PSE knows us personally and understands the complete context of our technology landscape and case history.”
The other big benefit for the value-minded government entity is the 50 percent cost savings. Plus, now that the county has more efficient, effective and proactive support, the IT team can focus its attention on strategic, value-add projects.
Leek believes that Rimini Street was instrumental in helping him meet his goals, which include looking out for the best interests of the taxpayer, his organization and his IT team. “We seriously evaluate every taxpayer dollar we spend; optimizing costs is of paramount importance. When I learned about Rimini Street, I was intrigued by the opportunity to get better support than we had with SAP and also streamline our costs. Looking back, I’d make the switch sooner if I could,” he explains.
Learn more about Multnomah County’s journey.