Malaysian automobile manufacturer Proton has switched to Rimini Street for SAP applications support, deferring an “unnecessary upgrade” to S/4HANA in the process.
The Selangor-based business - first launched locally in 1983 - selected the third-party support provider to oversee SAP ECC 6.0 applications in a move claimed to have “immediately reduced” annual support costs by 50 per cent.
In addition, the automaker cited retaining the flexibility to upgrade to S/4HANA as key in the decision-making process, insisting migration plans will take plan when it makes sense for "their business", rather than being driven by SAP's timeline.
“One of the reasons we went with Rimini Street was to avoid the pressure to upgrade to SAP S/4HANA in 2027 if the organisation is not ready, and still have the necessary support required," said Marhalisa Matari, senior manager of IT Application Management at Proton.
Once Proton made the switch to Rimini Street, Matari said the company was able to shift resources and support savings into more strategic areas of the business, including the expansion of a manufacturing plant in Perak to enable increased production volumes.
“Initially we were looking at savings in professional fees by keeping projects internal,” Matari added. “However, resources were tight with multiple projects happening at the same time, so we made the decision to switch to Rimini Street with input from the IT team, management and the ERP system's users.”
Established as Malaysia’s first national car company more than 35 years ago, Proton reduced operating expenses by 30 per cent in response to a management mandate. As part of the IT department's cost-cutting exercise, Matari said annual fees from technology providers came under scrutiny, prompting the decision to switch from SAP to Rimini Street for enterprise software support.
The business currently uses its “mission-critical” SAP ECC 6.0 application for sales, distribution and material management processes, in addition to financial accounting and controlling, plant maintenance, production planning and HR and payroll solutions.
According to Matari, Proton now benefits from Rimini Street’s premium-level enterprise software support model, including a service level agreement (SLA) housing 15-minute response times for all critical priority one cases.
Customers are also assigned a Primary Support Engineer (PSE) who has an average of 15 years' software experience and is backed by a team of functional and technical experts, available around-the-clock.
"The support team on-boarded quickly, picking up Proton's business practices during the knowledge transfer process,” Matari added. “I was also impressed by the team's proactive attitude about familiarising themselves with Proton's systems and environment, and we especially appreciate having a dedicated PSE who knows our support history and background.”
With more than 2,100 global customers, Rimini Street operates as a specialist third-party support provider for Oracle and SAP software products, in addition to holding Salesforce partner status.
"During times of economic uncertainty, companies must act quickly to focus on reducing risk, optimising budgets and improving efficiency, and one way to accomplish this is by right-sizing their costly, low value annual enterprise software support costs," said Andrew Seow, regional general manager of Southeast Asia and Greater China at Rimini Street.
“More companies like Proton are leveraging Rimini Street to reduce costs and refocus their IT resources on improving competitive advantage and supporting the growth of the business."