Skip to content
How to make a business case for SAP maintenance
Stuart Browne12-Oct-2022 16:05:444 min read

The tiger who lives in the shed - A business case for SAP maintenance

Weirdly, I'm working from home this morning.

First time in quite a while.

I got bored looking at the same 4 walls and sick of the dog joining Zoom calls uninvited months ago - so started working from the office.

I'm home this morning because I have a pain in my neck.

Actual, not metaphorical for once.

So I'm seeing Adrian, my go-to-physio cum stand-up comedian at 9 AM. Hopefully he can prevent my neck and shoulder getting any worse. And if he doesn't, at least he'll make me laugh.

Great business model.

As I kill a few hours until my appointment, I'm sat staring at the roof of our out-house.

I say out-house - which sounds grand - when I could arguably say brick-shed or former outdoor toilet and wash-house. The marketeer in me finds out-house cleaner messaging.

A little story about a tiger before I crack on...

See the small black door half way down? That's the former coal hole - where coal would have been kept for the fire and only heating in the early 1900s.

Today, it is full of bits of wood and massive spiders. Seriously, they're like hands.

When my young nephew once mis-behaved on a visit, we told him that a tiger lives behind the black door. His eyes instantly widened and he shuffled his feet nervously.

"Will it come out...?"

Although quite mean, the imaginary tiger served it's purpose. He behaved on that visit and now looks sheepishly at the 'tiger house' as he behaves himself on visits to us.

To be honest, I'm more scared as the spiders in there than he is of the tiger.

Anyway, the out-house needs a new roof.

Actually, the whole house needs a new roof, including the out-house.

Which is such a shit thing to spend money on - for the price of a small car, we'll get a new roof that we won't notice when we're indoors, and which serves no benefit other than replacing the one that was there before that we also don't notice today when we're indoors.

But at least the house roof keeps us warm, dry and insulated. Plus, we're going to get solar panels done at the same time.

But a new out-house roof.

Man, what a waste of money.

Like the niggle in my neck though, getting something done about it is preventive maintenance. Notice the signs and invest proactively before things get worse.

On Saturday I take. my daughter back to Uni in Edinburgh. I can't fit her paraphernalia in my car so we'll take our VW camper instead.

Freshly serviced, I was hoping it'd be good for the trip.

But as my helpful local garage guy handed me my service invoice last week, he said....

"I can't see any history of the cam belt having been changed - it's 130,000 miles or every 4 years."

It's not done anywhere near 130,000 miles so I instantly mentally kicked the cam-belt 50 metres down-field. Maybe March or something...

"If it goes, it'll be a new engine."

So on Friday, it goes in for a cam-belt, tensioners and a water pump - which we apparently may as well do at the time - because replacing it in the future means taking the cam belt off.

Modern vehicles have all sorts of warning lights and sensors.

They tend to tell you when they need stuff doing to them. But in this case, I have to have something done, not because there are signs of wear, but because there's no evidence that something has been done before, and the risk of not doing it is high.

Preventive maintenance again.

Or is it?

The shed and the shoulder have warning signs. I'm doing something proactive on the basis of a leading indicator which has led to a concern that things might get worse.


  • Unable to sleep & pain when I turn my head = physio needed
  • Leaks in the roof and slates that are missing, slipping, sagging = new roof


The camper cam belt has no warning signs. I'm doing something because an expert is telling me, based on his experience that because I can't be sure something has been done before, allied to the potential impact of failure, that I should be proactive.

No warning signs or leading indicators, just a hunch. An informed expert hunch from somebody who stands to make money from my situation. But I stand to lose much more than I spend if I don't take his advice. Meaning that there's a clear business case.

2 types of preventive action - with signals, without signals.

What signals are you missing?


Stuart Browne

Stuart has held leadership roles in the SAP ecosystem over an 25 year period, spanning consultancy, delivery management, practice development, sales, marketing and analyst relations. He writes regularly on Linkedin and for ERP Today magazine. With an eclectic mix of skills and one of the largest SAP networks in the UK, Stuart has established a formidable reputation that has enabled Resulting to guide SAP customers through complex challenges.