September 28, 2021

Larry Goldman | Senior Director, Product Marketing 

Not a week passes without a prospective customer asking, “How big is the demand for third-party software support (TPSS)?”  

According to the 2021 Gartner “Market Guide for Independent Third-Party Support for IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP Software,” the authors state: “Gartner client inquiries related to software support for IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP increased more than 50% over the past 12 months, and the TPSS market growth continues with an average net new sales growth of 30% over the past five years.”(i) 

Another helpful means of assessing the market’s maturity is through annual research like Gartner “Hype Cycle for ERP, 2021.” We believe that this year’s Hype Cycle perfectly illuminates how and why enterprise resource planning (ERP) third-party support has moved from a little-known service to a widely accepted one. I’ll explain. 

The Gartner Hype Cycle  

The tech market evolves quickly, so it can be challenging to distinguish between products and services that drive the market and those that are merely hype. We consider that analyst clients, from firms like Gartner, which delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams, usually have a leg up because they have access to curated assessments from dedicated tech specialists. The analysts keep an eye on the market and an ear to the ground, intentionally pointing you away from risky bets and towards the best long-term investments for your business. 

If you’re a Gartner client, you have access to the annual Gartner Hype Cycles. According to Gartner, “Gartner Hype Cycles provide a graphic representation of the maturity and adoption of technologies and applications, and how they are potentially relevant to solving real business problems and exploiting new opportunities.”(iii) 

In our opinion, Hype Cycle reports are easy to skim, contain brief, informative reviews of developing products and services, and allow you to track the relative progress of those entries over multiple years. You can read about the five stages of the Hype Cycle and how they are used on the Gartner website. 

ERP Hype and Third-Party Support 

So how does this cycle connect to the viability of third-party support? In our opinion, it’s a testament to the staying power and rising popularity of the service.  

In 2016, “Third-Party Support for ERP” made its debut appearance in the Innovation Trigger stage of the Hype Cycle.(iii) It slowly moved up and over the Peak of Inflated Expectations, until sinking into the Trough of Disillusionment in 2020 Hype Cycle for ERP.(iv) The same 2020 report gave “Third-Party Support for ERP” a “high” benefit rating and estimated a market penetration of 5-20% of the target audience. 

In 2021 Hype Cycle for ERP, Third-Party Support for ERP has now moved from the Trough of Disillusionment and up onto the Slope of Enlightenment. We believe that the journey from Innovation to Enlightenment has run its course, and this as an undeniable show of confidence in the service. 

Why do we think so? 

  1. The analysts acknowledge strong market growth: “The independent ERP third-party support market is rapidly maturing. Many ERP application leaders are now more aware of the option to terminate software vendors’ maintenance agreements in favor of third-party support models.” (v) 
  2. According to the 2021 Priority Matrix for ERP report, ERP third party support will take two-five years to mainstream adoption. 

Still Think Independent Support Is Just Hype? 

Think again. While this particular Hype Cycle focuses only on ERP support, we believe third-party support can cover so much more, including databases, middleware, and operating systems. We can’t speak for the other providers in our market, but we feel our numbers prove the quality of service: 

  • 98.7% Satisfaction = 2020 Annual Customer Survey 
  • 86.3% Customers who view Spinnaker Support as Critical or Important to the work they do  = 2020 Annual Customer Survey 
  • 4.8/5.0 Stars Overall Gartner Peer Insights rating (vi) 
  • 90% customer retention (2020) 

Known for our flexible and consultative approach to business, we commit to delivering high-quality service every day. In fact, we are the only company that backs our Oracle and SAP support services with an Ultimate Support Guarantee 

If you’ve been inundated with hype and half-promises from other vendors, we recommend reaching out directly for a brief conversation and assessment. Our team can help you determine if our ERP third-party support is the right fit for your organization’s short- and long-term ERP and enterprise software needs.  


(i) Gartner, Inc., “Market Guide for Independent Third-Party Support for IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP Software,” Jo Ann Rosenberger, Michael Silver, Rob Wilkes, August 23, 2021 

(ii) Gartner, Inc., Understanding Hype Cycles, ( 

(iii) Gartner, Inc. “Hype Cycle for Postmodern ERP, 2016,” Denise Ganly, Nigel Montgomery, July 12, 2016. 

(iv) Gartner, Inc. “Hype Cycle for ERP, 2020,” Denis Torii, Duy Nguyen, November 19, 2020. 

(v) Gartner, Inc. “Hype Cycle for ERP, 2021,” Denis Torii, August 6, 2021. 

(vi) This is the overall rating based on 36 review as on date 22 September 2021. Gartner Peer Insights reviews constitute the subjective opinions of individual end users based on their own experiences and do not represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates. 

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.  

GARTNER and HYPE CYCLE are a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and are used herein with permission