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As the cloud and outsourcing grow in popularity, many firms are presenting themselves as SAP managed service providers (MSPs). However, this is not a designation that all firms are equally entitled to claim. What does it take to be a great SAP managed service provider? In our experience, earning this title requires a combination of certification, proven experience and specific service offerings.
SAP Managed Service Providers: An Overview
An MSP is a company that provides IT services on an outsourced basis. This usually means delivering services at their location and within their data center, a co-location facility or in a private cloud they run on their premises. Some work in the public cloud. Others perform services at your location, a so-called “insourced” MSP. Wherever they are though, the essence of an MSP is that they take on tasks so that your people can focus on other things.
An SAP managed service provider specializes in supporting SAP landscapes on an outsourced basis. Given the depth of the SAP solution set, there are a wide variety of SAP MSP service offerings on the market. Some SAP MSPs focus on technical or functional work (and sometimes a combination of the two). Others work on applications like SAP HANA or support software development for SAP and so forth.
SAP Basis Managed Services
As its name implies, SAP Basis is the foundational level of SAP support that ensures SAP landscapes run as well as they possibly can. It’s a collection of tools and practices that enable your SAP landscape to function effectively as a whole. SAP Basis may not be the most glamorous, but it’s absolutely critical. When things aren’t going right in an SAP environment, it’s almost always a lack of proper SAP Basis support.
To be a technical SAP Managed Service Provider, a firm needs to offer SAP Basis as a managed service. An SAP Basis MSP, a role that Symmetry has delivered since 1996, takes care of things like tuning server compute resources, configuring hardware and software, implementing system upgrades, patches and so forth. A credible SAP Basis MSP provides experienced Basis administrators who can perform all necessary functions for a complete SAP Basis support team.
SAP Cloud Managed Services
Some SAP MSPs offer SAP solutions on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis, hosted in a cloud environment. We do this. In fact, we consider this kind of service offering fundamental to the SAP MSP business. Using the SaaS model is the essence of leveraging managed services to benefit your business. You do basically nothing, but still get to make use of a first-class SAP landscape.
With SaaS SAP cloud managed services, you don’t have to worry about keeping up with multiple commercial relationships for responsibilities like SAP licensing, maintenance, support and hosting. The MSP does all of that. At the same time, the MSP usually provides additional services. This can include security monitoring and more to further free your team from SAP responsibilities.
Public Cloud SAP Managed Services
The public cloud, meaning services like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, make SAP software available on their platforms. In theory, it’s easy to open an AWS account and spin up an instance of SAP ERP or SAP HANA. The low costs might be stunning to anyone familiar with the standard budgets for running an SAP instance on-premises. However, running SAP in the public cloud can be quite challenging. This is especially true if you need the performance, security and reliability most SAP customers are accustomed to. That’s where a public cloud SAP MSP demonstrates its value.
Not all SAP MSPs can competently handle the public cloud. One reason a service provider, or a highly experienced in-house staff member, is needed for the public cloud comes from the inevitable use of hybrid cloud architectures. Despite the wide acceptance of cloud architecture today, many customers are unable to move 100% of their SAP landscape to the cloud. At least not at the first go-round. Many organizations today continue to run some SAP assets on-premises or in private cloud environments. This may be due to in-house requirements, security concerns, or other factors.
An SAP managed service provider will help you oversee this generally complex architecture. In our experience working with SAP in the public cloud, a finely tuned SAP landscape needs harmonization between its infrastructure, operating system and application layers. As a public cloud SAP MSP, we blend automation, practical experience and technology together to deliver reliable operations and constant support. No matter where your landscape is hosted.
SAP HANA Managed Services
Managed services for SAP can be a good choice for companies that want to take advantage of the SAP HANA in-memory database. This is because SAP HANA can be challenging to implement and manage, and this is true of the S/4HANA suite as well. It takes experience and expertise to successfully implement and keep it running well. When you put SAP HANA in the cloud, the need for outside help increases.
SAP HANA and S/4HANA instances are now prevalent enough that any serious SAP MSP offers some level of SAP HANA managed services. In addition to being a certified SAP HANA Operations managed services provider, we built a next-generation cloud platform. This platform is optimized for SAP HANA workloads but can also be leveraged for basic SAP ERP workloads. The provides an easy path to upgrade when customers are ready to harness the right-sizing, performance and throughput needed for big data applications.
Working with the Right SAP MSP
The right SAP MSP for your business will be one who can meet your current and future needs. It will offer a combination of proven skills and specific services like private cloud hosting and SAP HANA managed services. A competent SAP MSP will be your long-term partner for your evolving SAP needs.
Symmetry has a strong track record as an SAP managed service provider. For over two decades, we have been deploying, tuning and managing complex SAP technical environments. Our cross-functional team of experts will support your SAP landscape across its complete lifecycle. With Symmetry, you get a range of managed service options. We can also create a custom managed service offering for your specific business requirements.
For the public cloud, we are certified as an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner with SAP Competency, and are a Microsoft partner. Conversely, our managed private cloud services let you to take advantage of our experience with multiple platforms. These include core business systems as well as integrated third-party applications. With our virtual private cloud, we do the work while you reap all the benefits. That service is delivered on dedicated Symmetry-owned equipment. Our data center solutions are built and supported by industry-leading teams of engineers with specializations in network, infrastructure, security and applications.
Now that you understand what it takes to be an SAP MSP, learn how Symmetry can play this role in your business. To learn how our SAP managed services can help your IT department become more productive, contact our team today.