In the world of SAP consulting and on-staff SAP Basis support, what does top-shelf look like?
If you are falling short when it comes to your SAP Basis support, you’re not alone. Even though we all know what “perfection” looks like when it comes to SAP – few unplanned outages, fewer surprises, and lots of mission-critical, big-data projects delivered on time to customers – too often, you’ll fall short. With costly escalations and overworked IT teams that can’t possibly keep up, your operations support and improvement potential is permanently stalled. What should solid SAP support deliver? The SAP landscape depends on solid SAP Basis administration. What would that look like for you?
The Average SAP Basis Administrator Isn’t
The ERP landscape must be mastered, or you’ll fall short with your boss who will probably get heat from unhappy customers when SAP is managed poorly. Yet the title, “SAP Basis Administrator” can be deceiving. In some companies, it’s a new college grad who works closely under your SAP experts and is an investment for the future; in others, an SAP Basis Administrator is a storehouse of institutional knowledge with 20 years or more of past SAP experience, and, sadly, right on the verge of retiring.
At Symmetry, our SAP Basis consultants who fulfill the SAP Basis Administrator duties not only run all installation, upgrade and support stacks of SAP software, but they also have thousands of hours of experience in doing so. They’ve “seen it all” or can easily pick up the phone and reach a Symmetry colleague who has experienced both the perfection and the (not-so-narrowly averted) destruction of SAP Basis Administrator tasks at some of the most well-respected IT outfits in the world. Whether or not you decide to go with us, or hire an in-house person, keep in mind these top skills:
- Make it Right. Can they troubleshoot? What if an SAP-related bolt-on or add on module goes south? Before they escalate to their chain of command, can they work on the problem or will everything become a “code red”? What if an advanced correction application is needed? Interview for real-world experience in these areas, and you’ll be happy you did.
- End-User Focused. End-user experts wanted: SAP Basis is the nerve center for the SAP system and the SAP landscape’s analytics are what make your business users smile. They should be able to interface with business process owners to facilitate process improvement and apply SAP supplied corrections, and, better yet, become a trusted advisor about SAP potential. Ask your mid-level candidate about his or her experience in dealing with unhappy end users, too. Ask twice.
- Upgrade- or Install-Ready. One of the well-worn adages in SAP administration and technical managed services remains: There WILL be an upgrade. SAP is always releasing new modules and your end-users’ expectations about what big data can do for them is growing, as well. SAP Basis Administrators should be able to either lead or at minimum, make a solid contribution to these upgrades. Your candidate should be able to help with changes during normal performance and tuning activities. Better yet, they should have enough experience to know when the proper time for these has come (not that your compliance staff won’t be on this, but some background on service and tuning cadence is still extremely helpful).
- An Array of Skills. Possessing a consultant with SAP Basis Administrator certification, solid documentation and compliance experience will help you protect your systems and control your costs. In addition, experience with SAP NetWeaver, JAVA system administration, SAP Solution Manager 7.2 or higher and ABAP programming skills will all go a long way to ensure you have a well-rounded individual on staff to become the lynchpin of a baseline “perfect” SAP landscape. This person will also become the foundation for all that your SAP landscape can accomplish, so choose wisely.
Not a One Size Fits All
As you know, not every SAP Basis solution works within every organization. Yet, we all know that what does hold true in every organization is that SAP downtime costs are astronomical. Knowing when to escalate and when to try to troubleshoot can save your company hundreds of thousands.
Routine knowledge might even be more valuable in the long run. As we have all heard, “Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know.” Your SAP Basis Administrator needs to jump in and master exactly how your particular SAP landscape runs and exactly how to maintain it; remediate when required, as well as try to keep all your stakeholders content.
Before you get anyone on board, line up their training schedule. Expect they’ll be away from the stacks several weeks a year learning new skill sets from their SAP Basis Administrator training and hope you don’t go down during their trip. You can skip this danger altogether by hiring the Symmetry team to be your SAP Basis Administrator. You’ll always have backup and your administrator will always have a completely up-to-date skill set for SAP Basis support. Other service benefits include:
Unparalleled support: Your business never stops, so your SAP Basis support shouldn’t either. Symmetry provides 24/7/365 monitoring, alerting and support of your production environment.
Direct access to your dedicated Basis team: We don’t believe in helplines and escalation-based service. As our partner, you’ll have a direct line to your own client manager and Basis admins. If you need to contact them, day or night, all you need to do is call.
Scalable service with clear pricing: We offer extremely flexible SAP Basis support, from temporary support to augment your staff, to complete management of your entire SAP environment. All our services come at fixed, competitive prices, eliminating the risk of uncertain budgeting and cost overruns. In fact, our services provide clients substantial savings. Take it from Kubota Engine: “[Symmetry’s] Basis Complete service saves us at least 25 percent on salaries and benefits compared to maintaining a new full- time Basis employee.”
Unrivaled monitoring, management and maintenance: SAP Basis support isn’t about heroics — it’s about planning, so you don’t need the heroics. Our sophisticated monitoring and alerting provides both real-time visibility and deep insights into ongoing system performance and usage trends. Instead of putting out fires as they happen, we can plan, ensuring your system stays healthy over the next month, quarter and year.
The power of a full-service SAP technical partner: Need to upgrade to HANA? Looking for a partner to help you take an ambitious new SAP project to production? We’ll take you there. With a successful track record of hundreds of SAP upgrades and implementations, we have the experience to take your landscape to the next level. SAP is a very complex enterprise application. Your SAP Basis Administrator must have complete command of SAP technologies or, at the very least, have a supervisor or team that does. If you’re feeling a little nervous about that statement, then perhaps it’s time to find out how effective and cost-efficient a partnership with Symmetry can be.
Whoever you ultimately get on board, the SAP Basis Administrator is key to optimally supporting your mission critical environment. Don’t just “keep the lights on” with your ERP system, ensure you embark on a journey to a true partnership and avoid a catastrophe at the same time. Sounds just about perfect, right?