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What is SAP Basis?

SAP® Basis is the glue that holds together the SAP landscape. Different divisions of a business use SAP to perform different jobs, such as shipping product, controlling manufacturing and tracking sales leads, but everything relies on the same core system.

SAP Basis administrators not only make sure all SAP components & applications can communicate with each other, but do so with no end user or backend processing performance degradation. Issues continuously crop up in any technical layer of a SAP landscape and it’s up to SAP Basis support to keep the enterprise cloud, database and application healthy. Basis administrators install updates, monitor the system for errors and tweak SAP to be faster and more reliable.

As the name suggests, SAP Basis is used for the basic maintenance tasks that underpin the SAP ecosystem. In addition to database administration and maintenance, it’s utilized for base application tasks such as user & print administration, issue troubleshooting and change management.

However, Basis is more complicated than just systems administration. An enterprise can have servers spread across the world; each running different SAP systems, versions and modules. Without a Basis administrator (or sometimes, several) to make adjustments when problems crop up, the entire SAP ecosystem can fail, literally bringing business to a standstill.

Learn how to manage SAP like a boss with this free SAP Basis survival guide
What follows is a comprehensive guide to Symmetry’s top SAP Basis insights that IT leaders need to know. These links allow you to jump to specific sections:

What is an SAP Basis Administrator?

SAP Basis support administrators are responsible for keeping all your SAP environments stable, secure, and meeting the needs of users. An SAP Basis administrator needs to check system logs daily, and differentiate between minor glitches and serious problems.

For example, SAP uses locks to temporarily restrict access to business objects while they’re being changed. When a lock fails to release, the SAP Basis admin can just manually release it. However, if this keeps happening, it can indicate a more serious problem in app configuration, job scheduling, sizing, or some other area. The SAP Basis administrator needs to find and fix the root cause before the problem leads to performance degradation.

Ideal Skill Sets to Look for in Your SAP Basis Administrator

Having solid SAP Basis support is key for not only preventing costly outages but also enabling your business to continually improve. Your Basis administrators should not only be able to run SAP installation and upgrades but also have extensive experience working with various scenarios.

Ensure your company has the right Basis administrator by checking for these top four skills: real-world experience in resolving problems, end-user focused approach in implementing process improvements, ability to aid new SAP upgrades and installations, and diverse skills and experience with SAP NetWeaver, JAVA system administration, SAP Solution Manager 7.2 or higher, and ABAP programming.

Each organization requires its own unique SAP Basis admin support, but all need Basis support that can identify your particular SAP landscape and maintenance needs. Extensive, hands-on experience will help differentiate issues that need to be escalated versus troubleshooted, saving your company huge costs.

SAP Basis Administrator Responsibilities

In addition to monitoring, analyzing and troubleshooting SAP Basis, the admin has a wide range of duties:

  • Architecting the Environment: SAP Basis admins identify resources (such as personnel, hardware and/or software) that are needed for successful installations and upgrades, as well as to keep up with future use patterns.
  • Implementing Best Practices: Business and Basis tasks intersect in complex ways that can affect the way your organization runs. Basis staff streamline these tasks to promote efficiency and ease of use.
  • User administration: Users are given roles in SAP corresponding to job functions. An SAP Basis administrator fulfills user and role management requests, such as provisioning roles to new hires, rescinding permissions when workers leave, and spotting SOD conflicts between roles.
  • Managing SAP Transports: SAP transports (i.e. updates) need to be carefully tested before they’re migrated to production. Admins must review transport requests, configure and test transports, gather signatures and install transports in the correct order.
  • Scheduling Background Jobs: SAP background jobs are what they sound like — routine processes that run in the background. An SAP Basis administrator schedules and runs these jobs during times of low demand, so that they don’t overburden system resources.
  • SAP Tuning: The best SAP administrators spend more time on performance tuning than troubleshooting. By analyzing system performance, user demand and other factors, an SAP administrator can ensure consistent performance and avoid the need for heroics.
  • Disaster Recovery/High Availability: An SAP administrator is responsible for backing up and restoring the environment, and testing the backup systems. These SAP Basis administration tasks are often outsourced to a cloud disaster recovery partner, who can generally improve reliability and lower costs.

What is SAP Basis’ Role in Upgrades?

Basis experts often take the technical lead in SAP upgrades and migrations. When a business upgrades to an SAP HANA® cloud, or migrates to new SAP hosting provider, business doesn’t stop. The team needs to migrate the business data, configure, and test the new installation, all while keeping the former, source system running. The business keeps generating new data during the migration, which in turn, needs to be migrated as well.  In addition, the business may decide to change the database and/or O.S. platform on the newly migrated system, adding extreme complexity.  It’s incredibly intricate, and can take several months for a large organization. Without a highly-qualified SAP Basis team, the project can run into costly delays, or fail entirely.

Do I Need a Dedicated SAP Basis Administration Team?

In most cases, yes. A lot of companies have IT team members wearing multiple hats, but this approach to SAP Basis administration has three major flaws:

  1. Your enterprise ecosystem is complex.
    Inexperienced SAP Basis administrators often run into issues they’ve never seen before. This isn’t a problem in and of itself — that’s how you learn, right? — but a developer who does SAP on the side is much more likely to make costly mistakes that impact system performance, security and stability than an SAP certified Basis administrator with extensive training and experience.
  2. An SAP Basis administrator needs to resolve issues quickly.
    When SAP starts to break, quick response time can mean the difference between a minor glitch and a major outage. A dedicated SAP Basis team is immersed in solving SAP issues 24/7/365, so they’ll be able to solve the problem quickly.
  3. A dedicated SAP Basis admin is more economical.
    Loading down your IT staff with SAP Basis administration tasks has major opportunity costs. An SAP Basis managed services team will take pressure off your team so they can do their jobs.

SAP Basis Isn’t Just Tech

Good SAP Basis administrators spend a lot of time talking to executives, managers and users, so they can engineer the system to meet their needs.  Trending analysis and capacity planning play a huge role in today’s world of big data. Basis Teams need to be able to anticipate the changing IT software and hardware needs of growing companies to keep them competitive, and to communicate those needs to executives so they can justify costly upgrades.

Anyone can study the technical fundamentals of SAP Basis, but without business insight and soft skills, they can’t meet the needs of an ever evolving company. Symmetry is the only SAP Basis Support and Managed Services provider that trains our technicians to communicate and collaborate with every level of our clients’ organization, from technical administrators to C-level executives. That keeps everyone on the same page, so complex cloud and IT infrastructure projects stay on-schedule and free of costly setbacks.

Understand SAP HANA with SAP Basis Insight

With SAP HANA gradually being adopted by several SAP customers, it’s important for SAP Basis Administrators to understand the main decisions involved in planning, as well as the specific skill sets required during the HANA implementation, migration, and operations process.

HANA acts as a back-end for SAP BW and SAP Business Suite. Many of SAP BW’s technical duties can be transferred over; however, combining the duality of HANA’s flexibility and BW’s features may require a more extensive skill set. For SAP Business Suite, SAP HANA acts as an RDBMS, which primarily requires knowledge of the SAP NetWeaver platform and SAP HANA repository objects.

In the end, the complexity of HANA’s use cases, architecture, scaling, and more requires SAP Basis administration that is both unique and varied in its skill set.

SAP Basis Managed Services that Boost Your IT Department’s Happiness & Productivity

With SAP Technical Basis support providing the glue that holds your business together, it’s crucial that your IT department is not torn between providing SAP Technical Basis support and aiding your business’ strategic goals. That’s why having a dedicated SAP Basis managed services partner can help strengthen your IT department in terms of increased productivity, happiness, and cost savings.

Basis managed services helps avoid delays and keeps your IT department on track. When emergency issues arise, your Basis managed services team can dedicate their time to solving glitches, while internal IT focuses on other key business needs. This, ultimately, leads to better stability and improved human resources allocation.

Providing your IT department the support it needs to focus more on business strategy, and less on putting out fires, will not only improve overall morale but also introduce a wealth of valuable experience.

Enhance Your SAP Service with SolMan in SAP Basis

SAP Solution Manager or SolMan can help improve not only your SAP Basis team’s efficiency but also productivity. Its tools help monitor system health, as well as manage the life cycle of your SAP implementation.

SolMan enables you to perform all testing in one place to easily track results. This actually helps speed up the overall preparation and execution of system testing. It also acts as a template for your implementation projects so that you can reuse content in a variety of formats.

While SolMan in SAP Basis improves efficiencies across the board, it’s important to consider one main issue that companies face during set up: they simply don’t have enough Basis team members to set up and manage SolMan effectively. Therefore, making sure you have enough Basis support for proper set up will help you reduce costs and achieve positive ROI.

Image: Bigstock – Kasto

Curtis Gaska - Solution Architect

Curtis Gaska is a solution architect on Symmetry's expert SA team, delivering complete SAP® technical solutions from upgrades to complex landscape implementations. Curtis pairs his sound SAP technical expertise with sales skills to knowledgably advise clients, and prospective clients of Symmetry’s services and product offerings throughout each stage of the sales cycle.

Curtis has a unique ability to deliver technical knowledge to create customs solutions per the client requirements, by not only taking the technical specifications into consideration but also the business drivers particular to that organization in turn creating an optimal SAP environment. This skilled approached includes scoping, planning, and execution of various projects including Migrations/Upgrades/Installs, Hosting and ongoing Managed Services. He also stays abreast of the latest technologies such as road mapping solutions for client’s to leverage SAP HANA® in their current environment to then be hosted in Symmetry’s state-of- the -art Datacenter.