SAP Basis Support: What Do I Need?
May 15, 2020
It’s wise to be prudent about outsourcing SAP Basis support. In our experience, it’s too critical a job to trust to just anyone. Too many times we’ve heard stories from customers about unresponsive offshore teams, a “break-fix” mindset and escalation-based support. These often lead to chronic poor performance and unplanned outages. At the same time, many companies are hesitant to sign up for onshore SAP Basis support. Common concerns about complicated pricing models and unpredictable bills have left a sour taste in many IT leaders’ mouths.
Further complicating the situation is that in-house SAP Basis is not easy, either. Most companies running SAP have overburdened teams who typically can’t give Basis the attention it deserves. Many have faced the sudden departure of SAP professionals, requiring them to scramble just to keep SAP running. Even a temporary illness or a vacation can strain operations. So, they do what they can to keep SAP Basis running…for now. It’s critical to long-term success for IT teams to stop scraping by with short-term SAP consultant contracts and temporary hires, and retain a true, long-term SAP Basis partner.
SAP Basis Support Definition
Because of its complexity – and its importance to core business processes – SAP Basis administration is no field for mere button pushers. These talented individuals are responsible for your SAP environment’s overall management. Basis is the glue that holds your SAP landscape together and SAP Basis administration is critical to the health and functioning of your SAP landscape.
Your SAP Basis support team is tasked with performing installations, upgrades, maintenance, configurations, not to mention monitoring and tuning the SAP technical environment, applying patches and updates and tweaking performance – daily. They troubleshoot any issues that might affect performance or end user experience. They also need to be available if there’s an issue during off hours. Basis makes the difference between a slight slowdown or minor bug and a system-wide outage—one can lead to the other if a Basis admin isn’t watching.
SAP Basis Support Activities
Going further into specifics, SAP Basis support activities include documenting and updating the existing SAP environment. Support may involve working with IT and business units to modernize the SAP landscape. To accomplish such tasks, the SAP Basis Admin has to be able to analyze situations and resolve problems. Specific support activities comprise the following:
- Maintaining the SAP environment’s integrity through the management of the SAP Correction and Transport System (CTS). This ensures the correct promotion of all configuration and development objects.
- Installing and configuring SAP database servers and app servers.
- Managing all SAP users, along with their individual authorizations and profiles.
- Implementing and maintaining the various SAP instances needed for the complete SAP environment, e.g. dev, test, training and production.
- Introducing whatever technical changes are required into the environment by means of a structured approach—minimizing risk and achieving high levels of availability, performance and reliability for each instance.
- Designing and implementing the optimal SAP configuration that maximizes system availability and performance
SAP Administrator Daily Activities
What does an SAP Basis admin do all day? Daily duties go from ensuring that all of the SAP application servers are up. The means daily monitoring of operating systems. He or she must check that all daily backups have been executed error-free. In addition, the admin has to be sure that standard SAP background jobs are all running as required, and proactively monitoring for cancelled or critical jobs. In particular, the Basis admin is supposed to check, daily, if a database has reached its “max-extents.” Other notable daily duties include:
- Checking work-processes, system logs, spool problems and old locks
- Reviewing workload statistics
- Looking for failed updates
- Reviewing and resolving dumps
- Archiving backups
Choosing Your SAP Basis Support Partner
LOOK FOR A WIDE RANGE OF SAP SKILLS BEYOND BASIS
Your SAP Basis support partner isn’t just responsible for routine SAP administration — they’re the lynchpin of your ERP landscape. That means they need a wide range of skills. Your SAP team should understand your entire landscape, including your O/S and runtime as well as the application level. Your SAP Basis administration should also have deep knowledge of SAP security and compliance issues and have demonstrable experience in meeting rigorous industry and organization-specific compliance needs.
Ideally, your team should be able to expand beyond SAP Basis administration to provide hosting, migration and other services as needed — even if you intend to keep a particular task in-house or with another vendor for the foreseeable future. For example, if you have an IBM AS/400 landscape onsite, you may not have immediate plans to move to the cloud. However, if you partner with a Basis provider who also offers AS/400 cloud and hybrid cloud hosting, you’ll have a trusted resource available should you wish to evaluate or pursue other hosting strategies down the road.
CHOOSE A FLEXIBLE SAP TECHNICAL PARTNER
There’s no one-size-fits-all SAP Basis solution. Some companies will just require minor support and training from their Basis partner, and occasional monitoring when in-house Basis personnel go out of town. Others will need a partner who can execute extensive remediation and performance tuning and provide around-the-clock monitoring. You need a provider who can tailor their service to your particular needs, and adapt quickly as those needs change.
At the same time, your provider needs to be up front about pricing and service levels. In a long-term SAP service contract, clear expectations and costs are critical for both the customer and the provider. If an MSP is vague about costing support, it’s a serious red flag.
EXPECT HIGH-TOUCH CUSTOMER SERVICE
When SAP starts to break, you can’t afford to wait on a helpline. With untimed downtime costing an average of $5,600+ per minute, navigating an escalation-based helpline could easily cost your business hundreds of thousands of dollars. Having a resident “Basis expert” on standby isn’t enough either. Every landscape is different, and you can’t afford to wait while the night shift Basis tech comes up to speed on your SAP system. You need to be able to talk to someone who knows your system and can quickly resolve the issue.
SAP Basis Administrator Training
As you might imagine, based on this substantial portfolio of duties and jobs, it takes a fair amount of training to become an SAP Basis administrator. Some of this training will undoubtedly occur on the job. Certifications are available through SAP, though, which is probably a good way for your people to get the skills they need to get started.
Scaling Basis Managed Services
With such a range of SAP Basis support services available, it can be difficult to determine exactly what you need from your administrators. And honestly, there’s no general answer that applies to everybody. Many companies are unaware of what goes into their current in-house SAP Basis maintenance, or how tasks are divided up. Unfortunately, this can leave holes in your routine SAP administration. The developer doing double duty as a part-time Basis administrator might not have the time to apply updates and patches regularly. Your IT security tech might be focusing on other parts of your environment, while neglecting SAP.
To figure out what you need, it’s crucial to get input from all stakeholders — your onsite team, management, your partner and your end users as well. You need to take an honest look at the cost your company incurs from system performance issues, and opportunity costs, as well as spend. In many cases, more extensive external Basis support save money by freeing up your internal IT staff. This can improve productivity throughout your company through better system performance.
The Benefits of Secure-24 SAP Basis Support
Secure-24 is an industry leader in SAP Basis support, largely due to our extensive skill set, technical capabilities and emphasis on continuous training in SAP. From formal classroom training and certification, to in-the-field mentoring, to continuous consultant collaboration to share and learn from their experiences, we make sure our team never stops learning and improving.
But it’s more than that. We take a unique approach to SAP Basis support, emphasizing clear, open communication and high-touch customer service. We coordinate with both management and technical stakeholders in your business to learn your SAP requirements. This ensures our approach addresses your business and strategic needs as well as your technical requirements. Our service benefits include:
- Unparalleled support: Your business never stops, so your SAP Basis support shouldn’t either. Secure-24 provides 24/7/365 monitoring, alerting and support of your production environment.
- Direct access to your dedicated Basis team: As our partner, you’ll have a direct line to your own Client Success 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 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.
- Unrivaled monitoring, management and maintenance: SAP Basis support isn’t about heroics — it’s about planning ahead, so you don’t need the heroics. Our sophisticated monitoring and alerting tools provide 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 ahead. This ensures your system stays healthy over the next month, quarter and year.
- The power of a full-service SAP technical partner: Need to upgrade to S/4HANA? 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.
From filling a single customer order to turning vast datasets into strategic decisions, SAP Basis impacts everything your company does. Secure-24 provides the combination of SAP Basis experience, business savvy, leadership and communication skills to ensure your IT infrastructure always supports your needs. Contact us today to learn how we support system health and performance, with real time visibility across your SAP landscape.