The Complete Guide to SAP Basis Managed Services
Your business depends on your SAP landscape, and the health of that landscape rests on your Basis team. Yet many businesses still treat SAP administration as an afterthought.
Whether you’re already looking for an SAP Basis managed service provider or just learning what SAP Basis is, here’s what you need to know about finding the right Basis administrator.
Setting Goals for SAP Basis Administration
Many companies are so used to poor SAP performance that they assume it’s just the way things are. The system regularly slows down, and unplanned outages are a fact of life. Their SAP Basis admin (who also doubles as a developer or security administrator) is overworked, harried, and constantly rushing around putting out fires. They may have a technology strategy, but it’s aspirational — even routine patches get put off for years.
When your company struggles just to keep ERP running, it’s hard to conceptualize what good SAP Basis managed services would mean. But on some level, you probably already know.
Imagine your SAP landscape supported your business perfectly. What would be different? How fast would your software run? How often would it suffer slowdowns or unplanned downtime? How quickly would your SAP Basis team resolve issues? How often would there be any issues to resolve?
What about tech strategy? Where would you be on your journey to S/4HANA? How long would it take to get there? Where would your company be technologically in 6 months? What about 6 years?
Most of the questions have obvious answers. You may be still fleshing out tech strategy, but you already know what your company needs in the short term. You can and should have an SAP landscape that’s a powerful competitive asset, not a clunky relic. And the right SAP Basis managed services team can get you there.
Types of SAP Basis Services
Basis managed services are scalable. Your MSP can act as:
- A consultant to help you get your in-house team back on track
- A specialist to provide off-hours support or fill in when your admin is gone
- A team to plan and execute your cloud HANA migration and train your admins
- A partner to administer core SAP systems
- An extension of your internal company to run your entire landscape
Your MSP can also handle supporting services, like disaster recovery, security, compliance and hosting. They can administer both SAP and third-party applications, work with your developers to help you realize new functionality, and coordinate other stakeholders to synchronize your IT strategy with your business goals. And they should be able to do it all at a consistent service level.
Service Level Agreements
SLAs need to be clear, enforceable and strong enough to meet your performance needs. But just as importantly, they need to be backed by a technical SAP partner with a history of extremely high reliability.
SLA penalties are severe enough to incentivize your partner to perform, but they don’t provide enough compensation to make up for your losses, should you suffer a major breach such as a prolonged outage or data loss. You’re entrusting your Basis MSP with your data, your reputation and the very future of your business — make sure you choose a partner who deserves that trust.
At Protera, we address these requirements by putting our SLAs right into our managed services platform. That lets our staff and our customers compare them directly to system performance and availability records, ensuring we’re consistently providing the service we’ve promised. That transparency has helped us uphold the consistent quality that our customers expect. In 20 years, we haven’t breached an SLA, and we’ve maintained 100% customer satisfaction and 98% customer renewal rates.
Types of Vendors
The vender ecosystem is vast, and provides many different ways to structure Basis support, hosting and related services. Here are some of the main categories:
Managed Application Service Providers
A managed application provider (MAP) generally has a strong specialization in a particular platform, and provides complete, ongoing service in that platform. Generally, SAP MAPs can offer a full range of technical services, installing, upgrading and maintaining SAP software.
Some MAPs (like Protera) operate their own private clouds, while also supporting a full range of public and hybrid cloud hosting options, while others only work with third-party clouds. Vendor partnerships and technical expertise and specialization can also vary considerably between managed application providers.
Another key factor is the partner’s internal system for application management. Some MAPs don’t take adequate advantage of automation, which can increase costs and time to resolution, in addition to slowing projects.
At Protera, we see our internal processes and technology as a key factor in delivering quality service. Our AppCare platform was created to simplify and accelerate SAP Basis managed services.
That makes us more efficient, enabling us to meet aggressive timelines and provide services tailored to customers’ needs. It also makes our team better at day-to-day operations. AppCare gives our admins excellent visibility, making it easier to understand overall system trends and fine-tune performance.
VARs have historically sold packaged solutions. They provided hardware and software together, configured it for the client, and generally offered some degree of ongoing support.
However, the cloud era has forced many VARs to change their approach. These days, fewer companies require hardware, and there are many vendors offering pre-configured solutions for particular use cases.
Additionally, MAPs have made deployment quicker and more cost-effective, making pre-configuration less compelling. As a result, VARs have moved into managed services, and the distinction between them and system integrators (SIs) has blurred in some cases.
VARs can be a good option for some small companies with simple needs.
If you’re building a fairly standard greenfield implementation, you may find a good off-the-shelf solution. However, VARs aren’t very flexible. They offer limited configuration options and may not support brownfield migrations. In that one of the main strengths of SAP is its flexibility and configurability, a VAR usually won’t be a great match for SAP Basis managed services
SIs are specialists in designing and assembling SAP landscapes. They’re generally project oriented, focusing on functional implementation more than ongoing service. When a company is planning an SAP upgrade, an SI is generally the first point of contact, and may bring in a technical partner to assist them.
We often work closely with SIs for both planning IT strategy and executing major upgrades. Some also offer ongoing Basis managed services, however they may not be able to provide everything a MAP can. They generally have less experience operating large SAP landscapes and may have limited abilities in terms of automation and scaling.
Implementing Long-Term IT Strategy
Can you remember the last time your Gmail account was updated? Probably not. SaaS vendors tweak and patch their software all the time, but unless they announce the update or make a major change in functionality or UI, you never notice. And why should you? It’s the vendor’s job to worry about that stuff.
That’s exactly how SAP should be for end users. You turn it on, and it does everything you need. There may be the need for brief downtime now and then, but it’s infrequent enough that your users barely notice.
Right now, most SAP systems are nothing like this. Companies are running legacy systems, patched together over years using now outdated apps. And with their limited SAP Basis resources, just keeping it all working can be a challenge.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The right Basis partner can transform your system into an engine of innovation, delivering the speed, visibility and analytical power of a cutting-edge business suite, with the ease of use and consistency you should expect from any software.
From delivering quick performance improvements to completing your journey to SAP S/4HANA and beyond, the right SAP Basis managed services provider can make your landscape the powerhouse it was meant to be.
Contact us to learn how Protera can help.