>>Managing SAP During Uncertain Times: Techniques

Managing SAP During Uncertain Times: Techniques

An Interview with Director of Applications Management Services, Jatin Oza

Hear from Protera Technologies Director of Applications Management Services Jatin Oza as he describes what steps SAP users and the IT managers can take to remain productive and effective during uncertain times.

Jamessina:

Hi and thank you so much for joining us. In response to the global healthcare crisis we have created this video series, Managing SAP During Uncertain Times, sharing real time insights on how businesses running SAP today are reacting and being proactive. Today we have our Chief Product Officer, Alan Manual, and our Director of Application Management Services, Jatin Osa.

Alan:

Thanks, Jamie. And thanks to you out in the audience. Hopefully, everyone is staying well. As Jamie mentioned, this is our series to address how businesses are doing things differently during this time. And I have with me today, Jatin Osa, Director of Application Management for Protera. Jatin, welcome.

Jatin:

Hello. Hello, Alan.

Alan:

Jatin, why don’t you start by telling us a little bit about what you do for Protera.

Jatin:

Absolutely, yep. So I’m the Director of Application Management Services, which includes SAP application management and migration services to public cloud platforms. So as an Application Management Services lead, I manage a global team, which is across the globe in all geographies like North America, Europe, Asia, Latin America. And we do always manage the services remotely so I have an experience in managing the SAP environment remotely and handling hundreds and thousands of servers remotely. So that’s what we do for Protera.

Alan:

Great. Great. Now in today’s session, I know that we are going to get into some technical details for how end users and IT managers can cope effectively and ensure that the essential business processes that they’re supporting are able to keep functioning during these uncertain times. But before we do that, let me just first ask you, how are you personally affected by this time? What has changed about your work style? Do you typically work from home, work from the office? Just give us and give us, the audience, a little bit of an insight into how things have changed for you personally.

Jatin:

Well actually, honestly the things have not changed that drastically for me. Obviously, we are all locked down. So personally, yes, that is one big change in everybody’s lifestyle here. But otherwise, I do work remotely quite often but because we always, I always go to office as well. So half of the time I’m in office, but because I run 24 across seven operations globally, we have followed the same model that I use. So I’m pretty familiar with the remote and virtual work space management per se. So that way my life has not changed a lot, but it is certainly in lockdown.

Alan:

Great. Great. Now in your day to day role as Director of Application Management Services, you dealt with a lot of situations and a lot of requests from customers before the particular time and situation that we’re in today. So why don’t you tell us what was sort of your day like before the current situation that we’re in? What were some of the things that customers depended on you to help them with in terms of running their SAP centric businesses on a day to day basis?

Jatin:

Absolutely. Yeah. So as part of the management services for applications, which is SAPS is a very core application framework. So typically, as part of my role, I used to manage cloud projects. So typical SAP workload that customers want to move from on premise to cloud. We do manage that kind of projects and I deliver those projects with the help of my team globally. At the same time, I also manage the workload that is deployed on cloud with our management services. So all the customers and customer contacts who has challenges with their services, who has issues with their systems, any escalations, all those things I manage and I do interact with them regularly around their service areas.

Alan:

Now of course, things have changed for the world at large. Many of us, for example, are trying out new technologies, work at home. For example, this conference that we’re doing right now, this mode of working, maybe it was typical for some, but certainly not to the extent that we see it today. So now that we’re in the midst of this situation, what are some of the things that you see customers doing differently and what are they asking you to do differently? So how has your job changed? What are the services that you’re being asked to do as a result of the current situation that we’re in?

Jatin:

So typically, when a user base is accessing data and SAP applications from their corporate network, a lot of things that they don’t realize in the back end, are very seamless for them. For example, on an average in a corporate network with MPLS Circuit, they typically get about 100 to 150 Mbps network. They have all the client applications set as per their requirement in the client workstations. They are very accustomed with their overall collaboration techniques that they use because they are inside the office. All those things are very common for them, which has changed drastically now that everybody’s locked down. They have obviously a work from home strategy now. So everybody has to remotely work and everything in their local workstation is as is that they typically don’t use in their office workspace. So now situations has changed.

Jatin:

The most important out of everything is the network, which is typically a home network that they have to use now, which is obviously shared between multiple devices in a house. On an average in U.S. at least 10 devices that are using a home network. So between office and home network, if you want to differentiate, typically they get one 10th of the kind of network that they are getting typically in an office. So, that has changed. Now, from SAP’s perspective, SAP users use [inaudible 00:05:52] business objects or WebEx. A lot of applications that they typically use very easily and seamlessly with the corporate network, we’ll obviously get a hit because of this change.

Alan:

Okay. And in fact, even right now as we’re talking, I’m getting some interruptions in the signal here. I’m a home user as well currently and so I’m sort of being affected by the very situation that you’re describing. So let’s start first with users. What can a user do who is now finds him or herself at home trying to access SAP? Are there any things that a user can do, even today to maybe improve how they are able to access their systems? Some basic tips or techniques.

Jatin:

Yeah. One of the most common scenario is SAP users are typically going to access SAP through a client application called SAP GUI. Okay. Now most of the personal workstations will have an option to change settings when they use SAP GUI. And in SAP GUI there is a very common setting that you can use for a low speed network or low speed connections. So as a user, one thing that they can certainly do is if they see that their current network speed is less than five Mbps, I would strongly recommend them to use this setting, which will not change their experience in managing or running SAP applications and using SAP applications. But at the same time, SAP GUI application will be smart enough to exchange the information on need basis with a compressed packet that will allow you to work seamlessly with lower network speeds.

Jatin:

One of the other thing that typically a smart user would do is prioritizing their network traffic in their home wireless routers. What happens is, when you set up a wireless router and when you’re using a normal internet across multiple devices, there is no priority set. But in these kinds of situations when you are working from home, your usage pattern for your home network has changed. So you can change the priority for the traffic and there are settings that are available that if the audience of this video has some questions around it, we can help you with it, but it is technically called QS and priority settings which you can change in router. All the routers that you typically use in home has this facility. This is one thing that you can do to make sure that you as a user, as business or kind of work user, is getting more priority on your own router.

Jatin:

There’s also another important thing that it also depends where you are sitting in your house allows you to handle the network. And please remember and note that with a typical average internet speed like 75 Mbps or 50 Mbps when you use wifi, it is not always necessary that you actually get 75 Mbps in your own PC because you always lose some wifi speed because of various reasons and the location in your house. So you should always choose the perfect location where you get the maximum wifi connectivity and a peaceful day at work.

Jatin:

Those are the common things that users can do. Apart from that, if you are an SAP Fiori user, there is a very common setting that you can do in the browser settings with your browser cache enabled. What happens is about 60 to 70 Fiori applications does not require the pace to be reloaded every time, right? It only requires a few portion of your browser screen to be reloaded because that is the data that is changing. If you use your browser cache enabled, you can easily reload this information without getting back to the server every time. That means your SAP Fiori experience will be seamless but with this setting, you’re not putting additional load on your network.

Alan:

Okay, fantastic. So that’s a number of great tips for those of us who find ourselves working at home. There’s some things we can do even if we’re maybe somewhat technical to improve our own wifi or network speed and connectivity capability at home as well as some things depending on the type of mechanism we’re using to access SAP, whether it’s the SAP GUI or whether it’s Fiori. There’s some techniques there that maybe the administrator can use to help improve the user experience.

Alan:

What about maybe a medium term or longer term actions? Things like you and I talked about other techniques, for example, CDN. So what are some other maybe longer term techniques that companies could be looking into? Obviously the situation today is extreme where we’re all working remotely, but you know there is a quite a trend towards workers being in more diverse locations. So in a sense this is sort of a trend and what are some of the recommendations you can make for organizations who are trying to make it easier for more of a remote workplace to be effective wherever they’re accessing it from?

Jatin:

Yeah, that’s a great question, Alan. So, there are two types of IT management services. There are the management teams that you will see and with companies having infrastructure set for let’s say a specific portion of user workload, which is let’s say always using SAP applications through their remote workplaces and remotely. Those needs are already prepared for providing support for the remote workspace. But those who have never, who had very limited number of users accessing their applications remotely, I think these are the techniques that will help them drastically, which they don’t have to change by making a behavioral change or experience change from the end user’s workstation, but by making small changes in their server level or their corporate level layer infrastructure, which is very easy and manageable for them to change.

Jatin:

So simple techniques like identifying a pattern and balancing a load in application based on the geographic area. One of the very simple setting that SAP users can do is creating a logon lore group which will be identified and mapped with very specific set of users to which you want to prioritize a specific application server. This is one technique. There is also an important technique called CDN for Fiori users. CDN is one of the techniques that we use to make Fiori applications more interactive from the performance perspective, make it more seamless in terms of their experience.

Jatin:

So a global organization having user base across the globe in geographic areas like Europe, America, Asia and Latin America, if they’re a corporate server network is in U.S., for example, obviously the end user experience in Asia for a situation like this, during the situation like this will be very low. There is network traffic between Asia to America and a specific time in the day will really affect their end user experience.

Jatin:

So with the technique called CDN, they can create a local server which caches and stores SAP UI Five Libraries which is accessible and available to them directly from their Asian server. And they can only go to SAP System when they actually need to refresh the data. So with that, and in a combination of a technique called Fiori Tile Refresh Interval, cache services, all these things can be enabled by the administrators and the application owners. So these things will not require any change at client layer, at the SAP end user’s workstation layer. All SAP end users will do is the same thing that they do every day. They just log into their browser and work but all these changes are happening on the server layer, which will help the end users to make that experience seamless.

Alan:

Okay, great. Wow. Well, this certainly is a great set of recommendations and tips for companies who are suddenly finding themselves having to deal with a majority or almost completely remote workforce. This really brings up the topic of preparedness in general. Hopefully, this situation will pass soon, but things are changing very quickly. Whether it’s environmental changes, whether it’s business changes, organizational changes, so it just seems like there’s quite a bit of change going on today. Maybe more so than in the past.

Alan:

In general, what are you seeing as techniques that companies are adopting or what do you recommend to your customers who are running SAP and SAP centric organizations today? What are some of the recommendations that you are making to help them remain a really resilient and proactive in the face of what seems to be a tremendous and increasing amount of change? What techniques would you recommend in general to those who might be listening today?

Jatin:

That’s a very good question, Alan. I think now with what we have seen with COVID 19, every organization will have to think how they’re managing their SAP application. Are they agile enough to handle any kind of change? Which can be a geographic change, which can be a environmental change, which can be a usage pattern change. So it is extremely important to see how we are managing our applications and are they ready for any kind of change and impact.

Jatin:

Now, some of the common techniques that I would recommend for any IT management organization who is managing SAP application, either they’re managing themselves or with the help of any other providers, is that they should definitely be ready with scalability. So the scalability options comes with obvious choice of deploying your compute platform on cloud, on public cloud platforms or something where you have an option to virtually scale your environment without making huge changes like purchasing hardware, right?

Jatin:

And then that brings into, going further down into SAP layer, that brings into a point where you can really be ready with things like SAP application server available and shut down for your productive environments. So that for situations where you suddenly see a spike in your transactional processing, having millions of transactions processing per second, you can with a very short notice, instantiate those application servers, add to your application system and automatically avail that for your end users and customers who are transacting over internet.

Jatin:

So, without making major changes in your end user infrastructure or purchasing anything, suddenly you are ready for these kinds of changes. There are also some other techniques like being ready with the load distribution unit, which is configured in SAP system but only activated when you have seen these kind of changes. And then being ready for a remote workload support is also another thing that everybody will prepare now. So common technique is let’s say without making any major infrastructure setup, you can create a simple protection layer using SAP Web Dispatcher, which allows your SAP application server to expose the data over internet securely.

Jatin:

So end users, suppose they are not, let’s say able to access your private networks through VPN or any other kind of fancy setup. They can at least, let’s say run 70, 80, 90% of your SAP GUI functionality using a concept called SAP Web GUI. So having a web dispatcher, even if you don’t need that now, with a very small investment is available and then something that you can use so that you’re more agile and you know, available over internet. So when you want to activate these kind of things, you are almost there. You’re just ready to switch on. You just press the button and ready in [crosstalk 00:17:43].

Alan:

Great. Yeah. It’s all about being prepared.

Jatin:

Yep.

Alan:

Jatin, thank you so much for even just for the short video. You’ve given the users a tremendous number of tips and techniques. Already you’re starting to help people be prepared, perhaps, for the next situation. If somebody wants to get in touch with Protera or with you and perhaps ask questions about any of the techniques that you’ve talked about, would you be willing to have that conversation with them?

Jatin:

Absolutely. I’m more than happy to support anybody at this challenging time, and please reach out to us on this video, replying this video and then we’ll be happy to help you in any way we can.

Alan:

Fantastic. Jatin Osa, Director of Application Management Services for Protera. Thank you very much. This is Alan Manual, Chief Product Officer.

Jatin:

Thank you.

Alan:

Again, helping that everyone is staying healthy and safe during these times and hoping that this video series on managing SAP during these uncertain times is helpful to you. Over to you, Jamie.

Jamessina:

Thank you so much gentlemen for your time today. And for everyone watching, stay tuned for more videos as we continue to ask our leadership for insights. What they’re seeing from CIOs and other IT leaders in the industry for businesses running SAP to stay stable and also be proactive during these uncertain times. Thank you so much and everyone stay well.

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By |2020-04-08T13:28:42-05:00April 1st, 2020|Categories: SAP News|

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