The Making of a Top SAP Basis Administration Team
Administrators have never been the rockstars of the IT world. While your developers build exciting new products and features, your admins work quietly behind the scenes, keeping everything running smoothly.
But despite their low profile, your SAP Basis administrators are some of the most important figures in the success of your organization. They prevent performance degradations and outages that can sabotage productivity and alienate customers. They plan for future grown, eliminating bottlenecks and cost overruns that can derail other projects. And in a disaster scenario, their quick response can mean the difference between a minor setback and a catastrophic loss. The better your SAP admins are, the better your company can become.
Here’s what goes into making a top SAP Basis administration team.
SAP Basis Roles
The requirements for running SAP Basis vary quite a bit, depending on the needs of a particular company. The size and complexity of the landscape, industry, regulatory requirements and niche technological requirements all affect what roles your team requires. Additionally, managed services providers may have their own approaches to SAP Basis management roles, which can change the terminology and the division of tasks somewhat.
At the minimum, every company should have at least two SAP Basis administrators, and a team leader. SAP Basis admins are responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the SAP landscape. This includes performing daily maintenance, scheduling jobs (i.e. automated background tasks) to ensure they don’t interfere with periods of high user demand and planning for landscape growth. They’re also in charge of testing and installing software updates (a process known as transport management), and play a big role in major SAP projects.
Your team leader will be responsible for overseeing the whole process, and ensuring your services meet both your strategic and technical needs. This should include briefing senior management, coordinating with your internal IT team and other stakeholders, and connecting you to other resources you might need, such as project managers or temporary staff.
Why do I need multiple SAP Basis administrators?
When you have a good SAP Basis team and modern software, steady state SAP operations don’t typically take anywhere near 80 for a typical company. However, they do require 24/7 availability. When something goes wrong in SAP, quick response can mean the difference between minor performance issues in one application and a major disruption.
An SAP managed services model with two administrators is the best model for providing the needed availability, while minimizing cost. With one managed services provider providing Basis administration to many different companies, costs are shared, and the team can provide the required availability. Rather than hiring a full time Basis administrator and only having support during work hours, you can have a full team monitoring your system day and night. That means better support, quicker resolution and lower cost.
Make sure that your SAP Basis administration team provides you with direct access to a primary and secondary contact within your team. If something goes wrong, it ensures you’ll always have someone who can fix the problem available by phone — along with a backup contact, just in case.
Building a Superior SAP Basis Administration Team
Well-defined roles and responsibilities
The primary job of your SAP Basis team is to keep your system running perfectly all the time. If they’re doing their job well, the job involves few surprises and no heroics — just a consistent routine, day after day.
To maintain that level of consistency, everyone on the Basis Administration team needs to understand their job, and how it fits in with the rest of the team. From regular maintenance, to major SAP upgrades and migrations to disaster scenarios, everyone should know exactly what their job is.
That sort of responsibility starts with the managed services provider. Look for an MSP that has clear, well-defined roles for team members as well as a mature quality control system, and is willing to show you how their teams work. Remember, your SAP Basis administration team is only as good as their organization.
SAP Basis administration requires a lot of study, but not all of it can be learned in the classroom. Admins will run into new problems they’ve never seen before along with goals and benchmarks that are organization-specific, in a complex landscape that’s unique to your company. They need to be able to think on their feet, and that requires hands-on training. Training and mentorship on the job gives new techs the confidence and experience they need to become great admins.
Hands-on training also gives team members a chance to work together. Not only does that get junior members used to company procedures and safeguards — it also makes a more cohesive, tight-knit team, which means better service for the client.
Ongoing Education and Improvement
Keeping up in a rapidly evolving ecosystem like SAP is hard work. The subjects your SAP Basis administration have to keep learning about include:
- New software releases and popular third-party products
- Changing SAP best practices
- Changing internal best quality control processes
- New security threats
- Shifting patterns in customer demand
- Regulatory changes
A good SAP Basis administration team needs to always be learning, guided by a managed services provider that’s eager to teach and challenge them. The MSP needs to provide opportunities for team members to learn from each other in both formal and informal settings. From brown bag lunch discussions to earning new certifications, the company can create an environment where the best get even better every day.
A continuous improvement program is also important. By benchmarking success, setting new goals and refining internal processes, the MSP can support the client, the team, and its own success. That prevents complacency, ensuring your SAP Basis Administration team stay at their best, day after day and year after year. Read more on SAP Continuous Improvement in our dedicated post.
A Culture of Accountability
Every member of an SAP Basis administration team has a tremendous amount of responsibility. In a worst case scenario, slapdash work and careless mistakes can potentially cost the client millions, lead to major regulatory and security breaches, or even jeopardize business continuity. To ensure things never get anywhere near that point, your team needs to combine support with accountability.
Doing that requires a combination of strong processes, leadership and vigilance. Reviews should be frequent, and team leaders should provide remedial help when needed. When mistakes do happen, the team needs to understand why they happened and who was responsible, and take action to ensure they won’t happen again. And above all, there should be zero tolerance for bad attitudes, which can sabotage the team and the client.
Accountability isn’t just about properly remediation, however — it also means rewarding excellence. The team lead needs to identify talent, and reward customer service that goes above and beyond. And when members do face challenges, it’s up to the team lead to guide them through it, and give them a path to contribute to the success of the team — and the client.
SAP Basis administrators have a very challenging job, with an entire enterprise resting on their ability to get it right. No matter how talented the individual members are, if they’re not working together to succeed as a team, they’re going to fail as a team.
The best SAP Basis admin teams grow out of a company culture of teamwork. As companies invest in their workers, team members develop a sense of common purpose and mission. And that team spirit is what enables them to do great work for the client.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what makes a great SAP Basis administration team, but we’d love to tell you more. Contact us to learn how Protera provides the best SAP Basis support in the industry.
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