Whenever an enterprise considers a new investment, there is a decision to be made between value, risk and cost. For instance, the adoption of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software might indicate that an organization has made the following decision: The value of ERP to our customers and stakeholders outweighs the risks and costs (time, resource, dollars) associated with running our business without an industry-specific software solution, like those offered by SAP.
With the emergence of cloud computing, such an organization now faces another decision: Should we support our SAP solution internally, or outsource support through services like managed hosting and remote administration, so to gain a competitive advantage?
Over the next several weeks, we’ll look closely at each of the main risks and rewards associated with outsourced SAP, starting with the basics.
The Infrastructural Pillars of SAP
When we look at SAP running in an enterprise environment, we see certain infrastructural pillars. These pillars provide the basic support needed for SAP to perform at optimal levels. These pillars are:
- Data Center Operations
- SAP Basis Administration
- Operating System Administration
- Database Administration
Each of these pillars has its own set of demands. Data-center operations alone include server management; data storage, backup and recovery; and operating-system administration—in addition to common components like cooling, security and redundant power and network. The three additional pillars introduce their own requirements, and the breadth of skills needed to suffice the total infrastructure can surprise even the largest and best-staffed enterprise. For small-to-midsized enterprises (SMEs), these demands appear even more pronounced, and the advantages of managed hosting become clearer.
The Advantages of SAP Managed Hosting
SAP managed hosting allows internal IT personnel to devote themselves to direct business needs, leaving maintenance and servicing of the ERP landscape to their outsourcing partners. The data center and hardware sit offsite with the managed-hosting provider, whose team of SAP experts manages the SAP basis layer and all other system-specific elements.
This structure also allows the internal organization to move its investment in SAP infrastructure from a capital investment to an expense. The SAP managed-hosting partner bears the responsibility of investing in cutting-edge infrastructure/technology, while the enterprise continues to focus on its core business.
For example, at itelligence our SAP Full Managed Hosting Service provides a reliable SAP environment that remains available at all times. We not only mitigate the risks of on-site SAP Basis support, but also provide a wealth of added benefits thanks to our state-of-the-art datacenters, multiple SAP expert teams, and automated monitoring of all hardware and software. To see all our outsourcing services, click here.
By supporting each of the SAP technical pillars, we round out the baseline SAP environment. As we continue this conversation in the following weeks, we’ll look at additional aspects of SAP outsourcing. Our next post will examine the risks and rewards of remote administration, versus those of managed hosting.