Outsourced SAP: Remote Administration vs. Managed Hosting

In our last post on SAP managed hosting, we talked about the basic risks and rewards of outsourcing an SAP environment. Now let’s examine a more specific topic: SAP remote administration versus managed cloud hosting.

At itelligence, our managed cloud hosting delivers experienced basis skills in an off-site model. We take care of:

  • SAP Basis administration
  • Proactive monitoring
  • Database administration of your SAP system landscape

This ensures the long-term stability of your SAP investment and places the SAP landscape in the hands of experts. This allows you to allocate  your skilled resources to high-value, business-specific projects.

We also offer extended options like remote-upgrade service and application optimization. Taken together, these offerings create a robust service package.

Despite the advantages of remote administration, we typically advise prospective clients to choose managed hosting. This is for one very simple—and often overlooked—reason.

The Risks of SAP Remote Administration

Although SAP remote administration gives clients a great deal of flexibility and support, it nonetheless leaves IT hardware on client premises. This means you retain all of the responsibility, costs and risks associated with infrastructure, operating systems, and data center support. In addition, the client owns any service level agreements (SLAs) to the actual business users.

When people think about infrastructure, they often simply picture a server and the IT people who service it. But infrastructure also involves:

  • SAN/storage
  • Backup/restore capability
  • Second-site disaster-recovery capability
  • And hopefully a Tier 3 data center comprised of redundant power, cooling, fire suppression, UPS and diesel generators

Many organizations, especially SMBs, make purchase decisions based on their initial sizing of the first go-live project. IT departments often find it very difficult to continue to justify the capital and expense dollars to consistently update data centers and infrastructure hardware. Hosting providers know and understand the importance of staying current with new technology. This allows us to better serve their customers by leveraging a collective group for purchasing power for the new technologies.

Another risk with customer-managed/on-premise data centers  is that they are sometimes situated one or two walls away from a factory floor. This creates a risk from any number of accidents that could compromise the stability of the infrastructure. In addition, especially for SMBs, typical investments in data center redundancy are ignored.

Because remote administration leaves hardware on-site, it involves more risk than if a client were to take everything and move it off-site into a managed-hosting environment.

The Rewards of Managed Cloud Hosting

Managed hosting gives clients the same advantages as remote administration in terms of round-the-clock SAP servicing and monitoring. By moving hardware off-site, however, clients minimize the risk of disaster by partnering with a service provider that has taken the appropriate steps to ensure stability. In addition, the service provider takes ownership of delivering agreed-upon service level agreements (SLAs) to meet customer needs and demands. A certified SAP Global Hosting Partner and SAP Business Partner like itelligence undergoes biennial inspections from SAP AG, as a means to assist customers in selecting providers who adhere to quality standards from both an organizational and process perspective.

When SAP Remote Administration is a Good Idea

None of this is to say that remote administration is never a good idea. In fact, remote administration can provide a strategic advantage in certain situations. When a prospective client wants to pursue managed hosting but has already invested in a Tier 3 redundant data center with enterprise-class infrastructure—and has staff capable of supporting the environment—but lacks the experience, depth and coverage needed to support the SAP instances, we recommend remote administration. This approach allows the client to take full advantage of our off-site services while leveraging their prior investment in on-site infrastructure and support. When and if this changes due to multiple business possibilities, we can smoothly migrate to a full managed-hosting environment.

Our next post will wrap up our discussion about the risks and rewards of managed hosting by taking a look at one of the most common—and important—questions surrounding outsourced SAP: How can a prospective managed-hosting customer find a trustworthy provider?

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