Senior Vice President,
SAP America, Inc.
Q. When you look up and down the list of reasons SAP customers are now calling the SAP Hosting organization, which are the most prevalent or pressing?
In general, all information technology buyers are under pressure to do a whole lot more for their businesses, with a whole lot less than they had in the past in resources. Our customers selected SAP based on our innovation — past, present, and future. Our SAP Hosting team offers a portfolio of services that assists our customers in delivering that innovation to their businesses, at an investment and cost of ownership that is consistent with the resource constraints they face every day.
As a result, very often customers call on SAP Hosting to help them extend their SAP investment with additional innovative capabilities, for example, mySAP Customer Relationship Management or SAP NetWeaver. SAP Hosting already has best-in-class expertise in areas that may be brand new even to an existing SAP customer, and we provide global, around-the-clock service for businesses that have those requirements.
This service, which we call SAP Implementation Hosting, makes it much easier for a customer to commence a project with wider capabilities to help drive their businesses, while the company's staff continues to operate its day-to-day business. It provides the hardware for customers' development and quality assurance software environments, technical installation, basis administration, and data center facilities, and can include project services from SAP Customer Services Network. When the project is completed, the configured software can be transitioned to the customer's site or maintained for a longer term with SAP Hosting's Application Hosting service. Customer projects come in many forms — an upgrade to a new version, expansion of SAP solutions to a new division or business unit, deployment of additional capabilities — but in each case, SAP Hosting's Implementation Hosting service can be exceptionally useful to balance resource constraints.
The customer need for a "technology refresh" is certainly also a common rallying point. We receive many calls from customers who tell us that the cost of maintaining older systems is a problem for them. SAP Application Hosting addresses this specific challenge. Through this service, SAP Hosting assumes the burden of purchasing the hardware you need to run your business applications, and we then maintain those systems. We operate and maintain your solution at a centralized facility, but with SAP staff globally deployed managing the systems on a 24x7, 365-days-per-year basis. The facility is a world-class data center — with expert staff, state-of-the-art management and monitoring tools, and security and easy access that makes this transparent to end users. The cost and overhead shifts to SAP and, as a result, is predictable. For most IT organizations, one fixed, predictable, monthly fee is highly advantageous.
Q. Many SAP customers are considering software upgrades now. What does SAP Hosting offer to support customers during upgrades?
Customers certainly want to leverage capabilities offered by newer releases of SAP software, but cannot afford to incur any disruption of their business during an upgrade. Some customers may not have resources available to staff the upgrade effort. Resource constraints may also make it difficult to invest capital in new hardware systems when necessary.
With our SAP Upgrade Hosting service, we literally take a copy of the customer's existing production environment and manage the technical side of the upgrade process for the customer. The customer can focus on working with their end users on the business benefits of the upgrade, and on the project effort to support those business benefits. At the same time, their staff continues to run the business from their existing system until we have completed all implementation and testing of the upgrade in our hosted environment. When stress testing is complete, the customer is in a position to transition to the new system, in-house, with its existing staff.
Q. What if a customer already has its own data center facility, but would like to take advantage of SAP Hosting's breadth of knowledge and staff?
Not all SAP Hosting engagements start with applications running at our central facilities. Our SAP Remote Applications Operations service allows us to come to you, so to speak. This is a service we recommend in response to customers who are finding they don't have the time, budget, or resources to keep their SAP systems running optimally, but already have a significant investment in managing their own data center. Some may not have sufficient manpower to manage their systems 24 hours a day, or may lack the specific skill sets to manage and maintain particular systems proactively. With SAP Hosting's Remote Application Operation service, we fill that void. The service provides daily monitoring and maintenance of the SAP system (database administration, basis administration, and help desk).
Q. A large number of IT organizations are undertaking consolidation projects to cut costs and improve operating efficiency. What role, if any, would SAP Hosting play here?
Certainly, when customers are looking to consolidate they are looking at all elements of their IT investment — implementations, hardware, staff optimization, and the list goes on. It is important to understand that the demand from the business — from the end users — continues. In fact, business executives need and expect more support than ever from their business systems, in full alignment with the company's overall business goals. So we see a constrained budget for spending, but an increasing demand for business value from IT.
That combination of forces is driving the need for consolidation of systems, and for focusing internal resources where they provide the highest possible value to the business. I believe that all of the services offered by SAP Hosting, from implementation hosting to enterprise application hosting (see Figure 1), are exceptionally supportive of our customers' needs in the face of these pressures.
Q. What about divisions or business partner sites, where separate systems may be required? What role would SAP Hosting play there?
Many of our customers are deploying SAP capabilities for use by their extended business ecosystem, including their smaller divisions, suppliers, and distribution partners. Most often, the business benefit to our customer is establishing a complete, consistent, and repeatable business process, for example the quote, sale, and fulfillment of a product or service to an end customer that occurs through a distribution partner or network. Having a system environment and resourcing model that is flexible, that can support substantial (but unpredictable) growth at predictable cost, is absolutely critical to support such a business model.
In some cases, our customers would like certain divisions or business partners to deploy specific SAP capabilities for the benefit of their own independent businesses, but perhaps with certain process links back to the customer's separate SAP system. As a community, these divisions or business partners may need assistance in deploying these systems.
Managed Solutions is a great way we help smaller companies take advantage of industry-proven best practices. It's a comprehensive offering for specific industries that covers the implementation services, hardware, data center facilities, and ongoing support, all at a defined monthly cost.
This brings all of the industry-specific capabilities of SAP to bear for midsized businesses, at a cost point that meets with their resource constraints, and also enables us to build in business process relationships within a business ecosystem.
Q. How does SAP Hosting help customers unlock the value of their SAP investment?
Our solutions are all designed to help customers get the most out of their SAP investment. We leverage all of our knowledge and skills to offer customers a clear, specific understanding of how their business can be improved by using SAP Hosting services. At SAP Hosting, we provide complete solutions for our customers that solve their unique business problems at a predefined total cost of ownership and operation. No other company in the enterprise-software business has the industry knowledge and capabilities — and the business-platform scope — that SAP brings to the table.
||SAP Hosting North America
||SAP Hosting EMEA
|SAP Application Hosting
||This comprehensive service package includes: initial infrastructure sizing, facility and data center management, hardware and telecommunication provisioning, and ongoing technical support of your selected applications.
|SAP Implementation Hosting
||This interim hosting solution provides a faster, more seamless implementation with lower risk and higher quality, while providing time to solidify a long-term strategy for technology and infrastructure deployment. It is also available to support customers participating in the SAP Ramp-Up of new solutions.
|SAP Remote Applications Operations
||SAP Hosting remotely manages the necessary daily operational activities and provides a round-the-clock call center and technical support. The customer maintains responsibility for the hardware, but benefits from SAP Hosting's SAP operation expertise when utilizing this service delivery model.
|SAP Application Management
||Post-productive Functional Application Management help desk and support is designed to handle day-to-day inquiries and module configuration needs.
|SAP Upgrade Hosting
||The SAP Upgrade Hosting service provides the appropriate infrastructure to execute a technical upgrade in one of our data centers. If necessary, we'll also support with functional upgrades. This service also includes a test upgrade and helps rule out unexpected situations and risks when upgrading live.
||This bundled solution offers implementation services, hardware, data center facilities, training, ongoing technical support, and post-go-live functional support.
||SAP Hosting Services
Q. What happens if a customer outgrows the hosted application?
Our SAP Hosting customer base includes some of the largest and smallest SAP customers. Accordingly, our services are designed to scale right along with our customers' businesses. We routinely monitor disk storage utilization along with other resources. Allocation of additional resources is handled via a simple service request as capacity changes.
Q. There are a lot of experienced outsourcing firms in the market. When and why would an existing SAP customer turn to SAP Hosting?
Let me tackle the first part of your question — when to turn to SAP for hosting services. Among the top eight reasons I see are these:
- You are about to perform an upgrade and may have insufficient staff bandwidth to perform the upgrade and manage the existing systems.
- You are considering adding new mySAP capabilities and may have insufficient staff knowledge and bandwidth to support the new capabilities.
- Your company is in growth mode and you need to supplement limited IT resources.
- Your company is running multiple SAP systems, but not optimally.
- You need an SAP system up and running at a business unit, but do not have the resources to implement and manage that instance.
- Your company has business demand to deploy SAP capabilities for the benefit of, and to integrate business better with, business partners.
- Your company does not have a sufficient disaster recovery plan.
- You are considering consolidating systems and/or data centers.
As you may be aware, SAP has many business partners that offer hosting services at a high quality; in fact, those partners are qualified by SAP globally and are listed in our Partner Directory at www.sap.com. SAP Hosting is focused on providing a very high level of support for customers with global businesses, and for customers using, or intending to use, all of the advancements and innovation SAP has to offer. Being part of SAP, we are very focused on making our customers successful with SAP.
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