Maximum Benefit, Minimum Risk (2)

Feature Article | July 12, 2004 by admin

Part 1
At a Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes, or Toyota pit stop, every member of the Formula 1 team must perform certain tasks to ensure the car is back on track as quickly as possible. Similarly, SAP Hosting, which specializes in the installation, operation, and optimization of SAP solutions, counts on a division of labor and optimized processes. Experts perform a variety of services that cover all the requirements of SAP outsourcing. These hosting services range from the evaluation of the suitable software and hardware right through to user support.

Getting the right solution quickly

If new SAP software is to be implemented, a company needs to ask itself which solution best meets its requirements. It is no easy task to find an answer to this question, because the evaluation of software requires qualified personnel and an appropriate system architecture – in short, it is a time- and cost-intensive factor. The SAP Evaluation Hosting service provides support in this respect. “We provide a system environment for every SAP solution within 10 days and take over the running of it,” explains Dieter Brecht, Director of Solution Design & Costing at SAP Hosting. As a result, the customer has more time to choose the actual software, and does not need to worry about issues such as hardware and sizing.

Once the decision in favor of a particular SAP solution has been made, SAP Implementation Hosting supports the company in implementing it. A fixed price ensures planning security, and even tight schedules cease to be such a problem: customers again receive a suitable development environment within 10 days. This clears the way for a rapid start to the project. Once implementation has been completed, the company can run the solution itself. SAP Hosting ensures the necessary knowledge transfer for all relevant topics, from data transfer through the operating concept to customer-specific administration issues. “If we compare an SAP system with a racing car, then we in Implementation Hosting tune it for an individual company. We take it to the customer and show that, to stay in the running, we have made the clutch very sensitive, but the accelerator slower to react, because that offers a particular advantage. Therefore, the customer does not receive standard training, but instead a very specific explanation of its solution,” states Brecht.

Competent system support – via VPN, if required

Companies that want to outsource the operation of their SAP applications can take advantage of the Application Hosting service and thus have more time for their operational and strategic tasks. SAP Hosting provides hardware and software support in one of its high-performance computer centers and offers global support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The advantages for the customer include guaranteed system availability and cost transparency.

Companies also have more time for their core business if they are able to rely on a competent partner for the administration of their applications and the monitoring of their processes. SAP Hosting offers this with the Application Management service. The SAP experts take on the maintenance, support, monitoring, and optimization of applications, and all the company has to do is simply use the applications. This service applies for solutions that are run in an SAP computer center and – via a remote connection – for those run at the customer site.

SAP Hosting offers not just system administration via Virtual Private Network (VPN), but also technical operation. This is an attractive option for companies that do not want to outsource their SAP solutions, for example for reasons of security or resources, and instead want to run them in their own computer center. With the Remote Application Operations service, they only hand over operation to SAP Hosting. The experts are connected to the system via a permanent line and support the system without having to be physically present on site.

Always up to date

Expanding an existing application presents companies with similar challenges to those faced during solution implementation: a tight schedule, the unfamiliar technology of the new release version, and additional personnel requirements for the project. With Upgrade Hosting, customers have rapid access to a test system and receive support from specialist SAP Hosting employees. These employees also carry out test upgrades to eliminate the risks involved in the productive changeover to the new release.

E-learning systems on a leased basis keep users up to date without the company having to install or run the system itself. The Hosted E-Learning offering provides customers with IDES solutions (Internet Evaluation and Demonstration System) or copies of their own production systems, so that they can handle the strategic tasks of personnel development.

The Hosted Services a customer chooses depends on the specific requirements. SAP Hosting also offers Packaged Services, which are individually tailored service packages with a fixed content. This could be, for example, a preconfigured solution for the industry, a certain amount of consulting for customer-specific modification, and system operation. “With the preconfigured system and industry-specific best practices, companies have a productive system in a short space of time and at much lower cost,” says Dieter Brecht, highlighting the advantages of the offering.

Many routes to transparent costs

For many companies, calculable costs are the most important criterion in a decision to outsource their SAP applications. To calculate prices, SAP Hosting has a self-developed costing tool, which can be used to calculate the costs of the various services down to the minute. “This enables us to achieve transparent and accurate prices,” stresses Dieter Brecht.

SAP Hosting’s flexible pricing model gives customers what they want. A number of options are possible, for example fixed price models, prices based on the number of users or transactions, bonus/supplementary agreements, or prices based on the solution’s level of optimization. “Different price models suit different customers. Together with the customer, we work out the right route to take,” explains Brecht. Customers that prefer 99.7 percent availability can save costs with a bonus/supplementary agreement. They agree a minimum level of availability with SAP Hosting. If the partner achieves a higher level of availability, they pay a bonus at the end of the year. Scaled pricing models are available for customers with organic, heterogeneous IT structures, who initially want to outsource solution operation to SAP Hosting and then want to optimize the landscape. At the start, the customer pays for the current landscape, but this price drops as the optimization measures are carried out.

At the moment, the most interesting option for customers is the comprehensive pricing model, which SAP Hosting has recently started offering as a standard package for certain industries. “The range of services includes the licenses for a particular solution, industry-specific best practices, implementation, operation, and support. The customer does not need to worry about anything, and uses the system at a fixed price,” explains Brecht. The total cost of ownership is thus clear from the start, and complex calculations are not needed.

Further information

Sabine Höfler

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