In the last years a new trend in the market has emerged – outsourcing SAP hosting. The service allows a company to handle IT expenses transparently and to scale resources rapidly. Most of the hosting service providers offer a fixed rate plan with few basic additional options that does not appeal to a customer. Evidently, outsourcing hosting makes it easy to calculate the ongoing costs without jeopardizing operations of the business since the purchase and maintenance of a critical enterprise-wide software, such as SAP, is always associated with large in-house investments. Furthermore, the maintenance can be a cumbersome task for the whole IT team.
In other words, the main characteristics and advantages of outsourcing are:
- infrastructure: a customer purchases the set of ready-to-go bundle services without an extra headache of setting up all hardware and software on its own;
- knowledge base: outsourcing SAP hosting to a partner provides an access to a dedicated team of SAP experts;
- transparent expenses: a customer has a clear understanding of all the associated costs related to the usage of a platform in details.
The two first and main questions a company has to face before outsourcing the SAP hosting are: 1) Do you entrust a third party your SAP operations?
2) How to find an appropriate partner, not just a reseller?
Before answering these questions, let’s consider a practical case that Ivobe has dealt with lately. This way we can also address these concerns not only from a theoretical approach but also from the practical point of view.
A start-up contacted Ivobe to help setting up and testing their business processes on IDES before making a decision about starting an SAP implementation. The customer set a tight timeline and ambiguous architectural requirements. Ivobe provided a customer an initial support on own server infrastructure for development a SAP configuration while architectural and managerial decision being finalized concurrently.
A matter of “trust”: are we ready to outsource?
The first question we ask ourselves is whether we entrust a third party our SAP operations. Here we need to introduce the concept of trust. In order to build an appropriate relationship with your service provider – trust is key. So at this point you need to ask yourself: „Do you trust an external company to handle your most valuable business data?“.
Without any doubt, one of the main concerns nowadays is data safety and security. This topic has an absolute priority when it comes to the corporate operations on the web. Once you have found a partner that you can trust, from a security standpoint the risk isn’t greater than the risk from your own employees. Certified service providers (like Ivobe) guarantee not only backup, recovery, disaster protection of your business data, and the troubleshooting of root causes but also praises customers support and commit to deliver latest system updates.
Another consideration that is important to have in mind – the responsibility. Although the SAP hosting might have been outsourced, there is a need in a person who is willing to maintain the relationships between your company and your service provider. The coordination becomes trickier the more partners involved.
If we go back to our practical case, we found that Ivobe understood that „trust“ is a key concept. Ivobe proactively reach-out to the customer’s business and provided adequate alternatives upon any encountered issue. They provided them a prompt service even before charging any costs because the customer had a tight timeline.
To whom trust: how to choose the right service provider?
The second question we are all wondering about is how to find an appropriate partner to whom trust with our SAP operations. Whenever you look for a partner you can outsource the SAP hosting, you might want to look for a partner like Ivobe, which can provide endorsements of proven solution-specific expertise. This way you can be sure that a service provider will adapt to your growing and changing needs of your business. Last but not least is the Service Level Agreement. Your partner needs to know how to work out the transition process in order to ensure operational consistency and reliability.
Going back to our example, in a first stage the customer used IDES and Ivobe’s servers. However, later on they understood that they needed to purchase their own SAP license. Ivobe conducted the customer throughout the entire process and migrated from IDES to a new dedicated environment. This way, the customer left satisfied with the fact that all the routine (technical, operational and logistical) was undertaken by Ivobe experts, leaving the customer only to worry about receiving updates, and certainly about the operational work. From this smooth experience the customer felt as external experts were part of the in-house integration and support team throughout the whole transition process. The customer highly endorsed Ivobe’s dedication and professionalism.