By Simon Wilson, Avantra
As enterprises further advance their digital transformation agenda, the adoption of cloud services and outsourcing has become a priority. The phenomenal growth is leading managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver unmatched capabilities in the ever-evolving SAP landscape. However, MSPs realize the high cost attached to building the market-leading innovations and the urgent need to stay ahead in a fiercely competitive industry.
Absoft, a leading SAP specialist with vast experience in running SAP on Azure, chose to invest in a platform that would help drive its customers toward becoming self-healing enterprises. Like many MSPs working with SAP, they wanted to deliver automated and proactive issue resolution for complex SAP workflows across the system environments.
As part of its desire to remain a leading MSP, Absoft recognized the need to evolve its SAP automation and provide its customers with real-time visibility into system health and performance, whether on-premise or in the cloud. One of the key challenges was to achieve a level of service that would add real benefit to its customers without prohibitive costs – and this is where advanced automation capability helps.
The automation of daily, best-practice, and real-time system checks reduces the burden of managing complex SAP landscapes. It means valuable, high-skilled resources can concentrate on priority problems that may affect business continuity before they become an issue and work toward adding even greater value to the MSP customers. By using business process-orientated dashboards, users can readily see end-to-end process health and understand the business implications of every issue across the landscape.
Why choose to invest in a third-party solution?
Of course, any MSP could choose to build its automation platform. However, this route presents multiple issues. Firstly, the time and cost taken to produce such a system means return on investment may be slow. It also equates to a long lead time until an MSP can offer such an advanced solution to its customers, reducing market potential and possibly leaving the MSP ‘behind the curve’ with its competitors. Finally, adopting an advanced platform further provides a proven solution and reduces the risks associated with testing and debugging an in-house alternative.
Value comes from automation and visibility
With complete landscape visibility, users can prioritize issues and concentrate on having resources in areas that are critical to business success. Better system insights for the MSP mean better support for their customers. Greater visibility also results in enhanced communications, enabling internal and external teams to communicate and collaborate across a single platform and streamline their interactions.
Furthermore, by adding automation routines, repetitive problems can be handled with automated workflows, thereby ensuring they are swiftly dealt with and saving the time of high-skilled employees. Absoft implemented automation with numerous custom checks to ensure they could handle the unique landscapes of different customers.
Automation goes above and beyond with effective monitoring and seamless execution of manually intensive tasks and routines. Case in point, shutting systems down for the weekend and restarting them in time for working hours the following week, or automatically shutting down systems in the correct sequence for maintenance windows. By automating routine operations, users not only save time and money, but customers also benefit from routine predictability and are assured that processes will be carried out at the right time, every time.
In the cloud or on-premise?
One of the biggest challenges for MSPs is the differing architectures and preferences of their global customers. It requires a scalable solution that works in multiple environments: cloud, on-premise, or a hybrid of the two. Customers are increasingly moving SAP systems to the cloud, making it imperative for MSPs to have full visibility into managed landscapes and be able to run complex operations across different environments with guaranteed consistency.
Enterprise systems such as SAP are more complex and more critical to business performance than ever. As organizations push forwards with digitalization programs and embrace technologies such as the cloud to handle large IT environments, the need for monitoring and proactive problem solving is increasing. A ready-made solution that improvises to diverse, highly complex and unique IT landscapes, helped Absoft add next gen services to its customers. When balancing the cost of such innovations with the risks of losing out on success-critical market advantage, the former looks like a better option to stay ahead of the competition.
About The Author
Simon Wilson is the Chief Operating Officer at Avantra and leads the Strategic Technology Alliances and Partner initiatives to deliver great customer outcomes, whilst delivering on Avantra's growth ambitions.