How to find the right partner for your SAP HANA deployment 

Updated: 10 March 2020 | First published: 15 December 2017
Ignatius Wong, Director, Product Management (Hybrid Cloud & IT Solutions), CenturyLink Asia Pacific

The right SAP managed service provider can be the difference between success and failure in migrating to and leveraging SAP HANA. But how should you decide who to work with?

Migrating, hosting, and operating SAP HANA can be challenging, especially if your organization doesn’t have the necessary in-house technical experts to execute and support that task. Partnering with the right managed service provider (MSP) can help address these challenges and provide the necessary agility for your company.

So how can you select the right MSP from the rest of the pack? Here are some tips:

1. Determine the MSP’s competency level and end-to-end support capabilities

Similar to a good surgeon, the MSP should have the credentials to validate its competency at migrating, hosting, and operating SAP HANA. The vendor should have attained the necessary SAP and industry certifications. On top of that, validate that the vendor has the deep in-house talent that are both experienced and certified with the necessary SAP technical skills to provide end-to-end support. It is important that the MSP has the expertise in-house so that the knowledge and skills to support you are maintained within the organization.

2. Ensure the proposed HANA design is aligned with SAP’s best practices

To avoid experiencing unnecessary problems with your mission-critical SAP HANA production systems, you need to evaluate the comprehensiveness of the MSP’s proposed SAP HANA system design.  Your checklist should focus on six design specifications – namely certified hardware, data center, continuity, performance, security, and integration interfaces. These criteria are critical for making sure that the proposed design is supported by SAP, have single point of failure resilience and meets the demands of your mission-critical enterprise system.

3. Make sure the MSP knows what it is doing

In order to ensure a smooth transition to SAP HANA, the chosen MSP needs to have a proven SAP HANA migration methodology for successful migrations as well as operations. This means that it should be able to share with you clearly defined migration phases, tools, deliverables, task lists, ITIL aligned processes, and client references.

4. Pay attention to the MSP’s track record and SLAs

Aside from being SAP-certified, the MSP also needs to demonstrate its trustworthiness. Check if the MSP has a track record of migrating, hosting, and operating SAP HANA environments, with strong references from SAP HANA customers.

In terms of the service-level agreement (SLA), pay attention to the hours of service covered, whether it includes global support and which geographical regions are the support centers. Make sure it is able to provide various levels of SAP application availability—whether it’s 99.5 percent, 99.7 percent, or 99.9 percent uptime. Find out if any disaster recovery options, in-country, in-region, or intercontinental, can be offered.

The MSP also needs to maintain and uphold the SLA, especially in terms of uptime and resolution times. In the event that the MSP falls short, make sure you are aware of how you will be compensated. While some providers will pay a penalty fee, others might provide service credits.

These four tips will serve as guideposts in your quest for the right MSP for your SAP HANA deployment. Migrating and operating the SAP HANA platform is a monumental task requiring significant investment. Hence, it’s essential to know what to look out for in a MSP to ensure the smooth transition and operation of SAP HANA.

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