Simplifying SAP system management


Hands up if you’ve struggled to find good Basis consultants in the past year? Or if your technical consultants spend so much time doing day-to-day management that they can’t prepare your systems for the deluge of innovation SAP is sending down the line? syslink has recently brought its Xandria solution to Australia to help SAP customers overcome these challenges.

The syslink story

syslink began life in 2000 in Switzerland, emerging from Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ outsourcing business to set up shop as an independent provider of SAP hosting and outsourcing services. Managing a growing portfolio of SAP systems for customers, syslink quickly realised that they couldn’t simply keep hiring more technical consultants – the business couldn’t scale well, and the talent simply wasn’t available.

At the time, they couldn’t find a tool in the market that would effectively monitor the day-to-day operations of their customer systems – so like all good IT companies, they decided to build their own.

The result was syslink Xandria – a system management application focused on enterprise-grade SAP solutions and large-scale database environment. It uses preventative monitoring techniques such as trend analysis and forecasting in order to detect potential problems early and allow staff to react quickly.

Not only did syslink use Xandria internally – enabling the business to take on the management of thousands of customer SAP systems – but in 2005, the company released it into the market as a stand-alone product. Over the last 10 years, Xandria has been sold to hundreds of customers across Western Europe and Asia, including Benelux ICT service provider Getronics, which manages 200 SAP systems; BMW Germany with more then 200 SAP systems; and Siemens Business Services (now ATOS), which manages more then 100 systems around the globe from Shanghai and South Africa to Germany.

syslink brings Xandria to ANZ

With the Australian market very mature in terms of SAP’s penetration, and its reputation for being a strong adopter of the vendor’s new innovations, syslink decided the time was ripe to offer Xandria to Australian and New Zealand customers.

The tight market for SAP skills means many SAP customers need to consider other options to make routine management more efficient.

Harrie van Duijnhoven, VP for Asia Pacific, who together with national sales director Brian Mac Guinness, is spearheading the company’s push into ANZ, said the tool is mature, proven, and needs practically no implementation effort.

“We have a unique offering by being out of the box – so in the first week, customers are fully operational, and they benefit from the daily operations expertise that is built into our product from our own real-life experience using the product to monitor thousands of SAP systems,” says van Duijnhoven.”We focus on making your life easier, improving the quality of your system with fewer people, and it’s an enormous cost-saving factor.”

Available on a subscription basis or by licence purchase, Xandria can be hosted by syslink or installed on-premise, and doesn’t require any project funds – either for implementation or during the lifetime of the product. Xandria works well alongside SAP Solution Manager (the product is fully certified by SAP), covering all the aspects of daily system management that Solution Manager doesn’t do out of the box.

Typically, syslink works with three types of customers, van Duijnhoven says: small and medium SAP customers, large enterprises and SAP service providers.

While small customers don’t necessarily have a very complex SAP landscape, they also don’t usually have Basis consultant or Solution Manager specialists on staff.

“They have an independent consultant coming into their office once or twice a month to do troubleshooting, but they have no visibility on how the system is running day-to-day, so they’re basically sailing blind,” van Duijnhoven says.

Via its subscription model, syslink can provide access to Xandria monitoring for a very low cost of entry.

“We give them visibility on how their SAP system is running. They don’t have to call their consultant whenever they have a problem – they can actually use the output of our software to be more proactive,” he says.

Given the company’s heritage, it is no surprise that SAP service providers are an important customer group for syslink. van Duijnhoven says by using Xandria with their customers, SAP partners can tackle the dilemma of achieving growth in a resource-poor market.

“For example, we are working with a service provider currently providing services for many of the government agencies. Half of the work the team does, they don’t want to do it – it’s repetitive work, and it’s work that could be automated,” he says.

“They simply can’t increase the size of the team, because they can’t find qualified consultants. Now, using Xandria, they have the potential to grow two, three, eight times bigger with the same number of consultants, because it’s highly scalable.

Service providers may also find themselves in higher demand for new SAP technologies.

“Resources may be more constrained because all these technical people are going to be involved in projects implementing HANA. What about our old system in the transition period? What are the best practices for system management when implementing HANA? These are all areas we can help them with,” van Duijnhoven says.

Reaping the benefits

Customers who have employed Xandria for management of their SAP environments have seen significant reductions in cost.

“IBM in Germany is our biggest customer, and they have made cost savings of millions of euros a year,” van Duijnhoven says.

Customers also see increased job satisfaction amongst technical teams, because they are relieved of the burden of what are critically important but dull and repetitive tasks. This then means Basis consultant can focus on improvement projects, resulting in increased quality of operations.

“We are not taking over the jobs of Basis consultants and we are not taking over their SAP systems, but we make it easy for them by making visible where they have to improve and finding problems before they even become problems,” van Duijnhoven says.

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding – and having built their own company’s success on Xandria, syslink hopes to share the same benefits with Australian customers.

“Without the product, we could not be the company we are today. I always say Switzerland is the best way to show it, because they are managing thousands of SAP systems, and it is the most stress-free office I have ever seen. Thanks to Xandria, the Syslink consultants are in full control and can enjoy their cup of coffee.”

This article is sponsored by syslink Australia. For more information about Xandria and how syslink can assist with your SAP system management, click here.

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