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Back to Basis

After reading Otto’s “Want to switch to SAP consultancy” I decided to expand on the Basis side of it…

So what are the basic skills you need before you consider a career as a SAP Technical Consultant or as so called “Basis guy”…?

As SAP runs on almost anything (Check PAM) you can assume that basic knowledge of MS Windows, UNIX, Linux, AIX, etc… is expected, add to that the fact that you can use the DB of your choice (or the Customer choice), the minimum knowledge of Oracle, MSSQL, MaxDB, DB2/DB6 is important. Also take into account Clustered Environments, Virtualization, Cloud Computing and any other variation/mutation coming in the future. As Forrest Gump used to say “Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get”, so you better be prepared!

Also you need to know all about the different systems ECC, BI, PI, SRM, CRM, EP, Content Repositories, Middleware, Java Engines, Web Dispatchers, SAP Routers, you name it… their history, the way they interact with each other and their integration procedures.

Of course, you will also need a bit of networking, routing and security. This takes you into authorizations which is a grey area – big corporations employ people especially for it but in small companies it is usually a basis task (sometimes with mixed results but this is material for another blog).

Preventive maintenance is also a big part of the job, planning and implementations of Support Package Stacks, Enhancement Packages, System and Database upgrades, migrations, conversions, etc…

So you think that’s it?

Nope! …normal day to day jobs also include monitoring daily checks, availability, performance tuning, troubleshooting, OS/DB checks, interaction with 3rd party software, etc…

I’m pretty sure there are lots of other things I’m leaving out but the point is that even though your task as a ‘basis guy’ can be expansive, you don’t need to know everything from the very beginning. That said, good technical background is an advantage and probably the most common stumbling block for “freshers.”

Good candidates are usually those that come with an IT background along with previous experience as an IT/DB Admin and a bit of ‘geek’ flowing through their veins! Anyone involved in basis will also need to be able to adapt to the keep up with the fast pace at which technology evolves.

Another thing that evolves quickly is the way that companies engage with technical consultants. Not so long ago most SAP customers would have a full in-house team to implement, maintain and develop their systems. These days the trend is to have a strong technical lead/architect in-house to maintain ownership of the landscape and outsource some of the tasks to big support companies to streamline resources. Same with implementations, they get a dream team to deploy the solutions and then outsource the maintenance. I must admit I miss the old days… don’t you?

So, what’s out there for you?

Lots… but you have to work for it! Some are lucky enough to work their way to a “fresher” basis position, they get the right training and sit beside an experienced colleague who will help them get up to speed. After reading so many threads it seems like not everybody faces the same learning curve however, some consulting companies (I like to believe it’s only a minority) seem to throw people without proper training/experience directly into customer sites and leave them to fend for themselves, which I think is unfair, both to the consultant and the customer. In any case, the best tool you have is your ability to read, research and take advantage of the resources around you, believe me; no one will do it for you! And this is the key to success…

I hope this gives you a quick overview of the tasks related to the job and helps you decide if this is the right path for you.

Like to hear your comments…

70 Comments
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  • Like the way you have put everything in such a simple and companct manner.
    Guys all this things may seem to simple but at times it gets as complex as ti can.

    Well one major part of the job you forgot is Upgrade. Aother things to mention is Hardware sizing, solution manager, list goes on 🙂

    • Yes, the list is pretty long.

      Complexity can be found on each task it all swings around requirements vs. experience  😀

      Regards
      Juan

      • Hello Sir,

        Recently I completed my Sap Basis course & going for Sap Grc Security. But there is a confusion that whether should I understand the concept of Sap Security,because I am new in sap,and if we talk about the job point of view which is good  sap basis or sap security as a fresher?

        Plz reply

        sunil

  • Yes, the list is pretty long, I compare this to a Medical career, you have to keep your pace with technology, else you will fall from the wave.

    It is unfair as you said for freshers and clients that most consulting companies (only speaking in my country) just send freshers by themselves to client projects telling the client that this are “expert consultants” (of course in the fares looks like)but they just took a SAP training in the best case.

    As you wrote, the best advice for all them is to get used to read SAP documents, notes and forums like this, I have seem many freshers that don´t like to read or search and eventually they don’t keep up to what is expected from them and quit the SAP world.

    • Hi Alberto,

      Yes, its very frustraiting for a trainee to be  left exposed… I guess consulting companies should tight their controls to either ensure that the consultant has the knowledge or assign someone to mentor them.

      I always believed that if you don’t like what you’re doing you should be doing something else.

      Juan

        • Ahhh… certainly, nothing like seen the sweat running down their faces 😈 , even thought is a good way to put push a consultant to research and use their tools, is not fair on the customer and can damage the reputation of the consulting firm.

          • Well I don’t mean t send in rank rookies in without any mentor whatsoever .. But the rookies unless they sweat it out on their own (and for that you get leave them on their own as much as possible) they can’t be good future day  consultants..Have a mentor as a backup/last resort but the rookies should be told to try doing a lot of stuff on their own.Also complexity of what they are assigned can’t be same as a experience con but it has to be something to make them sweat :-)… C’mon the same happened to probably most of us 🙂

            The Empire has to strike back 🙂

          • Certainly….Ahhh, I still remember facing my first RSPOR_SETUP and spending hours of pandemonium reading to integrate BI to a portal. From that point of view I completely agree with you, nothing like a good challenge to build a consultant.

  • I have added this cool blog to the “follow-up section” to the original blog:
    The specified item was not found.
    Thank you, Juan
  • Hi,

    SAP BASIS is really a good carrier choice depending upon your interest.

    Don’t be afraid to take challenges because that challenges will teach you and gain your experience. If you are a fresher and belong to any consultancy then try to learn from your colleague and explore yourself.

    In BASIS learning habit will always helps you in your future, All the best!!!!!

    Regards,

    Vinay Shrimali

  • Juan, once again you hit a target right at the center. Good article!

    One thing you need to add is a very important aspect of being successful in a SAP Basis career (or any career, for that manner):

    Knowledge sharing!

    Don’t be afraid to share what you know, what you learn along the way, etc. with your SAP Basis colleagues, friends and contacts or even in forums and sites like SCN and others.

    You’ll soon see that the knowledge will get back to you, which will have you more prepared and discovering new things along the way.

    That’s one of the reasons I love my job as a SAP Basis and why I love SCN and similar websites!

    Keep up the good work!

    • Certainly Antonio, You have no idea how many times I get in front of a problem that I am already familiar with only because of SCN. I must have read  tens of thousends of threads (well based on the fact I have more than 10,000 posts myself) and learned a bit with each one of them. So Yes, you give, you get!

      Regards, Juan

  • In any case, the best tool you have is your ability to read, research and take advantage of the resources around you, believe me; no one will do it for you! And this is the key to success…

    A lot resides in this,  but this is not specific to SAP. I mean, this is all about IT.

    IT requires you to keep the pace with all this new technology always coming up.

    In the case of SAP, and due to all the platforms combinations it can be ran on, it is of course emphasized.

    I use to say : “If you can’t stand taking a new look at your knowledge, then go for an accountant position !! ”  😉

    Still, being challenged is what makes the job interesting !

  • Hi juan,

    thanks for the good article u wrote

    it is very helpful and edifying for the like of us as “beginners”… I liked it very much and its worth reading..!!! Infact the whole blog…

    much appreciated

  • Hi Juan,

    This is my first article to read in SCN as I’m a new member for this forum. It’s nice to read this article as a person who wishes to have a track change into SAP Basis. It gives a complete overview that is required for me at this moment 🙂

  • Hi everyone,

    am preparing for my Sap BASIS certificate and i would appreciate it if you guys can guide me (or provide if possible) to some study materials to help me boost my preparation.

    thanks in advance for all your replies

    Best Regards,

    Sadrack

  • Juan,

    Nice blog, there is so much of it under the BASIS umbrella, but you put it together perfecto

    And then there is also, Planning/ Architecture Design of the Landscape etc, but i guess that would find its place under advanced Basis skills.

    Also somewhere here on SCN itself, I read that, to really do outstandingly good in and around Basis, you need to have a audacious trouble-shooting attitude in your veins. It might hurt your head at times 😥 , but it pays of well to kill the germ on time and follow through 😳

    Looking forward to your experiences/insight with a similar blog on ‘Advanced Basis’, ‘SAP Landscape Architectures’ and likewise some advanced topics, if you can spare some time 😏

    Regards,

    Akshay.

    • Hi Akshay,

      Thanks for your comments.

      The blog is now a few years old and certainly would benefit from a refresh, I might look into putting together a updated version.

      Regards, Juan

  • Hi Juan,

    Really , you have tracked out most of all the basic challenges of a BASIS expert that needs to be tackled smoothly to be a BASIS PRO. I also have started my career in SAP BASIS as a fresher under the guidance of an SAP BASIS consultant. From bottom of my heart, I realize how your words match the career path of each and every BASIS guy..

    Cheers,

    Nilutpal

  • Hi all

    Could really use some advice/direction.

    I am thinking of going into SAP Basis, I am very interested in the type of work in SAP Basis, it seems very similar to Systems Administration/OS administration the latter an area which I am very much interested in as well.

    I have a degree in Business and a major in IT, and I am currently working in an organisation which uses SAP working specifically and primarily with the system in the Level 1 Support Team .So hence while I do get to troubleshoot basic SAP issues users of the system encounter, the more advanced problems are normally escalated to the higher teams to resolve.

    Long story short, I was interested in doing courses in SAP BASIS but I read here that If I do not have experience with SAP Basis or as a System/OS admin It’s not going to help.

    Hence does this mean I need to get into System/OS administration first? Is there any certification that can help me do that? Would this mean I would have to start off in Level 1 IT support?

    any advice would be appreciated

    Thank you

    • Hi Saraph,

      Well you are already one step ahead of most people, you have a job working with SAP software regardless of the fact that is at 1st level support… SAP Basis is not for everyone, you need to first realize if Basis appeal to you and your experience. If you don’t have the technical background it might be a steep learning curve that might take you some time to overcome. If you are working with users at some level you might find a taste for Security and Authorizations instead. Or if your background is in business then you might find yourself more comfortable as a functional consultant, all of those are valid options for you to explore.

      Regards, Juan

      • Hi Juan

        Thank you for the reply

        i’m not sure what to do , I would love to get into basis but If I certification is not the answer should I look into getting more qualifications in System/OS administration first?

        Computer troubleshooting, maintaining systems things like that I love doing but apart from my IT Major and experience within supporting SAP systems thats all I have. I know Basis is not just tasks like this but it appeals to me given the type of work performed and given I currently work with the SAP System.

        Also out of curiosity when you speak of Security and Authorizations do you mean SAP GRC? What does this involve? again just want to find out.. want to consider all options.

        Thanks

    • Hi Seraph,

      Juan has already covered everything.

      I got intrested while reading your comment and thought that I would add mine as well.

      I sense that you like technical stuff and I mean hard-core technical as in getting level-3 issues and resolving them

      You are absolutely right about diving in Basis, its either you are a Basis person or you are not and to become one unfortunately there are very few limited ways i.e.

      1) You are OS/DB Admin in your organization and you get moved up to SAP Basis role during new SAP Implementation within your workplace

      2) You start afresh right after education and the organization inducts and absorbs you (Very rare few and fortunate cases)

      3) You do not have any Basis/IT background what so ever and try to dive-in using Basis trainings/certifcations (Very few cases and most hardest way to get through)

      Certifications alone will not help you become a Basis Technology consultant.

      On the other hand, Solid Basis work experience and on top of that certifications will/can really take you places

      So I hope, you must have figured it out.

      Good thing, you have  IT experience & SAP work experience. You can totally use it to your advantage.

      However, if you have no BASIS experience you should get started at least with the fundamentals & all and try to lookout for an oppurtunity where in you can get in the right group and push your career goal further.

      As you also have a Business degree you can also aim for technology management or likewise, but if you want to do hard-core technical, Basis is it. Its more than big and thrilling if you are in it with both feets.

      All the best

      Additionally, do check these wonderful blogs by Thomas Dulaney as well, if you haven’t yet=>

      1) FAQ for SAP NetWeaver Admin (SAP Basis) Careers

      2) FAQ: What is the best SAP module for me?

      3) FAQ: Different Career Paths in SAP

      4) FAQ: Middle and Late SAP Career Paths

      -Akshay

      • Hi

        Thank you for the reply

        i’m not sure what to do , I would love to get into basis but If I certification is not the answer should I look into getting more qualifications in System/OS administration first?

        Computer troubleshooting, maintaining systems things like that I love doing but apart from my IT Major and experience within supporting SAP systems thats all I have. I know Basis is not just tasks like this but it appeals to me given the type of work performed and given I currently work with the SAP System.

        I guess, any suggestions would be appreciated..

  • Im a fresher with electronics and communication degree, Since, 2 years im working as an engineer in an infrastructure company as a project coordinator. Now, i am not interested in this field which is not at all related to my education. Im interested to learn SAP BASIS.

    Could anyone pls suggest/advices me about SAP BASIS job opportunities and pros and cons. What is the minimum knowledge to start career in SAP Basis.

    Regards,

    Mahesh

    • Mahesh,

      Have you read above few comments, if not Please read it will help you understand about SAP BASIS.

      Akshay Gupta Aug 29, 2013 2:21 PM (in response to Seraph Za)

       

      You are absolutely right about diving in Basis, its either you are a Basis person or you are not and to become one unfortunately there are very few limited ways i.e.

      1) You are OS/DB Admin in your organization and you get moved up to SAP Basis role during new SAP Implementation within your workplace

      2) You start afresh right after education and the organization inducts and absorbs you (Very rare few and fortunate cases)

      3) You do not have any Basis/IT background what so ever and try to dive-in using Basis trainings/certifcations (Very few cases and most hardest way to get through)

      Certifications alone will not help you become a Basis Technology consultant.

      On the other hand, Solid Basis work experience and on top of that certifications will/can really take you places

      So I hope, you must have figured it out.

      Good thing, you have  IT experience & SAP work experience. You can totally use it to your advantage.

      However, if you have no BASIS experience you should get started at least with the fundamentals & all and try to lookout for an oppurtunity where in you can get in the right group and push your career goal further.

      As you also have a Business degree you can also aim for technology management or likewise, but if you want to do hard-core technical, Basis is it. Its more than big and thrilling if you are in it with both feets.

      All the best

      Additionally, do check these wonderful blogs by Thomas Dulaney as well, if you haven’t yet=>

      1) FAQ for SAP NetWeaver Admin (SAP Basis) Careers

      2) FAQ: What is the best SAP module for me?

      3) FAQ: Different Career Paths in SAP

      4) FAQ: Middle and Late SAP Career Paths

      -Akshay

      • Dear Mr.Akshay,

        I have read above comments, but my query is with this qualification and 3 years of non useful experience can i get into SAP Basis.

        • Hi Mahesh,

          I don’t want to mislead or demotivate you by any means.

          But as you must have understood by know that how narrow are the options of getting in to Basis.

          If you feel Basis is your calling and you really want to get into it, I will suggest:

          1) You did not mention if you have any SAP experience? If not, find ways to get any SAP experience that you can get your hands-on even if its non-Basis. You got to have the basic SAP understanding first at least and some SAP experience is imp.

          2) Most importantly try to fit your self in some OS/DB Administrator role or make a career switch to it, if possible. Initial certifications could help you get started as OS/DB admin, as an option. Once you have good OS/DB admin, there you have good chances to break in.

          3) As you can understand, this is not going to be a very straight forward and easy journey, but if you are willing to have it, you will have to hustle through it.

          Hope it helps now.

          P.S.- In any career, you should not set limits and expectations out of your career, there are never set standards/observations to get you where you want to. First you will have to figure out your interest, then decide what is to be done and then finally go after it with everything you got and never quit. You will eventually get it.

          For more queries, please use space Career Center

          -Akshay

  • Dear Juan,

         Thank you very much,as a fresher this info is very useful to me.

    I’m a B.Tech Graduate Fresher and having 5months experience in  ABAP . My company providing BASIS training for me,i also involved in a up-gradation project(ecc 5.0 to ecc6 ehp6) as a project.coordinator. I want to learn Networking also.which networking courses(EX: Redhat , ccna, etc) is useful(support) to a basis consultant .Please clarify Please help me .

    Thanks & Regards ,

    Siva.

    • Any course will have to be complemented with practical experience… for example Cisco Networking Academy is quite a comprehensive course but it will certainly help your comprehension of your landscape. You could also look into a more basic CompTIA Network+ course it will be easier to justify. Now Redhat is not a networking technology… Redhat is a flavor (and a very popular one) of Linux.

      The important thing is to create your own career path and complement it with relevant education.

      Regards, Juan

  • Nice article, thanks.

    Dont forget to mention the late nights, unsociable hours and weekend working involved as nobody likes a production system down in the middle of the day just because we want do a bit of database or kernel patching.

  • Dear Juan,

    Can you please tel me the difference between SAP Basis administrator and SAP Netweaver administrator. Please tel me which will have good job opportunities.

    Regards,

    • Hi MaheshBabu,

      SAP Basis is more used because it is a term older, however, SAP Netweaver administrator is a rigth name or it should be for new SAP solutions administrator.

      Juan is rigth in relation of job will be the same activities and responsabilities..

      Juan…Excellent Blog

      Tks.

      • Thanks,

        To be precise, in the old times a Basis consultant will take care of the SAP_BASIS component (that still exist, see SPAM) which was indeed the base module of SAP R/3 (hence the name BASIS), all other components relied and integrated with it.

        Now a days the job include many other areas, but in any case I believe the terminology is still very relevant and probably will be for many years to come.

        Juan

  • Any idea what will become of the role ‘BC Admin / Netweaver Admin’ in a few years, especially if SAP is aiming to get most of their new solutions in the cloud?

  • Hi Juan,

    i must say you have written good article here one will know what is basis and how it works.

    i’m into SAP recruitment for 6 years from now. I have Technical background as i hold Bachelors Degree in IT. i have taken training on Oracle DBA when i was student and have some OS knowledge like Window, unix, linux.

    i want to start my Career in SAP Basis where should i start from ? can you please help me out and any guidance is highly appreciated..

    Best regards

    Syed

    • Hi Juan ,

      This an Excellent article .

      It has been 8 years since i am into SAP Basis and consider myself lucky  to have been mentored and trained in my Fresher days .

      Thanks ,

      Manu

  • Dear Juan,

    even though your article was written 5 years ago, nothing changed in the life of a basis guy. Nowadays another bunch of work is on top of the basis guy: SAP HANA and S/4 HANA.

    This will change the way of working with SAP-software dramatically, well to be honest, over the next 10 years the change will happen.

    As you mentioned, a SAP basis guy has to learn every day, and exactly this is what a good basis guy is going to be: Never stop learning (by reading and doing)!

    I’m doing basis stuff since more than 20 years and that’s in fact the most important thing I learned.

    I wish all the basis guys out there in the datacenters all the best and please keep to be somehow a geek!

    Enjoy every day you may work with SAP software. Sometimes it is no fun, but in the end you feel and see what you have achieved.

    Rolling on in SAP,

    Robert

  • are there any differences between a system admin of older version and a of SAP HANA, I think even Mr. Robert could answer as you have more than 20 years of experience and you have faced every versions ..!!!

    • Yes, in fact there are some big differences. In the old days, the database was just the persistent layer of the data, which had to be stored. As a database admin, you just had to have a look that the database is running in an optimal way. And then you had the SAP Basis stuff, taking care about patches, notes and release upgrades. Sometimes performance issues or other issues.

      Now with SAP HANA the database is also a kind of an application layer, as a lot of functions are created and executed in the database. So now the database is not a container somewhere, now as a database administrator you have to work closely together with the application developers.

      That’s a big difference.

  • All SAP Project managers and recruiter’s should go through this nice blog to understand complexity and list of activities a SAP Basis guy have to perform.. 😉

  • Most of the problems that may rise must be solved by basis guy… and the funny thing is that some of the trace logs pointing please contact your system/basis administrator. haha