The number of years experience makes a big difference in performing Basis Administration job. Unfortunately a lot of customers consider only how long it takes to resolve an issue after identifying the cause. They don’t consider who identified the cause, what his/her background is, what skill set was needed to identify the cause etc. Fixing that issue could be as simple as checking or unchecking a button. And it might take less than a few minutes regardless of who fixes it. You may not-in most cases – need an experienced person to fix it. As a result, the customer-Technical Team lead in some cases-would focus on documenting the issue/resolution assuming the similar error message in future would require the same resolution. They may be correct in most cases; however someone would still need to identify the cause and make sure the cause is the same.
Let us discuss who could be considered an Ideal Basis Administrator. See the diagram below:
A person with no experience begins her career as Basis Administrator. At this point, her contribution to the community is negative meaning she relies a lot on SAP forums, Notes, SAP Support, Google, other teams/team members, Education/Training etc to perform her job. As years go-by, her knowledge grows and she starts becoming more and more confident, her reliance on community becomes less and less, she even may start contributing to it.
At some point, she would have to learn ABAP/Programming/Scripting, DB, OS, SAN etc to become an expert. Without this knowledge, she wouldn’t be able to address performance or upgrade/install issues in a timely manner. Even in those organizations where DB is administrated by separate groups, DB knowledge is critical to communicate DB related issues to DBA group. As an example, recently I worked on UDConnect(Oracle/Solaris) issue for DATACOM DB on z/OS. I’m not familiar with DATACOM (weak in z/OS) so that issue took more than 3-4 months to identify the cause. The primary delay contributor was: I didn’t understand DATACOM; DATACOM DBAs didn’t understand SAP-BW/UDCONNECT. Had I known DATACOM, it wouldn’t have taken more than a few days.
Due to Separation of Duties, I don’t believe it is going to be easy for anyone starting as SAP Basis Administrator to work on other layers. This is why I believe anyone new to IT should not consider beginning their career as SAP Basis Administrators; rather focus on gaining knowledge on other layers first and then move to Basis area.
A few comments on the diagram above:
1) When a person begins her career, she relies a lot on Community. Her practical knowledge is ~0.
2) Personally I wouldn’t recommend someone beginning her career in Basis unless she makes sure that she could learn other layers by “performing the tasks”. This is almost impossible requirement to meet due to separation of duties. IMO, theoretical knowledge is not same as practical experience. However theoretical knowledge would definitely speed up gaining practical experience.
3) The sequence(SAP->DB->OS->SAN) shown above is for illustrative purposes only. Anyone with DB or OS or SAN knowledge is a good candidate to begin Basis career provided she would have an aptitude and opportunity to learn other layers by practicing.
4) Application means “knowledge of applications such as BW, CRM, PI etc.”.