What Is SAP Basis and What Do SAP Administrators Do?

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 9 July 2022

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An increasing number of companies across the world are adopting SAP to run their businesses. Governing all SAP applications and systems is SAP Basis, a common administrative platform for handling all SAP-based applications. Understanding the basics of Basis, including its roles and responsibilities, can help young professionals explore a promising career in the field of SAP. In this article, we help you understand the fundamentals of Basis, the differences between some common SAP terminologies and the various roles and certifications available under Basis.

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What is SAP Basis?

SAP Basis is an administrative platform that works as an operating system for SAP and ABAP applications. It is the backbone for the entire SAP landscape and ensures that all systems in the environment are working at their optimal capacity. SAP stands for Systems, Applications & Products in Data Processing while BASIS stands for Business Application Software Integrated Solution. Basis administrators are involved in maintenance, system upgrade, setting up of system jobs, monitoring and analysing system logs and other administrative activities.

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Differences between Basis, SAP HANA, SAP Security and SAP ABAP

HANA stands for High-Performance Analytic Appliance. SAP HANA is a database developed by SAP that features an in-memory architecture. The in-memory architecture allows for faster extraction of information compared to traditional hard-drive storage. Newer versions of SAP HANA leverage technologies, like Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, for more advanced capabilities. SAP applications work best with the SAP HANA database, but they can work on other database systems as well. Basis is an administrative platform for all SAP environments, from SAP R/3 to the latest SAP S/4HANA. Basis ensures the smooth running of the entire SAP landscape.

ABAP stands for Advanced Business Application Programming. It is a programming language that is used by SAP to develop most of its applications. ABAP programs run on SAP's Netweaver ABAP application server, which is monitored and administered in Basis. ABAP programmers and developers customize SAP applications to suit various business requirements. SAP Security focuses on internal security and access rights for users. Initially, a subset of Basis, it has evolved into a full-fledged role considering complex business rules for data access. SAP Security ensures that access rules are compliant and in line with federal laws and regulations.

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What do SAP administrators do?

SAP administrators do everything to ensure that the SAP environment is running at its optimal capacity. They monitor and troubleshoot various SAP components and systems, and ensure that all modules communicate properly with each other. SAP admins are also involved in configuring the environment to meet various user needs. A SAP admin may do anything from the simplest administrative tasks to highly complex ones. Below are the important tasks and responsibilities carried out by SAP administrators:

Installation of SAP database and applications

SAP administrators are responsible for the planning, preparation and installation of SAP applications onto an organisation's servers. They help monitor and troubleshoot performance and start-up issues, customize settings or take care of software logistics in the SAP landscape. In short, they take care of installing, arranging and maintaining all SAP-related components. SAP admins also work to ensure that the platform is running at its optimal capacity and that all modules are communicating effectively with each other as needed.

Execution of SAP operational tasks

SAP admins are involved in day-to-day operational tasks occurring in the SAP environment. This may include tasks like setup and configuration, error handling, troubleshooting, object transport, problem resolution, load balancing and performance tuning. Admins perform additional tasks, like scheduling and overseeing the backup and restoration processes of SAP systems. They are also involved in creating, testing and planning disaster recovery with respect to SAP servers.

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Technical support and administration

Supporting and troubleshooting SAP systems is an important task for SAP admins. Apart from taking care of operational tasks, SAP admins configure, monitor and tune the SAP environment. They take care of scheduling and running the TMS, examining technical infrastructure components and aspects related to transport and administration. SAP administrators are often problem solvers at the workplace and perform a lot of troubleshooting activities.

Performance monitoring of SAP systems

Performance tuning is an important activity in SAP to ensure reduced delays and increased productivity. Basis admins monitor SAP systems so that they are optimally tuned and running to the best of their capabilities. Basic tuning tasks include optimizing system parameters, verifying workload distribution, hardware sizing and I/O balancing. Monitoring also checks for security breaches and breakdowns to maintain integrity within the SAP environment. Admins establish various standards, evaluate enhancements and upgrade and implement performance monitoring processes across systems.

Management of roles and profiles

SAP administrators are involved in creating, assigning and managing SAP user roles and profiles. These roles and profiles are used to assign different levels of authorization and access to end users. End users in the SAP environment can access various modules and information depending upon the roles they are assigned. Thus, they are able to access only those modules and functions that are relevant to the work they perform. This kind of authorization across the organization enables users to access data and perform transactions in a secure and legally compliant manner.

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What skills do SAP administrators need?

SAP Basis administrators dabble in a variety of complex technical tasks, from troubleshooting and maintenance to documentation and programming. Given the nature of their jobs, they require a wide range of skills to perform their duties diligently. SAP admins usually handle multiple activities simultaneously, and they can highly benefit from expertise in relevant skills. Explore the required education levels, important hard skills and useful soft skills that SAP administrators need to have:

Technical skills

Administrators are required to be proficient in software troubleshooting practices to help them diagnose issues and provide appropriate resolutions. They are also required to be proficient in performing SAP upgrades, installations and maintenance-related tasks. They are expected to have an end-user focused approach during the implementation of various process improvements. Experience with SAP tools like SAP NetWeaver, SAP Solution Manager 7.2 or above, JAVA system administration and ABAP programming come highly recommended for SAP admins. They may also be involved in documentation, and related experience can also be helpful.

Basis professionals need to be proficient in Operating systems, Databases and SAP application management and troubleshooting. A moderate level of infrastructure-related knowledge, such as hardware, data centres, network, VM, OS, Cloud etc., is essential. Experience with SAP technical components, SAP cloud platform, NetWeaver, SAP business object and other SAP technical components is also considered valuable in this profession. As a SAP administrator, one need not be an expert with every administrative activity in Basis. Strong expertise with selected skills can help one make significant progress in a career in SAP.

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Soft skills

SAP administrators spend a major portion of their time communicating with the higher management, clients, end users and managers. It is important that they have good communication skills for easy and effective communication with others. Good listening skills will help Basis professionals accurately understand and process complex business requirements. Considering the fact that SAP admins spend a majority of their time troubleshooting and fixing issues, a keen sense of detail and an analytical mind are also top skills to have in this profession. In addition, leadership skills can help a SAP administrator delegate tasks and responsibilities effectively.

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Required education

SAP administrators are generally required to have a bachelor's degree in computer science or IT, engineering or a related field. Professionals with extensive software experience may also be considered for this position. SAP offers several levels of technical certifications in SAP administration. These certifications can be directly obtained from SAP or from other vendors. It is not mandatory to be certified in Basis, but having one can help you further your career and skill set. Since SAP is fast evolving, it is important that Basis professionals constantly improve their skills and knowledge through continuous learning, workshops and seminars.

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