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What happens in the day to day life of a SAP BASIS person?
former SAP Basis Consultant at SAP (2015-2019)
Mostly, when you start off as a fresher in SAP Basis, you would be deployed into support work. The work you do here differs from client to client. I supported two clients, one for US & one for India.
For the US based client, it was just monitoring work. Support by default comes with rotational shifts(!!), including night shifts too. Your day-to-day job would require you to monitor the systems, fix live administrative issues. Workloads usually differ. Mostly on month-ends, quarter ends & year ends, the load is heavy. You are expected to fix more issues & keep the performance of the system glitch free.
About the Indian client, below is my experience, which I still cherish & would do for my lifetime!
This Indian client was a small project where I was the ONLY Basis consultant & was deployed at their location (Indian on-site . Had to take care of SAP Security too. Not just that, I was expected to look after DB & some part of OS as well. Trust me, it was a humongous challenge when I started and was only 6 months experienced in Basis.
So it all went well & I learnt a LOT of things in a month. The second month comes. It was a month-end where you have ALL the users working in full enthu to get their work done & achieve their monthly target. Like the Warehouse goods inward & outward, the Finance guys to get their monthly reports ready, the Sales guys running reports to fetch the sales data & if you had connected your SAP systems to your stores, then expect load from billing too.
It was such a busy month-end, as usual & all of a sudden, I get calls from our Warehouses all over India saying the system is misbehaving & people are yelling, panicking to fix the issue. I was puzzled. In minutes, I had my client Manager meeting me, to check what was wrong. I checked & was shocked to know that an important table with millions of entries went missing. Yes, MISSING!!
Any report you run, any inward or outward billing you do, threw an error & it was as good as your Production system being down. I mean, I was just 6 month old Basis consultant! What would you expect me to do?! It was 5.30 in the evening. I immediately raised this to SAP. Hoping they would come back. Meanwhile I was doing the RCA and figured one of the tables got deleted. Clueless! In an hour, SAP called us from US & assured they were on it!
This was when I realized what business loss means. Usually during month-ends, we have goods going in & out of warehouses in large quantities. Because of the deleted table, Warehouse billing did not happen and dozens of lorries were standing outside our warehouses. Like, literally! They kept calling us as to when would the issue get fixed because the goods had to leave to vendors & stores who have already made the payment! Our Business heads were answerable to them & they had no clue what was going on. To my shock, I discovered that the table was deleted by my user ID! Terrified, I did not tell my client yet!
That’s it! I was sure they would find it out soon & I thought that was the end of my career! However, I was so damn sure that I did not do anything wrong. So after few hours, SAP came back to us saying what happened. Luckily the deleted table had a renamed copy. This was around 12.00 AM.
In the entire office, it was just the security, me & my client Manager, CIO sitting behind me & tracking the updates! 😀 While I was coordinating with SAP to fix the issue, the three of us were given a deadline of 7.00 AM in the next morning to fix this issue, by the business heads. If not, there might be very serious consequences because it was freaking month end & we discovered it might incur a loss of whopping 3 crore INR!!
I was composed, took help from Google, w3schools (I forgot all the SQL commands! :P) & the SAP’s representative, did a lot of workaround & finally, we by 6.15 AM, I restored the deleted table!! After testing from our end, we informed all the warehouses & they tested and confirmed that it was fine too. I later discovered that my user ID was used to test something by someone else & it had deleted the table; it was not me who deleted it & immediately reported to my client
I still think, I was just 45 minutes away from being fired!
So yes, the bottom line is that Basis guys in Support are just poor fellows, whose job nature is so very Business critical. Also, whenever someone does not know what issue it is, it by default becomes a Basis issue! 😀 Trust me, I have got calls from users that they ran out of paper in their printer & they wanted me to do something about it!!
So the lorries, papers, all these might sound funny. But that’s the reality. You do not really know what your day at work has in box for you. For instance, we do scheduled maintenance of systems once a year. Once the system would restart without issues. Next year, the same system may not come up withing the estimated time!! So, you can never predict things, but you could be proactive!
Other modules are time critical, but when a system goes down, it’s the Basis guys who pitch in! Since I was at client location, I had to face a lot of pressure & business users would be behind you all the time to get their issue fixed. But I must say, the experience you gain from that is worth it! Only good thing was since I worked for an Indian client, I never had to work in shifts, but even on vacations, I used to carry my laptop & dongle!
Now my work is like a Project, a time critical one, not business critical to a certain extent. Project involves installation, upgrades, migration of your SAP systems. Basis guys are responsible for all these!
While these are only time critical tasks, where you have a deadline to finish your work (mostly like Development), these also impact the Business, but not as critical as a live system going down. Because, SAP has provided so many advanced tools today to execute these tasks without nearly no downtime.
So there is not best or worst company for SAP Basis. I would say it depends on your Client / Project. Indian clients like above have helped me learn from the best every way one could & some Projects do not give you so much liberty! If you ever take up a Basis job, you should ask what all would you be doing in that Project, which may help you choose better.