Interview with Thomas Schindwolf, SAP – Head of the Zero Outage Certification Workstream

Interview with Thomas Schindwolf, SAP – Head of the Zero Outage Certification Workstream

Mr Schindwolf, what exactly is your role at the Zero Outage Industry Standard association?

I run the Certification Workstream which was set up in December 2016. Together with our partners, we work to ensure Zero Outage is not just a collection of best practices. Our aim is to certify Zero Outage in the future, similar to an ISO certification. We are currently developing an approach as to what the certification should cover. To do this, we first need to create a solid foundation. Certification will take the Zero Outage programme to a completely new level and enable results to be shown transparently. Our first meeting was held in Walldorf on the 26th of January, and our most recent one was on the 13th of March. We also have telephone discussions every two weeks.

Describe what you do in the Workstream.

We are currently preparing all the stages necessary for certification, specifically speaking. There are four areas of certification:

  1. “People”, i.e. the people who get certified
  2. Companies or departments
  3. Services or components
  4. End-to-end solutions – if, for example, customers use a complete IT solution from various providers, and then have this certified as End to End.

We want to offer different levels of certification. The “People” case could be as follows:

Level 1: Self-Assessment – each person can assess their own knowledge and attitude.
Level 2: An online test, multiple choice, to assess their knowledge of Zero Outage.
Level 3: A project-based task combined with an examination of the applicant’s IT experience.

During the next stage, we want to establish examples of the individual test criteria. To do this, we engage in discussions with the heads of the other Workstreams, from People, Processes, Platforms and IT Security, to develop some appropriate subject areas with sample criteria.

What does SAP get out of being a member of the Zero Outage Industry Standard association?

Our customers rely on the high availability of business-critical systems 24/7. We also run internal projects in order to constantly improve and get even closer to achieving the goal of Zero Outage. Discussing things with other members is extremely helpful here. Almost all the participants are also our partners. Developments in Zero Outage are only possible if all participants co-operate closely and contribute their skills. As an association member, we want to play an active part and contribute our ideas and experiences in order to further enhance the IT industry’s skills. In doing so, we also make a clear commitment to our customers. The association has several SAP experts who work in the various Workstreams. The focus here is always on the customers and their business services.

Thomas Schindwolf has more than 20 years experience in the IT industry. He works in the COO development unit at SAP SE. His team is responsible for Cloud Delivery processes driving continuous improvement and giving customer confidence in SAP’s service capabilities.