There are plenty of ways to keep your SAP software current: While updates involve smaller functional modifications to existing software releases, upgrades offer all-new versions typically marked by an increase in version number.
Instead of expensive release upgrades, SAP is focusing its efforts on Enhancement Packages (EHPs) for its current products. However, EHPs are not necessarily for every user: Those who use older software like SAP R/3 will have to upgrade to SAP ERP 6.0 in order to take advantage of them. Such upgrades often also entail a change of hardware components or operating systems.
The SAP ERP Solution Browser can help you find new versions of your SAP software. First, simply select the release you currently run. The tool will then display the updates and upgrades available for your version in various functional areas.
Costs involved in EHP consulting and installation
For a price of €6,300, the SAP Enhancement Package Planning Service can support your company in planning and installing EHPs. Using SAP Solution Manager, SAP partners check whether your SAP ERP system meets the corresponding requirements. The necessary components are then selected from the EHPs and implemented. SAP Enhancement Package Planning Implementation, which involves only the implementation of EHPs, comes with a €15,000 price tag.
Installing EHPs and other upgrades leads to downtime because part of the affected system has to be shut down. The same applies to maintenance, platform changes, and Unicode conversions. All of the corresponding activities have to adhere to a strict schedule to ensure a smooth transition. SAP’s System Landscape Optimization group offers support in the form of its Minimized Downtime Service (MDS) by coordinating EHP installations for customers and advising them on how to eliminate as much downtime as possible. This team of experts has already helped see through more than 2,500 projects. To guarantee the highest possible stability, each individual step is first carried out in a copy of the customer’s productive system.
MDS represents a combination of technology, support, consulting, and best practices – in short, experiences gathered during past installations of EHPs for other companies.
The System Landscape Optimization group advises against the so-called “big bang” approach, which involves shutting down the target system completely. Instead, the group takes an incremental approach that splits the necessary downtime into two shorter phases. Before one of these phases is scheduled to begin, the bulk of the corresponding data is processed in the same system or transferred to a parallel configuration. Ongoing operations are not affected; since all of the data is processed online in the background, employees can continue using the software in question. In addition, every procedure is documented by means of a database trigger. Finally, the technicians synchronize the source and target systems.