Preview: EHP 5

Enhancement packages contain all the updates – so there’s no need to upgrade (graphic: grasundsterne)
Enhancement packages contain all the updates – so there’s no need to upgrade (graphic: grasundsterne)

From SAP R/3 through mySAP ERP 2004 and SAP ERP 6.0 – upgrades are time-consuming and not without risks. But instead of updating to new software versions, SAP now offers its customers enhancement packages. In a recent article about enhancement packages (Keeping SAP Up-to-Date), we reported extensively on which enhancement packages are available for SAP ERP, SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), SAP Product Lifecycle Management (SAP PLM), SAP Supply Chain Management (SAP SCM), and SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SAP SRM).

What’s new in enhancement package 5

Business intelligence functions: The fifth enhancement package offers business intelligence (BI) functions from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio, such as SAP Crystal Reports and SAP BusinessObjects Xcelsius Enterprise, which can be used to create interactive Flash graphics and make forecasts. SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 7.5 is also integrated. The application supports users in financial planning and budgeting. And then there’s the SAP BusinessObjects XBRL Publishing application by UBmatrix, which makes publishing reports easy. Thanks to enhancement package 5, users can create financial reports in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Internet: Once enhancement package 5 has been applied, SAP ERP is also enabled for the Safari browser from Apple. The SAP NetWeaver Business Client 3.0, which was unveiled at CeBIT 2010, will also run after the enhancement package has been applied. SAP NetWeaver Business Client software enables the integration of Internet applications, work centers, and other predefined scenarios. With the Web Dynpro ABAP Page Builder, individual user interfaces can be built.

Next Page: New Features for Manufacturing Industry

Workflow: With the fifth enhancement package, SAP promises improved integration of third-party software, such as products from Adobe. Java transports should also now run more smoothly than was previously the case. In the Shared Service Center, messages can be processed more effectively using a ticket system.

Workflow items are designed to structure workflows better. Thanks to traffic light symbols, users can quickly identify open or closed activities and see tasks that need to be completed in the status and work list.

Manufacturing industry: Enhancement package 5 offers a number of new functions for the manufacturing industry. For example, different bills of material (BOMs) – such as engineering BOMs and production BOMs – can be synchronized with each other. While engineering BOMs are relatively flexible because they are used during the design process, production BOMs are highly stable, because production plants and processes must be precisely planned and aligned. With enhancement package 5, the two types can be synchronized with each other, even though they are used for different purposes.

From multilevel subcontracting processes through real-time sales data entry, RFID, barcodes, and kanban – with enhancement package 5, SAP ERP 6.0 aspires to meet everyone’s needs.

Straightforward updates

Enhancement packages are tailored to the individual needs of customers. Regardless of whether SAP Business Suite or just SAP ERP is deployed, enhancement packages save time and money. Another advantage is that customers are free to decide whether, when, and how they will use the enhancement packages. Certain functions can be activated using the Switch Framework. Here, the customer defines the functionality based on the sector in which the company operates. Depending on the industry (such as aerospace and defense, manufacturing, or retail), the company decides on an extension – for example SAP for Automotive. Then it can add up to 15 enterprise extensions – in other words, functions from retail, customer relationship management, or accounting – and combine them or use them in parallel.

Enhancement package 4 is currently available for SAP ERP 6.0. Enhancement package 5 is currently still in the test phase and will be shippable to all customers by Q2, 2011.

In the second part of our guide coming up soon, you can read about other ways to keep your SAP software up-to-date.