To help its customers keep their software on the cutting edge, SAP has turned its focus from expensive upgrades to cost-effective enhancement packages. Rapid implementation, tailored functionality, and minimal downtime are just of the few resulting advantages.
Meanwhile, admins can look forward to a simple installation process – often without major interruptions to ongoing operations. In this way, SAP plans to provide its customers with constant benefits in the form of updates and added functions.
Each individual company and IT department can determine how many business functions it wants to implement and when. With the Switch Framework, it’s also possible to select specific features of each enhancement package for installation while leaving your core SAP system untouched.
Installing an enhancement package requires a full SAP release – such as SAP ERP 6.0 – and the corresponding support package stack. It’s also crucial that your release run on SAP NetWeaver 7.0; if you don’t have this version of the technology platform, you’ll have to upgrade by conventional means.
Be sure to bear two other things in mind, as well: The activation of individual business functions can’t be undone, and the new features provided only apply to SAP applications in their standard form. Enhancement packages don’t account for special customizations users have made themselves – only the core software.
Next page: Enhancement packages in practice
Enhancement packages in practice
Enhancement packages offer additional functionality without forcing you to replace your current software. SAP has since designated this its primary approach, making release upgrades a thing of the past.
Enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP has been available since May 2009, and the next version entered the ramp-up phase in late 2010. A select group of customers is currently testing enhancement package 5, which is expected to hit the market in 2011.
Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that enhancement packages are not the same as support packages, which contain minor corrections. However, support packages do have to be installed along with enhancement packages.
The following enhancement packages are currently available:
- Enhancement packages 3, 4, and 5 for SAP Product Lifecycle Management 7.0
- Enhancement package 1 for SAP Customer Relationship Management 7.0
- Enhancement package 1 for SAP Supply Chain Management 7.0
- Enhancement package 1 for SAP Supplier Relationship Management 7.0
Along with simplified user-interface elements, enhancement packages include a number of functional improvements – up to 300 of them in enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP, for example. The packages are also cumulative, meaning that enhancement package 4 contains all of the features provided in enhancement package 3.
The new versions and functions each enhancement package offers apply to existing software components, and admins can choose the specific components they wish to update. Following installation, the changes made are not visible until the business functions are activated in ABAP. All of the updates in the enhancement package and corresponding support packages are then verified once more in a test run, for which each business function includes a test template.
Next page: How to install enhancement packages
How to install enhancement packages
Only one enhancement package level can be installed per system; similarly, an application can consist of just one such level. In the case of SAP ERP, this means you have to choose between enhancement package 3 and 4. After installing an enhancement package, however, you must also implement the components of each subsequent version number. Customers who use an industry-specific business function will have to install the corresponding industry software components of the enhancement package in question.
To help you plan and prepare your enhancement package installation, SAP provides the Enhancement Package Info Center and the Solution Browser Tool. The center gives you access to all of the important information related to your implementation, such as the concept, method, new functions, documentation, release notes, and a test catalog. Admins are also required to register through the info center prior to implementation.
Meanwhile, Maintenance Optimizer and the implementation content serve as a suitable blueprint, and SAP Enhancement Package Installer and Switch Framework aid in carrying out the installation itself.
SAP recommends combining an enhancement package installation with the latest support package stack. If you make use of Java software components, it’s a good idea to first read through the Enhancement Package 4 Master Guide and identify the differences between enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP 6.0 and for SAP ERP 6.0 on SAP NetWeaver 7.01. If you plan to install only certain parts of an enhancement package, be sure to study the chapters “Selective Installation” and “Broad Installation.”
Before getting started, don’t forget to check the following:
- Is SAP Solution Manager properly prepared?
- Have you applied the last support package level for SAP Solution Manager 7.0?
- Is Maintenance Optimizer running?
- Is setup working?
Next page: Downloading enhancement packages
Downloading enhancement packages
Finally, you’re ready to download the enhancement package you need and generate a stack configuration file (in XML). Select the applicable release and system, such as SAP ERP 6.0, from the menu displayed and click “continue.” Then you can proceed with the enhancement package installation. Under “Find Download Files,” you can choose the proper package version: enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP 6.0 or for SAP ERP 6.0/ SAP NetWeaver 7.01. This step will require between 10 and 30GB of disk space.
Now it’s time to select your databases:
- DB2 IBM DB2 for z/OS
- DB4 IBM DB2 for i5/OS
- DB6 IBM DB2 UDB for Linux, Unix, and Windows
After confirming the desired package and clicking “continue,” you can obtain the software using the download manager.
SAP Enhancement Package Installer is the standard tool for implementing your package. Based on the system switch procedure, this technology is available on 64-bit platforms for ABAP, Java and dual-stack, enhancement package 4 for SAP ERP 6.0, enhancement package 1 for SAP NetWeaver 7.0, and SAP NetWeaver Process Integration 7.1.
To start SAP Enhancement Package Installer, admins must first download the executable file from SAP Service Marketplace before proceeding with extraction and execution in SAPCAR.
The duration of your implementation and overall system downtime will depend on the following factors:
- Service packages
- Productive applications and add-ons
- Number of users
- Configuration mode in SAP Enhancement Package Installer
Finally, remember to allocate the following storage capacity:
- SAPehpi: 25GB
- Enhancement package 4 and SPS: 10GB
- Shadow system: 60-80 GB