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Take the Best Path for Your Organization When Making the Transition to mySAP ERP

by Ralf Strassner and Juergen Jakowski | SAPinsider

April 1, 2004

by Ralf Strassner and Juergen Jakowski, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2004 (Volume 5), April (Issue 2)
 

From the first release of mySAP ERP in 2003, SAP offered an ERP solution that provides all the pieces needed to support a state-of-the-art ERP business: technical capabilities like the portal infrastructure, exchange infrastructure, and business warehousing, as well as applications and functions for additional business value, such as Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM), employee and manager self-services, and more.

From a technical point of view, mySAP ERP offers a very different approach from what you may remember from your early SAP R/3 installations — and this point is key to transitioning to mySAP ERP. This time, it's not about implementing all your technology and functionality in a single installation. Rather, mySAP ERP is designed to take an incremental approach. It includes SAP components that can be deployed step-by-step, at your own pace, to make use of mySAP ERP and to widen the functional scope of your operational and strategic business processes while leveraging existing assets. SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) together with analytics from SEM or SAP Enterprise Portal (SAP EP) are just a few examples of what you get when you move to mySAP ERP.

As a result, when it comes to upgrade and implementation, you don't need to install all of the components at once. In many cases, in fact, this process may not involve immediately abandoning your current SAP R/3 instance. It really comes down to looking at your needs from three different perspectives — licensing, upgrades, and implementation — to determine where you will gain the most business value from mySAP ERP.

Three Ways of Looking at Your mySAP ERP Needs

mySAP ERP is a mySAP solution that can be licensed by existing and new customers. Once you have a mySAP ERP (or mySAP Business Suite) license, you then have the opportunity to consider your upgrade and/or implementation options (see Figure 1). For all companies, those next two steps — the upgrade of their current SAP R/3 installation and the implementation of other mySAP ERP components — can follow a flexible timeline based on your company's particular set of business objectives. SAP is committed to supporting you in finding the best path forward for your company (see "Resources for the Transition to mySAP ERP" at the end of this article):

1. Your licensing agreement (License View): Customers currently on an SAP R/3 contract can choose to move either to a mySAP ERP license or a mySAP Business Suite license, which includes mySAP ERP along with mySAP SCM, mySAP CRM, and so on.1 Why update your license? For SAP customers, no matter which SAP R/3 release you have in productive use, it's recommended that you move to mySAP ERP in order to take immediate advantage of the full NetWeaver integration and application platform, enhanced applications, and new planning and analytics capabilities in your ERP environment.

2. Your current working SAP R/3 environment (Upgrade View): Once you've licensed mySAP ERP (or mySAP Business Suite), you have some choice as to when to upgrade your current SAP R/3 environment. Whether you need to upgrade your SAP R/3 system immediately (for specific functionality, for example) or will start planning now for that move, you have some options as to how you upgrade your systems — that is, moving to SAP R/3 Enterprise or to the new SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC) 5.00 as the technical successor to SAP R/3 in your ERP environment. (More details on this later in this article.)

3. Additional value from mySAP ERP applications and functionality (Implementation View): The mySAP ERP architecture also allows you to select from all the pieces delivered by mySAP ERP, like SAP SEM (Strategic Enterprise Management), self-services, or the complete SAP NetWeaver technology platform. Basically, this allows you to implement portions of mySAP ERP incrementally, based on your current system environment, planned IT projects, short- and long-term business needs, as well as where you see the greatest returns to be gained.

Figure 1
Three Perspectives on Your Transition

Incremental Transition to mySAP ERP

For customers on SAP R/3 4.6B and below (see Figure 2), we recommend that you start planning an upgrade project immediately — or evaluate a maintenance extension offered by SAP. In any case, explore your options to prepare for mySAP ERP. You may want to consider the benefits of using mySAP ERP immediately, during the upgrade of your SAP R/3 system. Why take this approach? As one example, if your upgrade project will touch your interfaces anyway, why not take this opportunity to use SAP Exchange Infrastructure to integrate the third-parties that need to be connected to your ERP environment, and minimize administration costs of your interfaces down the road?

Sap R/3 Realease 4.6b and below End of mainstream maintenance since December 31, 20032
Sap R/3 Realease 4.6c End of mainstream maintenance scheduled for Q4 2006
Sap R/3 Enterprise End of mainstream maintenance scheduled for Q4 2009
Figure 2
Schedule of SAP R/3 Mainstream Support

Those of you already on SAP 4.6C or SAP R/3 Enterprise have even greater flexibility in transitioning to mySAP ERP. Rather than start with a technical upgrade on your current SAP R/3 installation, you could begin immediately with the implementation of applications based on SAP BW or SAP Enterprise Portal — both part of the SAP NetWeaver stack.

However, all SAP R/3 releases, starting from 3.1I and higher, can be upgraded directly either to SAP R/3 Enterprise or to SAP ERP Central Component, a new component that will succeed SAP R/3 Enterprise as the set of central functionality for mySAP ERP.

Implement Your Most Business-Critical
mySAP ERP Components

The transition to mySAP ERP includes the implementation of its various components and capabilities. Here it is especially clear that mySAP ERP's benefits, functions, and features are not contained in just one single SAP component. For example, while SAP R/3 Enterprise is one piece of the 2003 mySAP ERP release and offers a lot of ERP functionality, a customer might have additional requirements in other areas of mySAP ERP — the Portal Infrastructure, Exchange Infrastructure, or information infrastructure — or in application areas like Internet Sales, Self-Service Procurement, and others. All these features are not part of SAP R/3 Enterprise, but are available with the mySAP ERP solution, and you can start by selecting those offerings that bring the greatest immediate benefit.3

With SAP ERP Central Component 5.00, SAP's development focuses on greater usability, efficiency, and TCO reduction. Keeping proven concepts of SAP R/3 Enterprise, including the separate layers of technology, core functionality, and new functionality, SAP ERP Central Component also provides some new options for running different pieces of mySAP ERP, like SAP BW or SEM, on a single SAP instance. Furthermore, it comes with new functionality that utilizes SAP NetWeaver capabilities like the portal to increase usability. Over time, mySAP ERP will evolve into a service-oriented application built on the SAP NetWeaver technology platform.4

Different Upgrade Paths Still Lead to the Same Place

Once you've decided to move to mySAP ERP, how do you actually make the transition from your current ERP landscape? There's no "one-path-fits-all" approach — it depends on your current SAP landscape, your upcoming IT projects, and your short- and long-term business needs:

As a general rule, customers should have either the latest release of SAP R/3 or the new SAP ERP Central Component to ensure maximum compatibility with mySAP ERP. This means all customers on SAP R/3 releases should consider a technical upgrade to SAP R/3 Enterprise (or to SAP ECC when it becomes available).

For those customers already on SAP R/3 Enterprise, you have the option to upgrade to SAP ECC, where you will see the benefits of its added features. You are also in the best position to evaluate the immediate implementation of additional capabilities using SAP Enterprise Portal or other mySAP ERP components, to determine where they are suitable for your current business needs and will maximize your investment in the short-term.

No matter which path you choose, be sure to begin planning for a move to mySAP ERP — this will afford you the full spectrum of benefits of SAP NetWeaver and the entire set of offerings, now and in the future, made available from SAP for your ERP processes. Whatever path you take, SAP will provide a comprehensive set of services in order to get a fast return on investment. For more information and a joint development of your specific product strategy, contact your SAP account representative.

Resources for the Transition to mySAP ERP

For more information and to get started, SAP customers can visit the ERP area of the SAP Service Marketplace. You'll find detailed information, including information about various upgrade scenarios, at http://service.sap.com/erp.

Upgrade and maintenance details are available at http://service.sap.com/upgrade and http://service.sap.com/maintenance.


1 For customers already on a mySAP Business Suite license, no further licensing conversions are required. Converting your license to mySAP Business Suite is the right first step for any customer searching for more than an ERP solution only — one that also includes mySAP CRM or mySAP SCM, for example.

2 Be sure to check your own maintenance package details. Some customers currently receive customer-specific or extended maintenance packages to extend the support for their R/3 environments.

3 See "SAP NetWeaver — The Technology Platform for mySAP ERP" and "Make Everyone Efficient — Not Just Your Back Office" in this issue of SAP Insider (www.SAPinsider.com.

4 An upgrade to this option will be available in mid-2004 as part of the ECC Ramp-Up program, and to all customers in 2005. In the future, for all customers on SAP R/3 releases under mainstream maintenance at the time of the upgrade, SAP will support direct upgrades to future releases of ERP Central Component, which, as of today, are planned on a yearly cycle. For more on the ECC, visit http://service.sap.com/erp.


Ralf Strassner is a member of the Global ERP Initiative, currently focusing on topics such as the transition to mySAP ERP and SAP NetWeaver within mySAP ERP. He joined SAP in 1998 as a consultant in the area of Financial Services. Before Ralf joined the Global ERP Initiative, he was responsible for the global Rollout and Ramp-Up of SAP R/3 Enterprise.
Juergen Jakowski has been part of SAP's Global ERP Initiative since early 2003. He currently focuses on technology and transition topics within mySAP ERP. Juergen joined SAP in 1998 as a technical consultant. After co-founding and leading an upgrade focus group within SAP Consulting, he has been responsible for the Ramp-Up of SAP R/3 Enterprise in the EMEA region.

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