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How SAP Solution Manager Can Smooth Your Next Upgrade Project

by Doreen Baseler | SAPinsider

January 1, 2005

An ill-planned upgrade process can be unnecessarily costly and whittle away at expected returns. SAP Solution Manager, paired with SAP’s Upgrade Roadmap, streamlines the upgrade process and prevents costly missed steps and duplicated effort by providing an integrated methodology for your upgrade ventures.
 

An upgrade project always begins with great expectations of improved efficiencies. And done right — with well-crafted project planning and analysis, clearly defined processes, a comprehensive picture of the current environment, and proper testing and training for your end users — an upgrade can meet those expectations and reap the full benefits of the new solution. Done poorly, with missed steps or ill-planned requirements, an upgrade can be unnecessarily costly and whittle away at expected returns.

SAP customers will be moving to mySAP ERP over the next months and years, and although there is still significant mainstream maintenance for both mySAP ERP predecessors, every SAP customer must start considering their upgrade strategy.1 So whether you have a project on the boards, are looking forward to upgrading to mySAP ERP or other mySAP Business Suite solutions (including CRM, SRM, and SCM), or are about to start replacing a component or two in your current application landscape, SAP Solution Manager can help. The same platform used for implementation and operation can also help you plan and execute your upgrade ventures.

SAP Solution Manager connects to all components in your system landscape, allowing business processes to be upgraded, implemented, tested, and even monitored in an integrated manner — avoiding duplication of effort and information, and streamlining your upgrade activities. At the same time, it directly addresses certain upgrade-specific cost drivers, such as project management, test management, implementation of new functionality, and end-user training. Other known cost drivers, like modification adjustments or technical upgrades, can also be attacked by SAP services available through SAP Solution Manager.

What's more, SAP Solution Manager ships with an Upgrade Roadmap; by using these in tandem, your upgrade process is streamlined, more organized, and highly efficient, to prevent missing critical steps and avoid duplicated effort at each phase of your project. This article focuses on those areas where the Upgrade Roadmap and SAP Solution Manager directly support your upgrade activities, for greater ease and efficiency in the upgrade process.

What If We Don't Use SAP Solution Manager Yet?

The Upgrade Roadmap is available as a standalone HTML version, so that anyone can use it, even without SAP Solution Manager. It will still provide you with a generic methodology for all the steps in an upgrade project. However, used alone, it won't offer the automated access to content and tools — such as upgrade and implementation content for new solutions, or system landscape analysis linked to your roadmap as project accelerators — that you'll find in conjunction with SAP Solution Manager.

To get the full benefits, install SAP Solution Manager and the Upgrade Roadmap, which both come free of charge with standard maintenance. Use SAP Solution Manager as the starting point for any upgrade project, then open the Upgrade Roadmap. From the roadmap, you can connect directly to SAP Solution Manager to access your upgrade project. The more information you have already stored in SAP Solution Manager, the better prepared you will be to leverage the roadmap and SAP Solution Manager's features during your upgrade.

The Upgrade Roadmap: A Methodology for Any Upgrade Project

The Upgrade Roadmap is content available from SAP that provides a methodological guideline to assist you in your upgrade ventures. This roadmap is available as part of SAP Solution Manager (Release 3.1 onward). At its core is a generic, easy-to-follow, phase-oriented, step-by-step activity guide for upgrading components to facilitate any upgrade project (see the Roadmap window in Figure 1). These include analysis of the status and targets for business processes and underlying IT infrastructure before and after the upgrade, upgrade configuration, and testing of upgraded processes. Along the way, accelerators link directly to SAP Solution Manager and other SAP resources to launch supporting functions — tools and services for best practices documents, how-to's, and project templates, among others, that speed the upgrade process.

Figure 1
The Upgrade Roadmap, with Accelerators That Directly Link to SAP Solution Manager

By connecting you automatically to the right resources at each phase of the upgrade project, the Upgrade Roadmap allows you to:2

  • Tailor the guide to your chosen upgrade path, such as from SAP CRM 2.0 to SAP CRM 4.0, using predefined, path-specific content delivered with the Upgrade Roadmap (see sidebar below)

  • Navigate directly to supporting upgrade functions in SAP Solution Manager (shown in Figure 1) to manage and report on your current system landscape, and to document and test your business processes

  • Track your project activities, making extensive use of documentation management, status tracking, and problem message handling

In a nutshell, the Upgrade Roadmap provides access to all documentation sources relevant to technical and functional system adjustments at the time you need it.

What Kind of Content Is Available for Upgrade Projects?

SAP upgrade content consists of two different parts: Upgrade Roadmap content and scenario content.

The list of available Upgrade Roadmap content is constantly growing.3 Currently, SAP Upgrade Roadmap has product- and solution-specific information available for every phase and work package, with more than 40 upgrade paths that the customer chooses, such as:

  • From SAP R/3 3.X to SAP R/3 Enterprise 4.7

  • From SAP CRM 2.X/3.0 to SAP CRM 4.0

  • From SAP SRM 2.0 to SAP SRM 3.0

  • From SAP BW 3.X to SAP BW 3.5

These "flavors" of upgrades work in conjunction with the generic roadmap, which features SAP Solution Manager accelerators for:

  • Project management — such as sample project plan or descriptions on available SAP Upgrade Services

  • Applications — including solution-specific upgrade master guides (e.g., for SAP CRM 4.0) and SAP release notes

  • Technology — such as Upgrade Guides and Best Practices for OS/DB Migration and the Product Availability Matrix, which includes platform-specific information

In addition, look for upgrade content specifically for mySAP ERP 2004 to be released in Q1/2005, in the upcoming version of the Upgrade Roadmap.4 With this offering, scenario content for mySAP ERP 2004 is available in this content version. This includes core mySAP ERP 2004 business scenarios and business processes with IMG assignments, along with related, available scenario- or process-specific upgrade documentation. This content can be used as an initial starting point for mySAP ERP upgrade blueprinting and configuration.

Support Upgrade Projects with SAP Solution Manager

While the Upgrade Roadmap is the framework for keeping track of your entire upgrade venture, SAP Solution Manager comes into play when you need to plan and execute your upgrade project (see Figure 2). So exactly how do SAP Solution Manager and the Upgrade Roadmap work together? For example, how would they help an SAP R/3 4.6C customer — one that already has SAP Solution Manager in place — upgrade to mySAP ERP and speed the process along?

Figure 2
SAP Solution Manager Functions That Support Upgrade Roadmap Phases

Phase 1 — Project Preparation, with Documentation and Analysis of Your Current Landscape

With Solution Manager, you start by creating a new upgrade project in SAP Solution Manager's project administration screen.5 The resulting upgrade project — which we've named Project UP_DOR in our example — bundles all forthcoming upgrade activities and results.

In this initial phase of your upgrade project, you must specify the IT infrastructure for system components of the SAP solution you are using. SAP Solution Manager downloads information for selected SAP components and systems. This information can be enhanced in SAP Solution Manager so that you have a complete picture of your system landscape (see Figure 3). From SAP Solution Manager's System Landscape screen, you can select parameters to report on, for example:

  • Software components and support packages of the product/system to be upgraded
  • Plug-ins, add-ons, and other additional software
  • Related SAP systems that are part of your solution
  • Third-party products
  • Database software and patch level

Figure 3
System Landscape Analysis with SAP Solution Manager

This system landscape information can also be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet, for example, and serve as the basis for the target definition of your IT landscape.

In addition, you must document or verify existing business processes and documentation, such as interface and modification documentation. By ensuring that all such information is uploaded into SAP Solution Manager, you store and manage all documents centrally, for a complete picture of your "as-is" landscape.

Phase 2 — Upgrade Blueprint: Defining Target Solution Requirements

Having documented the current, as-is situation, you can now start planning where you want to be after the upgrade. Your next step is to identify business processes and functions that are changed or new in the upgrade release. This information can be retrieved via the Upgrade Roadmap, which links you to SAP Service Marketplace release notes and to information stored in SAP's Product Availability Matrix (PAM).

In this phase, you also define how to handle modifications and interfaces, create new test cases, or evaluate existing ones for their upgrade validity. Whatever format your current test cases may be in (Microsoft Word or Excel, for example), SAP Solution Manager allows you to simply upload and store them centrally. You also have the possibility to include third-party testing tools. Additionally, in this phase you determine initial concepts for training. As you do so, SAP Solution Manager serves as the central point to access, reuse, or create this kind of information in your upgrade project — which comes in handy for better managing knowledge transfer from the project team to end users.

Existing SAP Solution Manager customers benefit from the centralized documentation of their past projects and can quickly adapt this information to their new upgrade project in a structured manner.

Phase 3 — Upgrade Realization: Implementing and Testing the Upgrade

Having completed the blueprint, you are now ready for the technical upgrade of your non-productive systems.

In this phase, the Upgrade Roadmap assists you with access to proven SAP technical upgrade tools like the Upgrade Assistant. But when it comes to upgrade and delta customizing, how do you know which configuration activities are needed — and which are unnecessary — for your upgrade project? You could go through all the IMG activities, and painstakingly evaluate each one for the new or additional configuration settings needed. Instead, SAP Solution Manager helps automatically answer this question by presenting upgrade and delta IMG views for each component to be upgraded (see Figure 4).

Figure 4
Proposal of Configuration Settings Generated by SAP Solution Manager

Based on SAP component release notes information, all upgrade-relevant IMG activities are automatically determined and proposed for configuration in SAP Solution Manager's upgrade configuration functions (those checked under "Upgrade Flag" in Figure 4). To prevent overlooking any relevant IMG activity that may be missing, SAP Solution Manager also lists those configuration activities that are not assigned to your upgrade project, so you can review these activities as well.

After configuration is complete, you can now begin upgrade testing. Using the integrated testing suite in SAP Solution Manager, including Test Workbench functions, you can:

  • Generate process-oriented test plans based on the test cases that were verified and assigned back in the Upgrade Blueprint phase

  • Split test plans into smaller test packages

  • Assign test packages to testers, who will then perform acceptance tests according to the specified test packages

The test organizer can track all relevant test activities and status (e.g., TEST_OK), including problems and error messages, on a single screen at any time using SAP Solution Manager's test reporting function (see Figure 5). For all testing activities, you can get an overview at different granularity levels — package level, test plan level, entire project, whatever is needed.

Figure 5
The Test Organizer's View of Test Results

Phase 4 — Final Preparation for Cutover: Completing the Upgrade

System and integration testing finalize the test series, so you can make sure that business processes are running smoothly after the upgrade.

Often overlooked is how to inform end users of the changes resulting from an upgrade — a critical step for maximum user adoption. Based on the training concepts you set up back in the Upgrade Blueprint phase, you can prepare training material rapidly and easily with the e-learning environment, namely the Learning Map Builder, integrated in SAP Solution Manager. You can create role-specific Learning Maps based on documents generated during the project that are relevant to end-user training (see Figure 6). Simply open the learning materials, such as SAP Tutor study units, PowerPoint presentations, or other documentation that was included in the project during configuration, then drag and drop the appropriate items from your project structure list to your Learning Map Structure. By selecting the "Open in Browser" button, you can preview exactly what end users will see in their browsers. From here, customers can distribute Web-based training material to end users.

Figure 6
Learning Map Builder: Authoring Environment to Create Customer-Specific Resources for End Users

Returning back to the Upgrade Roadmap, you can complete the upgrade of your productive system landscape, then move into the final phase — production cutover and support.

How SAP Solution Manager Addresses Upgrade Challenges

Savings in testing effort and costs

  • Using the integrated suite, including Test Workbench functions

Reduction of costs for training material and end-user training

  • Process- and role-oriented creation of learning material

  • Easy deployment, and flexibility to update material at any time

Reduction of upgrade project risks

  • Via integration of SAP Upgrade Roadmap

  • With SAP Solution Manager as the central service delivery platform

SAP Solution Manager: Implementation, Upgrades, and Beyond

SAP Solution Manager is clearly not for just one phase of your SAP solution life cycle — it covers implementation of new solutions and support for operation well beyond these phases. What's more, SAP Solution Manager is included in the SAP standard maintenance agreement, so all SAP customers can receive the complete SAP Solution Manager package, including upgrade content and the roadmap methodology.

Those customers who already use SAP Solution Manager in their implementations will see considerable benefits during upgrades — the data stored in implementation projects can serve as the starting point for their upgrade project, and SAP Solution Manager's monitoring functionality can provide operative solution data, including systems and business processes, for upgrades. Just as SAP Solution Manager content helps save time and money during implementation, the same holds true for upgrades. Predefined SAP upgrade and scenario content can lower your efforts and your TCO, and a clear upgrade methodology will help reduce your time to benefit.

What's more, SAP Solution Manager provides building blocks that prepare you for future application management challenges. For example:

  • Upgrade projects can serve as the initial basis for new implementation projects. All information can be copied completely or selectively into new implementation projects, so customers do not have to start from scratch.

  • The Customizing Scout — part of SAP Solution Manager's Customizing Synchronization suite — can be used to cross-check whether all upgrade customizing was transported correctly into the quality assurance and production environment.

  • Upgraded business processes and solution landscapes can be productively monitored using Business Process Monitoring.

  • Since your business is constantly changing — sometimes even before an implementation or upgrade project is finished — you also need a powerful and sophisticated tool to handle all these alterations: SAP Solution Manager 3.2 addresses these challenges with the built-in Change Request Management (built-in ChaRM) functionality.6

For further information on upgrade content and features from SAP Solution Manager and the Upgrade Roadmap, please visit http://service.sap.com/solutionmanager for general information on SAP Solution Manager upgrade functionality, and http://service.sap.com/roadmaps for accessing and downloading the HTML version of the Upgrade Roadmap.


1 See "Deploy As You Go — Transitioning to mySAP ERP" by Thomas Baur in the SAP Insider Special Feature: SAP Upgrades, appearing in the July-September 2004 issue of SAP Insider (www.SAPinsider.com).

2 These features are available starting with version 2.0 of the Upgrade Roadmap, which is shipped with SAP Solution Manager 3.1 and up.

3 For updates on the latest upgrade content, please visit www.service.sap.com/solutionmanager.

4 The current Upgrade Roadmap has been available since June 2004 with the SAP Solution Manager 3.1 installation package (as part of add-on CD ST-ICO 120). Release 3.1 customers can download roadmap content, including mySAP ERP content (ST-ICO 140), from http://service.sap.com/solutionmanager > Downloads after Q1/2005. SAP Solution Manager 3.2 customers will automatically get ST-140 as part of their installation package, without additional download.

5 The detailed steps for creating a project are available in the SAP Solution Manager online help (see SAP Solution Manager > Project Administration) and documentation is available at http://service.sap.com (under Documentation > SAP NetWeaver > SAP Solution Manager).

6 See "Managing Changes with the SAP Solution Manager" by Dr. Matthias Melich in the October-December 2004 issue of SAP Insider (www.SAPinsider.com).


Doreen Baseler joined SAP in 1999 as a member of the ASAP (AcceleratedSAP) Implementation Tools Development group, where she focused on creating SAP standards and guidelines for customizing development and the use of the Reverse Business Engineer to analyze productive systems. In 2000, Doreen joined the SAP Solution Manager Product Management team. In 2003, she started concentrating on Customizing Synchronization and Global Rollouts, with a focus on the customer experience, and is currently working on introducing upgrade functionality to customers. Doreen is a featured speaker at SAP TechEd and other international events. Prior to joining SAP, Doreen studied technology, business, and economics at the Department of Technical Communication, as well as English and Spanish, at the Fachhochschule Magdeburg. She can be reached at doreen.baseler@sap.com.

 

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