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Innovation Made Easy

by Marco Valencia | SAPinsider

October 1, 2011

Most businesses want the latest and greatest functionality that SAP has to offer, but they don't always want the down time that comes with an implementation or upgrade. SAP, never blind to customer needs, has created enhancement packages to ease the upgrading process. This article describes the basic enhancement package concepts and outlines the required technical foundation to help you gain the most benefit from them.
 

Upgrading to the newest version of an SAP solution promises an enticing array of benefits, including access to the latest and greatest features and functionality from SAP. However, any upgrade of platform-wide systems can be resource intensive and a disruptive experience for end users.

To help customers quickly implement and benefit from SAP’s new innovations with minimal impact on their end users, SAP offers enhancement packages for all core SAP Business Suite 7 applications — enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP and enhancement package 1 for all other SAP Business Suite components. Enhancement packages enable customers to switch on new features and functionalities for unique industry and line-of-business processes, decoupling the functional deployment from the installation and allowing customers to do a controlled rollout of new functionality to different business units. Customers can also selectively implement the features that they need to further speed the implementation process.

But how do you choose the right functionality to implement for your business? This article walks you through basic enhancement package concepts, describes the tools that can help you understand what to implement, and outlines the required technical foundation so that you are well positioned to gain the most benefit from SAP’s enhancement packages.

First, a Few Fundamental Concepts

SAP Business Suite 7 is a group of on-premise applications, based on SAP NetWeaver, that allows customers to run, grow, and transform their businesses. The suite consists of SAP ERP 6.0, SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) 7.0, SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SAP SRM) 7.0, SAP Supply Chain Management (SAP SCM) 7.0, and SAP Product Lifecycle Management (SAP PLM) 7.0.

Enhancement packages allow customers to implement new functionality and updates for their SAP Business Suite 7 applications without a disruptive technical upgrade. Using the Switch Framework (transaction SFW5), customers simply activate the desired business function updates and additions contained in the enhancement packages for the individual applications.

SAP advises customers to install the latest enhancement packages available. Each enhancement package delivers a trove of business functions — enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP 6.0 cumulatively delivers more than 500. With so much new functionality, it can be challenging to determine what to utilize. SAP offers tools to help you better understand how the innovation delivered via SAP enhancement packages can help your company.

Tools to Help You Determine What to Implement

SAP offers four tools to help users explore available functionality and enhancement packages.

Solution Browser Tool

The Solution Browser Tool is an online tool (www.sapsolutionbrowser.com) that helps customers discover new functionality across different SAP application releases and enhancement packages. Once you select the SAP Business Suite application, versions, and functional areas you are interested in, the tool displays the relevant information, enabling you to assess the value of upgrading by comparing functional enhancements and business benefits between existing releases, subsequent releases up to SAP Business Suite 7, and the latest enhancement packages.

Enhancement Package Info Center

The Enhancement Package Info Center provides customers with a single point of access for enhancement package-related information. Each of the following enhancement packages has a dedicated Info Center in the SAP Service Marketplace:

The Info Centers include all of the information you need to implement an enhancement package including presentations, evaluation information, installation guidelines, and details on the latest functionality.

Business Function Prediction Service

The Business Function Prediction service identifies the features and functionality included in the enhancement packages for SAP ERP 6.0 that are relevant for your particular business. This service, available at the SAP Service Marketplace (https://service.sap.com/bfp), uses customer productive system usage analysis to prepare a report that:

  • Provides a tailored list of new business functions that enhance transactions your end users are using today
  • Identifies the relevance of each business function to your business and how often that function is used by other SAP customers
  • Offers direct access to all relevant information for each predicted business function, including overview presentations, release notes and documentation, test-case catalogs, technical mappings, and information about cumulative business functions included in the latest enhancement package 

Accelerated Innovation Enablement Service

Accelerated Innovation Enablement is a remote service available for SAP Enterprise Support customers. With this service, SAP solution architects provide up to five remote person days (per calendar year) of assistance and enablement to help customers evaluate the innovation capabilities available with the latest SAP enhancement packages and how functionality can be deployed to meet your business requirements. More information on this service is available at https://service.sap.com/aie.

Don’t Have the Latest SAP Business Suite Release? Consider an Upgrade

To benefit from the functionality included in the latest SAP enhancement packages, you need to be running the newest releases of SAP Business Suite 7 applications. If you are an SAP R/3 4.6C, SAP R/3 Enterprise, or SAP ERP 2004 customer, for example, you will need to perform a technical upgrade to SAP ERP 6.0 (see Figure 1). To minimize resource costs and the impact on end users, it’s best to couple the installation of the latest enhancement package with the application upgrade so that the company only needs to manage one project.

The upgrade process may require you to:

  • Upgrade to a source release from which you can perform a direct upgrade to the latest offering
  • Change your hardware, operating system, or database platform
  • Perform a Unicode conversion if you use
  • Multiple-Display/Multiple-Processing (MDMP) technology or blended code pages to display languages with different character sets

When upgrading to the latest release of any SAP Business Suite 7 applications and enhancement packages, there are technical prerequisites that you must take into account. Detailed information is available from the SAP Upgrade Info Center at https://service.sap.com/upgrade.

 

Source Release

 

Path

  

Target Release

 

SAP ERP 6.0 with or without enhancement package 

  

Install enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP

  

SAP ERP 6.0, including enhancement package 5

 

SAP R/3 4.6C and above*

 

Upgrade and include enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP

 

SAP ERP 6.0, including enhancement package 5

 

SAP PLM 4.0 and above*

 

Upgrade and include enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP

 

SAP ERP 6.0, including enhancement package 5 and SAP PLM 7.01

 

SAP CRM 7.0

 

Install enhancement package 1 for SAP CRM

 

SAP CRM 7.0, including enhancement package 1

 

SAP CRM 4.0 and above**

 

Upgrade and include enhancement package 1 for SAP CRM

 

SAP CRM 7.0, including enhancement package 1

 

SAP SRM 7.0

 

Install enhancement package 1 for SAP SRM 

 

SAP SRM 7.0, including enhancement package 1

 

SAP SRM 4.0 and above*

 

Upgrade and include enhancement package 1 for SAP SRM

 

SAP SRM 7.0, including enhancement package 1

 

SAP SCM 7.0

 

Install enhancement package 1 for SAP SCM 

 

SAP SCM 7.0, including enhancement package 1

 

SAP SCM 4.1 and above*

 

Upgrade and include enhancement package 1 for SAP SCM

 

SAP SCM 7.0, including enhancement package 1

 
Figure 1 An overview of the direct upgrade paths to the newest releases of the SAP Business Suite 7 applications, including the most recent enhancement packages

Summary

SAP enhancement packages help you to harness the power of innovation in your SAP Business Suite applications. Using the tools that SAP provides, you can start planning your functional roadmap and ensure efficient deployments of your company’s most important platforms, without disrupting your entire end-user population.

Marco Valencia (marco.valencia@sap.com) is Vice President of the Americas SAP Upgrade Office. He is in charge of the overall customer adoption of SAP ERP 6.0, SAP Business Suite 7, and SAP enhancement packages in North America and Latin America. Marco joined SAP in 1996 and has over 17 years of experience in customer advocacy, product management, implementation, and upgrades of SAP solutions. He holds an MBA from Georgia State University, an MS in Quality Management Engineering from the Hochschule, Wismar, in Germany, and a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from ITESM in Mexico City.

* Direct upgrades from these source releases to the latest releases are supported by SAP. [back]

** If you upgrade from SAP CRM 4.0 or 5.0 to SAP CRM 7.0, customer-specific user interfaces (including the underlying coding related to these interfaces) have to be migrated separately. [back]

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