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Be Careful with Enhancement Packages

by Davin Wilfrid

June 4, 2010

By Davin Wilfrid, ERP Expert

When it comes to staying current with the latest SAP technology, your typical university may be far ahead of the typical business. Introducing a panel discussion among some of SAP’s university customers, Keith Harmon of SAP Labs said more than 90% of those customers have upgraded to SAP ERP 6.0.

The purpose of the panel was to discuss tips and best practices for implementing SAP enhancement packages. The primary lesson was to avoid underestimating the complexity of an enhancement package project.

For John Rathje of Central Michigan University, the enhancement package implementation was similar to an upgrade project. CMU decided to implement enhancement packages to capitalize on functionality available in enhancement package 4, but first implemented enhancement package 3 as a trial run. The project team also implemented all functionality available in enhancement package 3, which turned out to be a misstep, says Rathje.

“If we did it all over again, we would only install what we needed,” he says.

The issue, according to Rathje and others on the panel, is that functionality implemented in one enhancement package cannot be “switched off” during a subsequent enhancement package project, forcing your team to upgrade capabilities you may not be using. A better practice, according to the panel, is to implement only the functionality you need.

Other keys to success included ensuring you have a team member with SAP Solution Manager expertise, using the downtime-minimized approach offered by SAP, treating the implem entation as an upgrade project (making full use of your sandbox environment), and sending SAP support detailed messages for faster resolution.  

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