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Critical steps and considerations to succeed throughout your upgrade life cycle

by Amy Thistle

October 4, 2012

This tip was taken from the upcoming session, “Critical steps and considerations to succeed throughout your upgrade life cycle: Technical upgrade, functional upgrade, and ongoing enhancement package maintenance” and will be presented by Lon Blake, Emergys Corporation, at the upcoming Managing Your SAP Projects Conference 2012, October 29-31 in Las Vegas.

This tip provides an explanation on how to differentiate between technical and functional upgrades.

Technical vs. Functional Upgrades

Technical upgrades (new baseline)

In a technical upgrade, minimal changes are made to the application functionality implemented:

  • These minimal changes are those changes forced by changes in SAP code
  • Typical forced changes that must be adopted during a technical upgrade include:
    • Replacing one transaction by another (e.g., transaction MN01N replaces transaction MN01)
    • Adding new fields to records, particularly new required fields
    • Changing the location or interfaces of user exits
    • Changing the table structure, particularly when the content of a table is split into a number of tables
  • Technical upgrades do not e xploit new functionality or extend existing functionality — they only replace existing functionality
  • All existing business processes and interfaces should be thoroughly tested
  • Those changes that must be made are referred to as mandatory

Functional upgrades
In a functional upgrade, some new functionality is exploited and rolled out during the upgrade project, in addition to all the forced changes mentioned previously:

  • Additional business and functional resources will be required to document and configure new functionality
  • Additional testing is highly recommended to ensure that new functionality works as expected and does not break existing functionality
  • Those changes that are not mandatory are referred to as discretionary

For more information on managing your SAP projects along with other tips from Lon and our expert roster of speakers, make sure to register for the upcoming Projects 2012 event, Oct. 29-31 in Las Vegas. (

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