How to make an SAP enhancement pack upgrade 'silent'

Microsoft's SAP release manager gave tips and tricks to a Tech Ed audience

Several years ago, SAP introduced enhancement packs, which were supposed to provide a much easier and less painful way to upgrade its ERP (enterprise resource planning) software. Executives extolled how customers could add new functionality without committing to a full-blown upgrade.

But in reality, the packs involve enough work on the part of customers to inspire a session at last week's Tech Ed conference in Las Vegas that focused on how to make the process as "silent" as possible.

The very notion of SAP upgrades tends to inspire "fear and apprehension" in customers' minds, said speaker Calvin Hill, SAP release manager at Microsoft, which uses SAP ERP.

But enhancement packs are well worth the effort for many reasons, not the least of which is that the new functions provided can help cut down on the amount of custom code companies write, he said.

Some key steps should be followed by all customers weighing enhancement pack upgrades, according to Hill.

For one thing, technical staff should perform a functionality scoping exercise with business users, to determine which enhancement pack features should actually be included in the upgrade and help minimize risk and downtime, he said. It's also important to perform an impact assessment of the changes inside a sandbox environment, Hill added.

SAP is providing tools to help with enhancement pack projects, including a business process change analyzer, he said.

It's wise to consider placing any discretionary SAP system work on hold while the enhancement pack is implemented, he said.

Hill gave his talk in a large conference room with few empty seats, suggesting that many SAP customers are both interested in applying packs but aren't certain of the best way to go about it.

Overall, SAP users are adopting the enhancement pack strategy, but "slowly," said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research.

While the packs have "helped ease the pain" of upgrades, "the promises of plug and play and upgrade when you want is not entirely true," he added.

While SAP has shown no public indication otherwise, it's conceivable that the company could somehow back away from enhancement packs over time in favor of SaaS (software as a service) extensions to the core ERP suite.

The next generation of the suite, which isn't expected to emerge for a number of years, could also provide an improved means for adding functionality instead of continuing with the enhancement pack approach.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags enterprise resource planningMicrosoftsoftwareapplicationsSAP

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Chris Kanaracus

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?