How to Tackle Upgrades to SAP ERP 6.0
Upgrading is always a sensitive topic, whether from a cost or complexity standpoint. However, technology does not stand still, which is why it is such an important part of all facets of business. Having focused on helping customers around the world upgrade over the past year plus, I would like to share my team’s various experiences with SAP upgrades with you. Based on comments and questions we regularly encounter from customers at user group events, meetings, projects, and other occasions, the following topics are the most recurring:
- What upgrade strategies exist and which one should my organization choose?
- What does enterprise SOA have to do with an upgrade? Can I upgrade to enterprise SOA?
- What’s the actual value of an upgrade?
- With enhancement packages for SAP ERP, why do I need to upgrade?
Over the next several entries, I’ll address each of these questions, starting today with the first.
Part I: Determining an Upgrade Strategy – Taking a Multistep Approach
To successfully execute an upgrade to SAP ERP 6.0 in a short time with as little downtime as possible, your organization needs to map out a well-defined upgrade strategy. The strategy must encompass an approach and project scope based on the individual circumstances, the motivation and the aims of your organization. Without clarity on these fronts, it will be difficult to manage an upgrade effectively to gain the achievements sought. This project strategy has a great effect not only on upgrade project duration and effort, but also on the immediate ROI of the upgrade. In order to take advantage of all opportunities, appropriate planning and management is what’s most required and will set the tone for success.
Actually, there are not several upgrade strategies to choose from – just a strategic roadmap organizations need to follow. This roadmap usually consists of several stages that progressively expand functionality, increase business value, and prepare the organization for the transition to enterprise SOA, minimizing risk along the way. This process typically lasts three to five years with three distinct phases: the technical upgrade, functional enhancements, and strategic enhancements.
Most upgrade projects start with a technical upgrade followed by a functional upgrade in subsequent projects. This means that a pure technical upgrade is usually the enabler for growth and continuous business innovation. It provides the foundation that leads to the next steps in the upgrade approach, reducing risk while allowing a staged introduction of functionality at the pace most suitable for the business.
In my next entry, I’ll expand further about the technical upgrade and what it involves. Thanks for reading.