Today I want to write about the implementation process of SAP enhancement packages for SAP ERP. As I already explained SAP changed the strategy to deliver new functionality: Instead of releases SAP now delivers SAP enhancement packages which are optional to install. The starting point is to identify which new functionality is required. SAP enhancement packages strictly separate the technical installation (Please keep in mind: You do this selectively, as it is now possible to update only parts of the solution) from activation of the new functionality. Activation is usually done in a second project, during a “normal” functional implementation project (I bet you already know what this part is about: The famous “switch framework”). So today I want to talk about the boundaries and necessary steps around applying SAP enhancement packages. After reading this blog you will also be able to tell the difference between SAP enhancement packages and Support Packages.
First of all I want to start with some recommendations on the installation strategy: With the SAP enhancement package concept it is possible to decouple the installation process from the activation and implementation of new functionality as no UI and process changes takes place during the installation. Furthermore you can continuously provide the newest functionality to your system while applying Support Packages, as a regular maintenance activity. In order to use synergies and to minimize effort (especially regarding potentially needed modification adjustments and tests), SAP ERP enhancement packages should be applied within one queue, together with the required (” equivalent”) Support Packages. Using this strategy, SAP enhancement packages can be installed without causing additional disruption as a normal maintenance activity together with Support Packages. Please note that once an SAP enhancement package is installed, you cannot reverse the installation (same is true for the activation process via the Switch Framework). If you are not sure if you want to leverage dedicated functionality, use a Sandbox System to explore the new functionality.
So here are the most important steps (from a technical perspective) when installing SAP enhancement packages for SAP ERP.
1. Get information on which “Business Function” (this is the switchable unit which is well described from a functional perspective) should be used:
This is usually provided by a business expert. If someone tells you to install the whole SAP enhancement package, please ask which Business Function(s) he or she wants to use, as it is not reasonable to install the “complete” SAP enhancement package (The complete bill of material includes ABAP and Java software components as well as SAP BI/EP/PI content..). You can find the complete list of Business Functions as well as the mapping to processes and scenarios in the Service Marketplace. Please remember: SAP enhancement packages are a delta shipment for SAP ERP 6.0, so please make also sure that also additional technical components (e.g. Trex) could be required. You find more information in the release notes, documentation and the Master Guide about it. By the way: Your feedback about our documentation is most welcome – just drop me a mail.
2. Map the business function(s) to the corresponding Technical Usage(s):
Once you have the Business Functions, you have to find out the software components you need. Besides ABAP software components, you might need to update Java components, portal content, or XI content as well. To help you ensure consistency, we have bundled ABAP components, Java components, portal content, and XI content as “Technical Usages.”
The following SAP Notes provide information about the mapping of business functions to a Technical Usage, including the underlying software components contained in SAP enhancement packages for SAP ERP 6.0:
3. Check that all prerequisites are met :
First, bring your SAP Solution Manager up-to-date. In order to use the Maintenance Optimizer application, you need SAP Solution Manager 4.0 with the highest support package level in your system landscape. Your system landscape has to be maintained in the Solution Manager system. You can find more information about the SAP Solution Manager at help.sap.com > SAP Solutions > SAP Solution Manager. Please make also sure that you have installed the latest SPAM/SAINT update in your system. As you need a certain Support Package level in your system let the Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer calculate the needed (and equivalent) Support Packages for you. They can be included in the installation queue – the details are explained in the next step.
Please note that if you have an add-on installed in your system, ask your add-on provider whether it is compatible with the SAP enhancement package for SAP ERP 6.0. See SAP note 1117309 for details of add-ons delivered by SAP.
4. Identify and download SAP enhancement packages using SAP Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer:
If you use the SAP Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer – as strongly recommended and already required for downloading Support Packages in general – you only need the name of the Technical Usage to install all needed software components. Based on that information, the SAP Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer calculates the needed software components and Support Packages automatically. Create a new maintenance transaction for updating your system with SAP enhancement packages for SAP ERP 6.0. A guided procedure leads you through the preparation process for updating your systems. Select all systems that are affected by the application of the SAP enhancement package. In the next step of the guided procedure, you select the Technical Usages you want to apply to your systems. The Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer automatically calculates all needed Support Packages and new software component versions needed for installing the previously selected Technical Usages. As a result, the Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer creates the Stack-XML file that can be read by the installation tools to create a valid import queue. You can find further information about the Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer at service.sap.com/solman-mopz, detailed documentation at help.sap.com > SAP Solution Manager > (select your preferred language) in the “Change Management” section.
Please remember: The software components of SAP enhancement packages for SAP ERP 6.0 contain new developments (as we partially replace existing software components). Therefore, if you take a look at your system after applying the SAP enhancement package software components, you will find software components in version 600 (e.g. with Support Package level 10) as well as software components in version 602 (e.g. SAP enhancement package 2 with Support Package level 0 which contains equivalent corrections to SP level 10 of the same component in version 600).
I illustrated for you the “equivalence” level between SAP ERP 6.0 Support Packages and the Support Packages for the SAP enhancement packages:
As you can see equivalent Support Packages are time-synchronized Support packages for different versions of one software component, for example: 600 SPS13 ~ 602 SPS3 ~ 603 SPS2.
5. Install the required Support Package Stack and include all selected parts of the SAP enhancement package. The tool to use for installation depends on the type of software component:
- ABAP software components are installed using the SAINT tool or the SAP enhancement packages installer (currently available on a pilot base, advantage: minimizes downtime).
- Java software components are installed using the JSPM tool.
- Portal Content is installed using the JSPM tool as well.
- XI Content is usually uploaded from within the Integration Repository, which is part of usage type Process Integration (PI) of SAP NetWeaver.
- BI Content is applied as common Support Packages.
From a system landscape or project perspective please keep in mind that all activities must be performed in the “normal” sequence, for example:
a) Setup sandbox, perform Installation/Update (enhancement packages/support package stack) and get familiar with the new functionality
b) Setup temporary maintenance system for the EhP installation project (for emergency corrections), as it is in general not recommended to transport between systems with different structure (e.g. 600 -> 603, this is also true for systems with different activated Business Functions)
c) Perform installation in DEV (development system), perform modification adjustment, etc.
d) Perform installation in QAS (quality assurance system), perform integration test, etc.
e) Perform installation in PRD (productive system) & Go-Live/Support
In general you should have most of the procedures already in place, as most customers regularely implement Support Package Stacks.
If you are interested in a SAP enhancement package roadmap, please let me know.
6. Activate the business function – depending on your planning, either directly, or separately, after the installation procedure:
With the Switch Framework, it is possible to control the activation of SAP ERP objects. Activating a business function triggers switches, which then enables the execution of the code enhancements. These switches ensure that you only see the new functions if you have activated them. My colleague Thomas wrote a great blog about the enhancement and switch framework, which I can highly recommend. All functional changes and the impact of an activated business function are made transparent in advance by the documentation. Bear in mind that once a business function is activated you cannot reverse it. Please note: The activation process starts a job in your SAP system which automatically performs all changes in the system.
So now lets get a little bit more practical, it’s time for a small example:
Let’s assume the customer wants to install the Business Function: HCM, Administrative Services.
We can easily see in the mapping note (step 2) that the Technical Usage: HCM – Administrative Services must be installed.
The Technical Usage “HCM, Administrative Services” contains EA-HR 602 and Portal Content: BP for HR Admin.
For this the correct target stack (equivalence) would be the following:
SAP ERP 6.0 – Support Package Stack 12 -> SAP enhancement package 2 – Support Package Stack 2 -> SAP Netweaver 7.0 – Support Package Stack 15
I illustrated the target state in the next picture.
Please don’t worry, this is automatically calculated by the Maintenance Optimizer.
Congratulations! Now you are able to describe the overall implementation sequence as well as the technical details of the installation process. I hope I also shed light on the equivalence level. As we allow now mixed software component versions within one logical system it is important to understand their relationship. If you want further information please have a look at the documentation we provide: E.g. the SAP enhancement package installation guide, master guide and the corresponding SAP Notes.
Update: Live Expert Session at Teched
I can highly recommend Teched session LCM202: “What IT Professionals Need To Know about SAP Enhancement Packages” – here I will talk about the the architecture, technology facts and implementation procedure of SAP enhancement packages.