How To Tackle an Upgrade: Enhancement Packages for SAP ERP
In How To Tackle an Upgrade (5): Upgrade Services for the Planning Phase of this series, I focused on the services that can assist you in the planning phase of your upgrade project. Today I will answer some of the most frequently asked customer questions regarding enhancement packages, support packages, and upgrades.
At SAPPHIRE Orlando and Berlin, we received great feedback for the enhancement package approach as a less disruptive deployment method. A lot of discussions focused on this topic, especially on how to install enhancement packages and activate functionality, and the relationship between enhancement packages and support packages.
I’d like to start by outlining the two major aspects to SAP enhancement packages (EhPs) that are different from other, older technologies: Selective installation and selective activation.
Selective installation of software components
SAP EhPs allow you to update a subset of the SAP ERP 6.0 software components. You update only those components you want to enhance from a functionality perspective. The Solution Manager Maintenance Optimizer automatically identifies the relevant installation packages according to the current system status and the chosen technical usages. As the whole procedure is highly automated, the Maintenance Optimizer also provides a configuration file for the installation tools.
Impact of installation and support packages
The installation of an SAP EhP has no impact on existing business processes or user interfaces, as long as no business function has been activated. The installation also has no impact on the underlying SAP NetWeaver platform. However, the installation of SAP EhPs requires a defined SAP ERP support package (SP) stack, including a certain level of SAP ERP and SAP NetWeaver support packages, and you might need to perform a modification adjustment (SPDD/SPAU). In case you have modified the SAP code in your system and you do not install the SP stack and the EhP in one step, you need to perform the modification adjustment twice, since SAP EhPs also contain corrections from the equivalent
Recommendations on installation strategy
Since the installation process is decoupled from activation of functions, you can now continuously provide the newest functionality to the system along with your regular maintenance activities. In order to minimize effort (especially for potential modification adjustments and to avoid double testing), SAP ERP EhPs should be installed together with the required SPs.
Using this strategy, SAP EhPs can be installed without causing disruption as a normal maintenance activity together with SPs. The effort to install an enhancement package including the latest SPs is only little more (depending on the customer situation) than installing the latest SP stack only. Please note that once an enhancement package is installed, you cannot reverse the installation.
Selective activation of new functionality
Using the switch framework, you can control the activation of SAP ERP objects. Activating a business function triggers switches which in turn “influence” the execution of the code enhancements. These switches ensure that you only see the new functions if you have activated them. You don’t have to activate all functions at once; you can activate specific new functions later, on demand. After activation, integration and acceptance testing can be limited to the improved processes and end users the newly activated functions affect. SAP delivers test case templates for every business function to help you identify these processes and users. Additional regression testing is not required after activation.
- Once a business function is activated, you cannot reverse it
- The activation process starts a job in your SAP system which automatically performs all changes in the system.
In terms of effort, SAP enhancement packages are lightweight compared to upgrades. They can be installed as a normal maintenance activity, together with support packages. Release upgrades, on the other hand, require all software components installed in an SAP software system to be upgraded regardless of your specific business needs.
For an SP stack for SAP ERP 6.0, you will always find a corresponding and required SP stack for your EhP. SAP EhP 2 for SAP ERP 6.0 is delivered as a delta shipment to SAP ERP 6.0. You thus need a minimal technical prerequisite for installing SAP EhP 2 for SAP ERP 6.0, which is SAP ERP 6.0 SP stack 10, as documented in the SAP Notes tool – SAP Note #1052470 and related notes.
You can find very useful information about SAP Enhancement Packages in What IT professionals need to know about SAP enhancement packages for SAP ERP and in this The specified item was not found..