So it has been about 8 weeks since my last blog post and I have been itching to get back to writing again, but I have been so very busy in the middle of the go-live of my MDMP Combined Upgrade and Unicode conversion go-live that I have literally had no time to myself.
That project has just consumed the last 14 months of my life, and I would like to give you a brief overview of the project and some of the things I have learnt on it. Just so that you do not run into the same issues that I did.
The first thing you need to know is what does MDMP stand for – Multi-display, Multi-processing. Basically it allows SAP to display different character sets. In the non-Unicode world there are not enough ASCII characters to display all the available characters in languages like Arabic, Cyrillic, Latin, Chinese and other pictoral languages. So it was decided to give languages different ‘code pages’ and the associated ASCII values were defined by the International Standards Organisation (ISO) – although that did not stop companies tweaking them (which caused me great issues) In the Unicode world, there is enough ASCII values for everyone and so all characters can be represented – Woo Hoo!!.
For my project, I had a smallish database, about 500GB on an R/3 4.6c system (the eagle eyed/practised among you will spot my early pain). This system had over 10 languages in 5 code pages
When faced with such a sight, the first sane reaction is to run for the hills, the other reaction is to crack your knuckles and get stuck in – I guess that pretty much marks me as not being sane.
In a stroke of luck, the client was subject to rigorous compliancy, this meant that documentation and process standards were enforced throughout the project. This had the benefit of ensuring that no-one could go off-piste and do something unsanctioned. I have seen projects where someone has been left watching something for too long and done something stupid out of boredom.
Once I got my breath back after looking at the complexity of the task ahead of me, I sat down with my Technical Design Authority (who had already been on the project for a year) to plan how we would tackle this beast. It was at this point that we started hitting major stumbling blocks, some of which were not purely technical, but the effects were felt primarily in the technical parts of the project, and have taught me some very valuable lessons which are not easily forgotten.
On the positive side the project did go live, a little later than planned, about 6 months later than originally planned. This was primarily due to data issues with the several languages, that meant a great deal of data analysis needed to be completed by the technical and business analysts.
I will explore these issues in greater detail in some more posts, so that people can side step the issues that I faced.