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/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/sap_updates_102828.jpgVisualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN) was “born” in November 2007 when Nakisa’s products became a solution extension of SAP. Since that initial 1.0 release, the product has evolved, most recently with the release of 4.0 SP1 in April 2013. You can read about the product’s history in Ibrahim Nagy’s blog “History of SAP Talent and Org Visualization by Nakisa Solution Extensions“.  Even prior to November 2007, Nakisa’s products were SAP certified solutions when they existed as Nakisa OrgManagement Series (NOMS). 

You can ascertain your current VSN configuration product version by using this wiki article.

In short, many companies have implemented Nakisa’s products and the probability is that almost all are not on the latest product and service pack version. I have implemented Nakisa’s solutions on every product version since 2006, but recently I have observed a new level of enthusiasm for customers to upgrade.

So why are they bothering?


Reasons Why Customers Upgrade

Here are my observations on why customers are upgrading their VSN implementations.

No Licence Cost

One very positive point is that there is no licence implication for upgrading your installation if you are replacing like for like (e.g. upgrading OrgChart from version 1.1 to 4.0).  However, do contact your SAP Account Manager if you are considering expanding your use of VSN (e.g. upgrading from OrgChart 1.1 to 4.0 and implementing TeamManager).

Take up of SAP EhP4 / EhP5 / EhP6

All SAP Org Visualization by Nakisa (SOVN) 4.0 applications are supported back to SAP 4.7.  From 4.0 SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa (STVN) are only supported from ECC6 EhP4, which makes sense since SAP’s Talent Management data model changed significantly in May 2009 with the GA release of EhP4.

Talent Management take up has of course driven demand for STVN, but it has also created additional demand for SAP Org Visualization by Nakisa (SOVN).  This is because of the need to have (and keep) organisational data accurate.  Without good organisational management data there can be negative impacts on security and processes.

SOVN and STVN Product Maturity

I believe the release of the 4.0 versions of SOVN and STVN marked a significant milestone for the maturity of the products for the following reasons:

  • Product is now fully ported onto the SAP NetWeaver platform.
  • SOVN OrgChart and OrgAudit (formerly DataQualityConsole) support for SAP versions from 4.7 through to ECC 6.0 EhP6.  OrgModeler and TeamManager support for 4.0 versions from SAP ECC 6.0 onwards.
  • Product capability extended with new modules from 3.0 (DataQualityConsole, TeamManager, CareerPlanning) and with OrgHub for Mobile (delivered as standard with 4.0 SP1 for iOS 5 or 6).
  • New features in existing modules (e.g. SocialLink in OrgChart) – see Features and Functions below.
  • User interface greatly improved from 3.0 with introduction of Web 2.0 concepts (e.g. Flash based charts and analytics, use of web services and social web features).
  • “Out of the box” product is pre-configured to provide a higher percentage of most client’s requirements (e.g. more data in the details panels, multiple views, security roles)
  • New file structure introduced in 3.0 to help manage customer specific changes and upgradability
  • AdminConsole capability continually improving.

IT Environment

Another driver I have seen is a customer’s drive to update their system landscape.  This can be server side, such as the move from the .NET version of the applications (pre 2.1 NW versions) or just to a certain level of OS support to align with other applications the IT department supports. It can also be client side, such as browser support; for example, from version 3.0, Internet Explorer 6.0 (IE6) support was dropped, but IE8 support was added. From 4.0 support for IE9 and FireFox 10.x was added.

Bug Fixes

Often the reason to upgrade is to resolve an identified issue, normally following advice received via the SAP Support Portal.  Often the recommendation will be to apply a later build (same product and service pack version).  These builds are often downloaded via a SAPMats link provided by SAP.  This is the easiest type of “upgrade” to do.  Bug fixes are also included in every service pack but the process for upgrading to take advantage of them can be a little more involved.

More on “how” to do both types of updates in my final part of this blog series.

Features and Functions

Far and away the biggest driver for change will be where the business has a requirement that is not currently met by the existing version but is available in a future version.

The tables below identify the key feature improvements you can take advantage of.  There is a table per module which has a list of common (to all applications) improvements for that product version and the application specific improvements.  The common features are repeated in each table for ease of reading; simply read the table(s) for the application(s) and product version you currently have.

SAP Org Visualization

Module

OrgChart

Product

Key Features (Common)

Key Features (Application specific)

1.x

  • n/a
  • n/a

2.0

  • Actionable Charts.
  • Profile Pages.
  • Additional OrgChart Views.
  • Bulk printing.

2.1

  • Available on SAP NW CE.
  • Flash based analytics.
  • Bi-Directional Language support.
  • Export to PowerPoint 2007.
  • Accessibility mode.
  • Cost Centre and Manager inheritance.
  • Call From feature.
  • Demographics.
  • Pre-configured security roles.

3.0

  • Improved user interface.
  • Flash based charts.
  • Improved Printing and Exporting.
  • IE8 support.
  • SocialLinkTM module introduced.

3.0 SP1

  • Active Directory support.
  • Caption Editor.
  • Cookie based user preferences.
  • Export to CSV & Excel for Listings.
  • Enhanced Printing.
  • ChartBook re-designed.
  • Work Council and Assistant filter.
  • AD integrated authentication.
  • Accessibility mode for SocialLink.

3.0 SP2

  • Available on SAP NW 7.3.
  • Templates for Print / Exports.
  • Dynamic chart rooting.
  • Position Cost Centre inheritance.

3.0 SP3

  • Enhanced AdminConsole.
  • Scroll to zoom.

Note: Export to PPT Object removed.

4.0
  • Enhanced Hierarchy, View and Detail Designers in AdminConsole.
  • Multi Tenancy Support.

Note: Structural Auths not supported in this release (expected in 4.0 SP1).  SAP_Live_2 build retired.  Call From feature removed.

4.0 SP1
  • Details panel history.
  • Extended ChartBook functionality.
  • HTML printing wizard improvements
  • AdminConsole improvements
  • OrgHub for Mobile.
  • Support for structural authorizations.

Module

OrgModeler

Product

Key Features (Common)

Key Features (Application specific)

1.x

  • n/a
  • n/a

2.0

  • Actionable Charts.
  • Profile Pages.
  • Bulk printing.

2.1

  • Available on SAP NW CE.
  • Flash based analytics.
  • Bi-Directional Language support.
  • Export to PowerPoint 2007.
  • Accessibility mode.
  • Effective Dated Views.
  • Linked Employee hierarchy.
  • Additional OrgChart Views.
  • Cost Centre and Manager inheritance.
  • Call From feature.

3.0

  • Improved user interface.
  • Flash based charts.
  • Improved Printing and Exporting.
  • IE8 support.

3.0 SP1

  • Active Directory support.
  • Caption Editor.
  • Cookie based user preferences.
  • Export to CSV & Excel for Listings.
  • Enhanced Printing.
  • ChartBook re-designed.

3.0 SP2

  • Available on SAP NW 7.3.
  • Templates for Print / Exports.
  • ChartBook templates.

3.0 SP3

  • Enhanced AdminConsole.
  • Scroll to zoom.
  • Role based security.
  • Public / Private Notes.
4.0
  • Enhanced Hierarchy, View and Detail Designers in AdminConsole.
  • Multi Tenancy Support.
  • ALE/IDoc solution.
  • Scenario templates.
  • Sync models with SAP HCM delta.
  • Write Back to SAP HCM.
  • Change report (in addition to log).
  • Live analytics with KPI targets.
4.0 SP1
  • Details panel history.
  • Extended ChartBook functionality.
  • HTML printing wizard improvements
  • AdminConsole improvements
  • Support for dynamic rooting.
  • Additional fields for new objects.
  • Additional fields for position objects.
  • KPI information added to org unit details panels.
  • Colour indicators added to KPI information.
  • Information icon for non-31-Dec-9999 dates.
  • New CSV import wizard for data imports.
  • Administrator can set upwards cascadability of delimit action.
  • Improvements to synchronisation.
  • Increased limit of scenario write back actions to 10,000.
  • Write back now supports employee assignments.
  • ValidateWriteBack right added.
  • IDoc listener is running indicator.
  • Support for assistants and councils.
  • New scenario analytics wizard.
  • Chart security in AdminConsole.
  • Everyone and assistant roles removed.

Module

TeamManager

Product

Key Features (Common)

Key Features (Application specific)

3.0

  • Improved user interface.
  • Flash based charts.
  • Improved Printing and Exporting.
  • IE8 support.
  • New Module.

3.0 SP1

  • Active Directory support.
  • Caption Editor.
  • Cookie based user preferences.
  • Export to CSV & Excel for Listings.
  • Enhanced Printing.

3.0 SP2

  • Available on SAP NW 7.3.
  • Templates for Print / Exports.

3.0 SP3

  • Enhanced AdminConsole.
  • Scroll to zoom.
4.0
  • Enhanced Hierarchy, View and Detail Designers in AdminConsole.
  • Multi Tenancy Support.
  • Improved Print & Export wizard.
  • Right to left language support.
  • Manage OUs under AOR
4.0 SP1
  • Details panel history.
  • Extended ChartBook functionality.
  • HTML printing wizard improvements
  • AdminConsole improvements
  • Template based View Designer.
  • Updated Details Designer.
  • Writebacks form module (in AdminConsole).
  • Resource bundles now available.
  • Everyone and assistant roles removed.

Module

OrgAudit

(also known as DataQualityConsole prior to 4.0)

Product

Key Features (Common)

Key Features (Application specific)

3.0

  • Improved user interface.
  • Flash based charts.
  • Improved Printing and Exporting.
  • IE8 support.
  • New Module.

3.0 SP1

  • Active Directory support.
  • Caption Editor.
  • Cookie based user preferences.
  • Export to CSV & Excel for Listings.
  • Enhanced Printing.

3.0 SP2

  • Available on SAP NW 7.3.
  • Expanded list of rules.
  • Two new hierarchies (company code and the position reporting structure).
  • Rule scores introduced.

3.0 SP3

  • Enhanced AdminConsole.
  • Scroll to zoom.
  • Three new rules.
  • Company Code Score Trend.
  • New listings (Org Unit, Position, and Employee).
  • Templates for Print / Exports.
4.0
  • Enhanced Hierarchy, View and Detail Designers in AdminConsole.
  • Multi Tenancy Support.
  • ChartBook.
  • 48 rules.
  • Revised scoring (as %).
  • A new dashboard, Score on Organization Unit (12 Months).
  • Error Correction tab introduced.
  • Score tab on OU details panel.
  • Role base security.
4.0 SP1
  • Details panel history.
  • Extended ChartBook functionality.
  • HTML printing wizard improvements
  • AdminConsole improvements
  • Improvements to details panel embedded listings.
  • Improved interface for rule template creation and editing.
  • Everyone and assistant roles removed.

SAP Talent Visualization

Module

TalentHubEmployee

(previously called CareerPlanning in 3.0)

Product

Key Features (Common)

Key Features (Application specific)

3.0

  • Improved user interface.
  • Flash based charts.
  • Improved Printing and Exporting.
  • IE8 support.
  • New Module.

3.0 SP1

  • Active Directory support.
  • Caption Editor.
  • Cookie based user preferences.
  • Export to CSV & Excel for Listings.
  • Enhanced Printing.

3.0 SP2

  • Available on SAP NW 7.3.
  • Templates for Print / Exports.
  • No longer uses TREX.

3.0 SP3

  • Enhanced AdminConsole.
  • Scroll to zoom.
  • Write-back Refresh.
4.0
  • Improved AdminConsole capabilities.
  • Role based security.
  • Development Planning.
4.0 SP1
  • Details panel history.
  • Extended ChartBook functionality.
  • HTML printing wizard improvements
  • AdminConsole improvements
  • New filters or My Development Plan (tab).
  • Improved self assignment of activities.
  • Mobility information included in write back.
  • Two new roles for limited access.

Module

TalentHubHRExec and TalentHubManager

(previously called SuccessionPlanning)

Product

Key Features (Common)

Key Features (Application specific)

1.x

  • n/a

2.0

  • Actionable Charts.
  • Profile Pages.
  • Talent Groups and Successor Pools.

2.1

  • Available on SAP NW CE.
  • Flash based analytics.
  • Bi-Directional Language support.
  • Export to PowerPoint 2007.
  • Accessibility mode.
  • Aligned with EhP4.
  • Profile Match.
  • Flash Grids.
  • Essential Competencies flag.

3.0

  • Improved user interface.
  • Flash based charts.
  • Improved Printing and Exporting.
  • IE8 support.
  • Process Guided Wizards.

3.0 SP1

  • ActiveDirectory support.
  • Caption Editor.
  • Cookie based user preferences.
  • Export to CSV & Excel for Listings.
  • Enhanced Printing.

3.0 SP2

  • Available on SAP NW 7.3.
  • Templates for Print / Exports.
  • Preferred Jobs shown.

3.0 SP3

  • Enhanced AdminConsole.
  • Scroll to zoom.
  • Performance improvements.
  • Write-back refresh.
  • Performance/Potential graph now shows last 3 assessments.
4.0
  • Improved AdminConsole capabilities.

For HR & Exec:

  • Development Planning
  • Application now combines TalentFramework & SuccessionPlanning for HR/Exec users.

For Managers:

  • Three new tasks are available for managers:
    • Nominate position as a key position
    • Nominate employee for a successor pool
    • Nominate employee for a talent group
  • Managers can only nominate successors for positions in their area of responsibility
4.0 SP1
  • Details panel history.
  • Extended ChartBook functionality.
  • HTML printing wizard improvements
  • AdminConsole improvements

For HR & Exec:

  • Talent Groups can be created/modified/deleted.
  • New filters in Employee Details panel.
  • New assignment of targets and activities (to employees) wizards.
  • Option to create activities via All Activities listing.
  • Option to create targets via All Targets listing.
  • Updated interface and export features for the grid.
  • Dashboard analytics can be exported to image.
  • Administrators can set the default console by role.
  • Administrators can set default listings fields by User Console.
  • Three new roles for limited access.

For Managers:

  • Succession Calibration grid.
  • New filters in Employee Details panel.
  • New assignment of targets and activities (to employees) wizards.
  • Option to create activities via All Activities listing.
  • Option to create targets via All Targets listing.
  • Administrators can set default listings fields by User Console.

Module

TalentFramework

(from 4.0 it is part of TalentHubHRExec – see above)

Product

Key Features (Common)

Key Features (Application specific)

1.x

  • n/a

2.0

  • Actionable Charts.
  • Profile Pages.
  • Talent Groups and Successor Pools.

2.1

  • Available on SAP NW CE.
  • Flash based analytics.
  • Bi-Directional Language support.
  • Export to PowerPoint 2007.
  • Accessibility mode.
  • Aligned with EhP4.
  • Cascading competencies.

3.0

  • Improved user interface.
  • Flash based charts.
  • Improved Printing and Exporting.
  • IE8 support.

3.0 SP1

  • Active Directory support.
  • Caption Editor.
  • Cookie based user preferences.
  • Export to CSV & Excel for Listings.
  • Enhanced Printing.

3.0 SP2

  • Available on SAP NW 7.3.
  • Templates for Print / Exports.

3.0 SP3

  • Enhanced AdminConsole.
  • Scroll to zoom.
  • Write-back Refresh.

The tables above are a simplification of the overall product development and I recommend you research further if you want more detailed information on a particular version or feature.

For 3.0 service packs, then I recommend reading the following blog posts (and comments) by Luke Marson:

Similarly, for 4.0 I recommend reading the Luke Marson’s blog What’s new in Visualization Solutions by Nakisa 4.0.

For more information on OrgHub for Mobile (OrgChart on an iPad), see Hands on with Nakisa OrgHub for Mobile – Part 1.

In my experience, the four biggest drivers for upgrading are:

  • Improved user interface
  • Performance
  • Printing and exporting capability
  • SAP version support

Can I Upgrade?

If you meant “Can I upgrade to the latest version?”, then the answer is “Yes”.

If you really meant “Can I automatically upgrade to the latest version?”, then the answer is “No” … if only it was that simple!

In the second part of my blog series I look at how to prepare for upgrading, before concluding in part three with how to go about the upgrade.

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7 Comments

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  1. Luke Marson

    Hi Stephen,

    This is an excellent blog and an inspired series. I’m looking forward to part 2 and 3 already!

    Best regards,

    Luke

    (0) 
    1. Sri vk

      Hi Stephen

      I have same comment as Luke great blog, and really helped many of upgrade questions, which I had to suggest my client.

      Regards

      Sri

      (0) 
  2. Robert Osterhaus

    The cost to implement (professional services) and lack of additional functionality are the reason we haven’t moved from v1.1… the tool is lightly if never used.

    (0) 
    1. Stephen Burr Post author

      Robert,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. 

      I don’t know what kind of experience you had implementing v1.1 (not smooth by the sounds of it!) but the product has improved greatly in 3.0 (so less customer specific work required in general) and a skilled consultant is typically only spending a handful of days configuring an application now (I normally have the out of the box applications running in a few hours).

      I understand your point about “not upgrading” as I think a high % of the benefit of using OrgChart is achieved with any of the release versions.  The core functionality is to provide an electronic org structure available to all … and that is what it does!

      You raise another good point … how much use is the application getting? 

      My experience tells me that this depends heavily on how and where the application is deployed, as well as the users it targets.  SAP TVN applications mostly target managers and talent management specialists doing specific succession activities, so get used extensively during those processes.  Most of SAP OVN applications get more use by HR professionals and so the user base is low, but hopefully they are benefiting in a large way.  OrgChart is the most commonly deployed application and when it is deployed to all employees via the portal then it can provide a useful and common reference point for all.  Often the driver for using SOVN is a transformation (either business re-organisation or to re-design OM).  One of my colleagues wrote a blog about SOVN OrgChart benefits which you can find here.

      However, as with all technology I sense the real “win” comes when it is embedded into a process to make that work better.  A good example of this is the embedded OrgChart in MSS.

      Thanks again.

      Stephen

      (0) 

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