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Author's profile photo Steve Rumsby

Users have very short memories… (an upgrade tip)

About 6 weeks ago we went live with an upgrade from 4.7 to ERP6. In the weeks afterwards, and still now, we had users calling our helpdesk saying “the system is doing this now – before the upgrade it used to do it differently”, or “the upgrade has broken this”. Sometimes this was true, often, though, the user is finding some behaviour they think is odd and attributing it to the upgrade when it has been like that all along. Just today I have been investigating an apparently upgrade-related issue that, it turns out, has nothing at all to do with the upgrade. How can I be sure? Because I kept a copy of our production system as it was pre-upgrade, so I could check! It turns out that the behaviour in question has been that way for the last 12 years, but the user was convinced it was broken by the upgrade!

This happened with our last upgrade also, and we kept that pre-upgrade copy for just over 12 months to make sure we’d been through a complete financial year and run even those activities that happen only once a year. We’ll do the same with the copy this time too.

In these days of virtual servers and storage, keeping a system copy around is pretty simple and costs very little, but it can save a great deal of time and energy. If you are in the middle of an upgrade now and don’t have this in your plan, add it.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hundred percent true. Perhaps users are not very skilled, when they see system as a sort of mystery, they behave like this.

      Author's profile photo Susan Keohan
      Susan Keohan

      Oh, my.  If I had a dollar every time I heard that ( 'It never did that before' ) I would have a lot of dollars.  Good advice to keep the old system running as a reference system. 


      Author's profile photo Custodio de Oliveira
      Custodio de Oliveira

      Hi Steve,

      Great advice. Having a reference system saves a lot of energy that would otherwise be wasted in useless arguments with end users.



      Author's profile photo Paul Hardy
      Paul Hardy

      I have seen this every time we do an upgrade, or indeed a support stack. I find it good news, as often users just ***** about problems to each other without telling IT so we can fix it, this brings things to the surface.

      Just as an academic exercise, what if you told you user base you had just done an upgrade when in fact you had not, everything was really 100% the same as last week, would you still get the flood of "you have broken this"?

      Cheersy Cheers



      One not unreasonable user complaint was when we went from 4.5 to 4.7 and SAP, in their infinite wisdom, changed an ICON on the status bar of VI01 from saying the words "account assignment" to a green arrow ICON which was supposed to be intuitive enough that everyone would know it meant "account assignemt". My user base panicked wondering where their account assignment button had gone. My advice to SAP would be don't make cosmetic changes for the sake of it, unless there is a claer benefit. in this case it was sheer lunacy, it was not as if there was any lack of screen real estate.

      In the same way when the GUI gets updated often an ICON changes from a square to a circle as that is "better" and then in the next version of the GUI it becomes a triangle, and then eventually a square again. Haven't people got anything better to do?

      Author's profile photo Steve Rumsby
      Steve Rumsby
      Blog Post Author

      Your academic exercise reminded me of this similar experiment, related to iPhones not SAP systems. What if you take the current iPhone and tell people it is the new one? Well, you can guess, can't you...

      [embed width="425" height="350"][/embed]

      Author's profile photo Jonathan Brotto
      Jonathan Brotto

      We have all been there. I just did a patch upgrade and many users said the software used to do this that way and I think to myself "no it is all the same". Only thing that has changed is the bugs.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Steve, Virtual architecture makes this brilliant for SAP systems.

      Our best once was that there is a currently a problem with MIRO running slow in production.......

      Turned out it was exactly the same in development 😉

      Author's profile photo Ivan Femia
      Ivan Femia

      Great tip!

      In every upgrade I use a copy of the old system just to avoid these situations and to be able to perform a parallel comparison.

      Most of the times I requested a working test case on the old system to be compared with the "buggy" new one, this approach auto-solve many issues before they would be raised.