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The Famous SAP Challenge “Upgrade”

Why we need SAP upgrade?

In today’s cut throat competition Organizations have to be always on their toes to manage competition. This requires proper management and proper IT systems that can give that additional advantage to face this stiff competition. This requires constant upgrade of different IT systems used by these organizations which in turn can adapt to the latest technologies and additional functionalities. ERP systems like SAP being one of them. The upgrade of a system can be viewed as necessary because of the following reasons.

  • Business users are requesting new functionality
  • Reduction of interfaces to legacy systems
  • Technical infrastructure is out of date
  • End of maintenance
  • Merger or Acquisition
  • Extended maintenance costs are about to go up


The question

Upgrading an ERP system is not an easy job, especially, when the current systems are tried and tested, proving a boon to the Organizations overall management, optimizing costs, thereby resulting in increased profits. There will be many complexities that may come in the way of the upgrade like:

  • Current operations of the organization might be affected
  • Ongoing projects can be affected
  • Does the Organization have the will to go for it
  • What training logistics will be required to train the end user
  • Will this upgrade be accepted by the end user since he is not used to the changes that may result as regards to the upgrade
  • And most important of all, will this upgrade will be successful

         So does it make sense, to upgrade the system involving such huge complexities?

The Solution

The answer to all the above questions is a big YES.In order for the upgrade to succeed with a proper upgrade methodology you also require

  • Discipline
  • Planning
  • Team Work

   Discipline: You must have the discipline to plan the upgrade and follow the plan. Your solutions can still be creative, but you must be methodical about what you do and how you do it. If you deviate from the plan to fix a problem without documenting it, you may not be able to duplicate that deviation on other upgrades. Conversely, if you deviate from the plan, you may create a problem. The upgrade could even fail because you did not perform the procedures correctly. Unfortunately, a number of people do upgrades (and other tasks) without the required discipline. As a result, problems occur that otherwise should not. Planning:- Do not expect to open the upgrade kit and immediately begin the upgrade without proper planning. A plan is a road map. It tells you where you are going and how to get there. You must be able to reliably duplicate the upgrade for each of your systems. The only way to duplicate an upgrade is to follow a plan. If you do not have a plan documented, your ability to reliably repeat the process for each system decreases. If you cannot repeat the upgrade identically on each system, the end result may be a failed upgrade. Thus, discipline and planning are interrelated. Teamwork:- An upgrade is not just a mySAP Technology (SAP Basis) task. The Upgrade requires many different groups to succeed. Each group must do their part in the upgrade for it to be successful. These groups include

  • mySAP Technology
  • Functional / Business process staff
  • Technical Staff
  • End users
  • Training staff
  • Partners or Consultants
  • SAP

           SAP also provides the SAP Solution Manager which is a helpful tool in the upgrade process by providing centralized control.Also SAP provides an Upgrade Roadmap which can be used in upgrading the system so that we don’t miss out on anything. It can be downloaded from to support the above YES the following should be taken into account.

SAP Upgrades Deliver Business Improvements:-

Although ERP upgrades remain a risky endeavor, recent research suggests that lessons have been learned. An AMR Research report highlighting recent improvements in ERP upgrades notes that upgrade schedules are becoming more predictable and infrastructure costs are declining.Upgrades also deliver benefits. Another AMR Research report, one focused entirely on SAP users, indicates that companies that execute a successful SAP upgrade derive the greatest benefits from business improvements. The top five business improvements SAP upgrades deliver include:

  • Access to new functionality;
  • Business process improvements implemented as part of an upgrade project;
  • Improved ease of use;
  • Lower maintenance costs; and
  • Lower cost of ownership.


The report notes that organizations realized a lower cost of ownership following SAP upgrades than organizations with other ERP systems realized following their upgrades.

The report also indicates that SAP upgrades cost roughly 13 percent less than the average cost of upgrading an ERP system:


From the above explanations it can be figured that upgrades are a cost effective way of adding more value to your system and hence should be surely given a thought.

The below statistics provided by ASUG give an indication for the upcoming future for SAP upgrades.


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