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Author's profile photo Gerard Christopher

SAP Upgrade -Things to consider

Many  SAP projects have failed  due to reasons which could have been avoided  in the first place . The cost the company pays  will always be in terms of business impact affecting revenue and loss of trust  on the vendor.

In my experience with   SAP upgrades  there are few things  a sap project manager or a Basis consultant should always watch out for .

  • Think Production from the beginning :  Even from the moment you start your development system upgrade, always think how will you handle the situation in production . Perform you due diligence in the production system and make sure you follow a similar upgrade strategy from  Development to Production. Documentation of issues faced and taking care of them beforehand in subsequent upgrades is the key.
  • Decide what is in-scope and out of scope – Never add last minute additions to the upgrade projects however tempting it might be . Several projects begin as a plan upgrade project but  may add migrations and new implementation along with that .  Always  decide what’s in-scope and out of scope, Keep additional  SAP project work out of  your upgrade downtime .
  • Decide on a Change management strategy :  Your change freeze will depend on whether you are performing the upgrade in a parallel environment or on the existing environment. If the upgrade is on the existing environment your change freeze will be longer whereas if its on a parallel environment you can still continue changes for a long time but effort is needed as part of dual maintenance on the existing and new environments. Project Manager should take the change freeze into account and plan the project and timelines accordingly.
  • Never Under estimate Testing : Technical upgrade is hardly 20% of the work done in upgrades . Make sure you give sufficient room for testing . Both Unit and integration testing should  be carried out with the Development and quality systems. Ensure the test results are documented and any customization done as part of the integration testing have a corresponding transport  which can be  replicated in subsequent  systems.
  • Check compatibility :  Upgrade to your target systems may need your DB and OS to be upgraded as well. Always check the SAP Product availability matrix to ensure your target SAP versions supports the DB /OS.
  • Also  ensure your 3rd party plugins/software are compatible with the target versions. There have been cases where some 3rd party soft wares which are very critical for business but is not supported by the target SAP version.
  • Size your target system :  Your target SAP version may need a much powerful hardware and memory .Ensure you  size your hardware accordingly.
  • Test your external interfaces before hand  to ensure  they work after the upgrade.
  • Run Pre-go live and Post -golive checks. Make use of SAP’s go-live services. This can save a lot of trouble and embarrassment. The go-live service is pretty comprehensive and can provide in-depth information  on memory
  • Mock upgrades are crucial : Cant stress the importance of mock upgrades.  But the mock environment should simulate the production environment else the purpose is defeated .  Performing a test upgrade on the mock environment will enable us to build confidence and to put surprises out of way,  before we perform the production upgrade .  Some customers do  go the extra mile to mimic production environment to the max. In fact I remember one customer where we had to perform multiple  upgrades , put us in a room with a closed network with their complete production landscape replicated in the closed network.
  • Reduce Downtime :  Upgrade tool provides some options to reduce  downtime like incremental conversion and increasing parallel processes during downtime. 
  • Plan your Golive :

  Upgrade cut over can be planned in the weekend . Some of the important things to consider when planning for the  cutover is the system downtime , User acceptance testing and release of system to the business. 

Informing the business and vendors  of the downtime  in advance is crucial

  • Manage the stability period – Perform post golive checks atleast a month after the completion of the upgrade so that the system would have collected adequate statistical data for  better performance estimation.  Performance tuning  at the SAP and DB level can be carried out to optimize performance of the upgraded system

These are some of the things to watch out for also if you are planning to perform Unicode migration as well sap provides an option to perform Combined upgrade and Unicode migration  which can be considered .

Some of the upgrades from very old version may require a twin upgrade where you may have to upgrade to a mid path before getting into the target level.

The need for the upgrade  and  the path to be taken for the upgrade   are important aspects to be taken into consideration when  venturing into a SAP version upgrade.

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      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Gerard,

      this is a nice blog and useful tips.

      This blog can be complimented by further reading of this blog including the comments

      which also discusses the steps for upgrades.

      All the best,


      Author's profile photo Gerard Christopher
      Gerard Christopher
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Andy! .Am glad that it was useful..

      Author's profile photo Lakshmi Sama
      Lakshmi Sama

      Hello Gerard,

      This is nice doc on things to be remember during upgrade. Thanks for sharing this.


      Lakshmi S

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Gerard,

      Nice blog.

      Just wanted to know, the best possible way to Migrate Data from old System to new one.

      Thanking You All.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      what do you mean by old system to new one? is it from legacy system (not SAP)?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Sunil,

      Thanks a lot ofr quick response.

      Here my old system refers to ECC 4.7 and we have upgraded it to ECC 6, both SAP System.

      I want to migrate all data from 4.7 to 6, I think TDMS will be helpful.

      What do you suggest ?

      Thanking You All.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      Good doc related to sap upgrades.

      Thanks for putting this much efforts for documentation.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Useful Doc!

      Author's profile photo Irala Damodara reddy
      Irala Damodara reddy

      Good and useful for

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Irala,

      Thanks for you suggestions on the same.

      Requesting you to kindly share if you have any documents related to this.