Tips for Upgrading to SAP ERP 6.0
This document is aimed at providing best upgrade tips for upgrading to SAP ERP 6.0
Tip 1: Practice 3-Level Planning
In planning the upgrade, make sure to plan at three levels:
- The first level is a communicable high-level milestone plan that can be shared among all participants and stakeholders, to see the major milestones.
- The second level is a breakdown of the milestone plan to major project activities to all project participants who are responsible for a delivery. This plan is used to see dependencies that are more detailed and used for detailed week-to-week planning.
- The third level is your go-live plan, which typically involves all activities to prepare for upgrading the production environment, as well as the actual upgrade.
Tip 2: Insist on Management Involvement
Irrespective of the CEO and top management’s busy schedule, they should be involved with the upgrade implementation company (i.e., the system integrator). Frequent meetings are required between the client and the implementation company.
Note: Keep Your Business Blue Print Online
Business requirements change dynamically, so the business blue print should be maintained online for easy modifications always conflict between present business to future business
Tip 3: Take a 2-Step Approach
Take the following 2-step approach and you will ensure a successful upgrade to ECC 6.0:
- Complete the system upgrade first, ensuring all customized programs work on ECC 6.0.
- Consider what new functionality you want in ECC 6.0. Prepare two lists: (a) Functionality in ECC 6.0 that requires no configuration to start using. (b) Functionality in ECC 6.0 that requires configuration in order to adopt.
- Prioritize the new functionality into Must Have and Nice to Have lists. Work through the Must Have list first. Always provide time to complete the required process documentation and allow time for training business users on new functionality.
Tip 4: Verify Memory & Storage Requirements
Make sure that all current environments and systems are taken into the deepest of consideration for data conversion & interfacing requirements. More importantly, be sure to allocate not just marginal additional memory and storage facilities, but rather double to almost triple what is required – as this will avoid delays, and enable accessibility speeds for information needed.
Tip 5: Archive Ahead of Time
SAP recommends archiving before upgrading in order to reduce the volume of transaction data that is migrated to the new system. This results in shorter upgrade projects, with less production downtime. Storage costs are another important consideration: SAP has found that database size typically increases by 5% to 10% with each new SAP software release – and by as much as 30% if a Unicode conversion is required. Archiving reduces the overall database size, so typically no additional storage costs are incurred when upgrading.
Tip 6: Check SAP Modules for Unicode Compatibility
If you are doing a Unicode conversion, make sure that not only your custom programs are Unicode converted, but also ensure that all your SAP Modifications are also compliant.
Tip 7: Resolve Legacy Data Issues Before Migration
Make sure that the legacy data to be migrated has no outstanding issues that are unresolved. For example, an incorrect foreign exchange rate used or a change of currency related to some cash accounts. These issues should be resolved first in the legacy system to minimize the disruption during the upgrade.
Tip 8: Focus on Pre-Installation Steps
Before performing an upgrade, always focus on pre-installation steps. Even a small mistake could lead to a problem. Always try to have at least one or two test runs with production data so that the errors you face in the production environment won’t increase down-time and you will become familiar with the expected errors.
Tip 9: Dwell on Technical Preparation
Spend time doing the following preparation work before you begin the upgrade:
- Make sure transports are in sync across the landscape.
- Solution manager should be installed, working, and current with support packs.
- All your hardware and software should be consistent across the landscape (i.e., same service level, same permissions, etc.).
- Upgrade your database prior to upgrading SAP if that is possible.
- Make sure you have enough memory installed prior to upgrading.
Tip 10: Prepare ABAP Testing Environment
Companies should not underestimate the effort required from their functional & ABAP teams, even if only a technical upgrade is performed. The technical upgrade activities can be planned precisely and be perfected during various sandbox/test upgrades to ensure that a stable testing platform is available to these teams to work on. Thus ensuring that the correct amount of effort can be invested in ensuring that the business processes and functions are working correctly. This is often not done 100%, due to most of the emphasis being placed on the technical basis upgrade activities
Tip 11: Archive for a Leaner Database
The process of upgrading to SAP ERP 6.0 can be streamlined by using archiving to reduce the amount of transaction data in the SAP database prior to upgrading. A leaner SAP database provides the following benefits during the upgrade process:
- Reduced production downtime;
- Minimized need for additional hardware and related IT infrastructure investments;
- Shorter duration of overall upgrade project.
Note: Archiving is Cost Saving
Archiving data before upgrading your SAP ERP application can also help generate long-term cost savings. In addition to simply moving data from the production SAP database to less costly storage devices, archived data is also compressed by a factor of five relative to the space it would take up in the production database. This compression results in dramatically reduced space consumption on the archive storage media. Based on average customer experience, moving data from the production system to the archive and simultaneously compressing it can reduce hardware requirements by as much as 80% or 90% and cut administration time and costs in half. Storing data on less costly long-term storage media reduces total cost of ownership while providing users with full, transparent access to archived information
Tip 12: Perform Two-Way Interface Tests
- If you have ERP systems not using Unicode, always make plan a two-way interface test.
- Start to compose your cutover plan as early as possible, make it as detailed as possible, and constantly update it. This will save unexpected downtime during your production upgrade.
- Send your test upgrade result to SAP for optimization.
Tip 13: Understand the Implications of SAPRouter
Watch out for the assumptions and requirements on your commercial proposals for upgrades to ECC 6.0. If you are an SAP client, make sure your SAP Router is working properly prior to engaging in an upgrade to ECC 6.0. Even if you have no problems during the upgrade process, once you’re on ECC 6.0, you won’t be able to benefit from SAP support or updates (e. g., support packages and enhancement packages) without properly using SAP Router and SAP Solution Manager.
Tip 14: Match Development and Production Environments
A few general tips and technical things to consider when upgrading and patching:
- For a technical upgrade, ensure the development environment in which you do the initial upgrade is as close to your production environment as possible. This means that all unused objects in the development environment need to be undone to the way they were in production or QA (if you still have developments that need to be moved to the production environment at a later stage). This will enable less risk in finding new issues in QA and or production.
- Ensure you have clean data in the development environment to compare results with (interfaces, etc.). Sometimes, it becomes impossible to determine what results were before the upgrade. Therefore, having development in line with at least QA will allow comparison between old and new results – which will make the determination and identification of business impact easy.
- Ensure in advance that all transports in the receiving system are also released (when development is implemented, as well as when QA and/or production are upgraded). This will prevent loss of time due to transports “locking” objects that need to be changed. This also enables quick identification of transports done to facilitate business requirement fulfillment.
- After the development upgrade, all open transports needs to be implemented in QA after QA patching, and before QA testing begins. This saves a lot of time when moving through the landscape.
Tip 15: Clean Your Data
Data cleaning, data cleaning, and more data cleaning of the master files. If you have the data cleanup efforts under control, you know when you are ready to cutover.
Tip 16: Plan Your Post Go-Live Support
Consider post go-live support when making all changes. Often times we are solely focused on the short-term implications with the goal of releasing our project and moving onto the next big project. In doing so, we often neglect the true client ROI which should incorporate the total costs over the life-cycle. Be aware that your clients may often incur 2X-4X additional costs in post go-live support. Considerations of project design with this long-term view in mind will lead to higher quality and lower TCO with improved ROI in the end.
Tip 17: Use This Checklist
- Make sure the same version of SAPup and FIX are used before initiating subsequent up-grades for the entire landscape; Don’t attempt to change SAPup once you are done in the development system.
- SPAM level on all source systems should be updated to the latest version; This helps minimize the errors during the upgrade process.
- SPAM level and SP level or EHP stack should be same in every target system in the ERP landscape during an upgrade.
- Make sure you generate a ‘Revision list’ from the first upgrade and during subsequent upgrades; This report helps you calculate each phase’s timeline and plan your cutover timings, too.
- Do not attempt to clean the transport directory before you go live.
- If you are deploying SAP enhancement packages in integration with the upgrade, your source system should communicate with SAP Solution Manager to generate the ‘XML Stack file’; If communication is not possible, then you are required to generate the ‘XML Stack file’ manually and provide its path during the “prepare” phase. The upgrade will be much easier if Solution Manager is configured and communicating with your source systems.
Tip 18: Don’t Spare ERP 6.0 Resources at Project Start
Change Management – Add seasoned ERP 6.0 resources in all modules required, regardless of cost, and monitor and pull them off as the project heads to go-live, thereby reducing the overall projected spend after the deliverable are securely in hand. Trying to reduce costs at the start of the project, while seemingly smart, actually increases the risk and reduces the overall team incentive, as the project is “just an upgrade”.