I have recently completed upgrade of Enhancement Pack 7 for one of our esteemed client. Initially it looks like normal SP upgrade, but when getting deeper into it appeared as huge package of addition to the existing system at software component level. Enhancement of component cause impact on overall performance of the system. If you are planning to upgrade your system to EHP7 (Which is also latest patch provided by SAP), then it would be useful for you to go though below post.
This post will help you to prepare plan for upgrading your system.
Insights of Enhancement Pack 7
What is Enhancement Pack:
Enhancement packages are provided by SAP for their customer to manage and deploy new software functionality introduced by SAP. A set of new integrated/individual functionalities can be deployed by implementing enhancement packs. Best part is customers can select new/enhanced functionalities out f the delivered software innovations by SAP and activate as per business needs. This is the simplest online solution to introduce new functionalities into the system without impacting ongoing business in faster way. Enhancement packages are cumulative. Thus, enhancement package 7 contains all the previously delivered enhancements as well as the new ones. Enhancement packages can be downloaded from SAP service using SAP Solution Manager.
Enhancement Package 7 for SAP ERP 6.0
SAP has introduced more than 100 new functions in Enhancement package 7 for SAP ERP 6.0 and is the first EHP to be optimized for both the SAP HANA database and the traditional certified databases.
Since enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP 6.0, customers have had the option of deactivating certain business functions that were previously activated. SAP enhancement package 7 also includes numerous new functions for financial accounting, logistics, human resources, and quality management, as well as cross-application functions and improvements for SAP Master Data Governance and manager self-service (MSS).
Key features with EHP 7
- SAP Fiori – There are collection of 25 role-based productivity applications in SAP Fiori which will help end users to complete their daily tasks with enhanced speed and efficiency on handhold devices like smartphone and tablet along with notebook or PCs.
- Faster MRP runs – As EHP7 is optimized for SAP HANA database, it provides the option to use SAP HANA Live to check on material availability and inventory days of supply in real time at exploded-view level. All features of SAP HANA can be utilized to speed up complex MRP runs and capacity planning.
- Data aging – The use of data in-memory platform of SAP HANA can be used for implement a data aging strategy efficiently. This can provide near real-time data to end user for day-to-day operations such as the financial results for the last two years.
SAP Upgrade from ECC 6.0 EHP4 to ECC 6.0 EHP7:
Pre-upgrade Activities must be done on the existing level of software to understand impact on the basic software level. Another installation check should be done to identify any critical issues that could lead to additional risks or work on total number of custom objects /customizing to identify the impact of EHP7 enhancements on the existing custom transactions/reports
Study of Software components versions:
The component versions can be generated by Solution Manager System which gives the overall components needs to be upgraded from EHP4 to EHP7 SPS3. This can be done by SAP basis consultant using SAP Solution Manager. A list of all the new versions of software components can be seen and selected before upgrading to EHP7. Find below sample screenshots which show the components selected that will be upgraded with new version.
Installation check is the activity to must be done to understand if there are any critical issues that could lead to additional risks or work when compared with the average SAP EHP installation project.
This check can be done by development team or SAP support can be taken to study and report the impact on the existing set of processes in the ERP SAP system. SAP charges separately for doing such studies.
The objective of the SAP EHP Installation Check is to identify the most significant risk and effort drivers for your planned project. For this purpose, it collects technical information in your current production system and evaluates it based on general experience obtained.
The table below shows the most critical risk and outlay drivers for any software change project grouped by key focus areas. An explanation of the key focus areas can be found in the upgrade white paper of the SAP standards for solution operations.
An action plan for the activities can be prepared based on the priorities on identified risk and precautions before upgrade initiation.
Installation check will be baseline for estimations of the efforts required for adjustment during upgrade of enhancement package.
Security Authorization Check
Enhancement package impact on the security and authorization objects of the end users. Once development upgrade is done in the landscape, a detail check of modifies authorization object must be done by SAP security consultant/team. This activity will mitigate further risk of authorization issues after production upgrade.
The transports of the security adjustment must be transported just after upgrading quality or production system.
Test Factory for SIT:
Test factory must be involved for SIT in project planning to avoid re-planning or any impact the go-live date. Test factory do not always have all the domain knowledge to be able to execute a full SIT. If test scripts are not ready or up-to-date, it could cause adverse impact on the project timelines.
Its is highly recommended to execute knowledge transfer to test factory for the areas where they are currently lacking the knowledge of the upgrading system. There involvement during start-up of the project will help in the efficient project planning. Test Factory can execute Regression Testing on the upgrading system as a part of regular monthly release.
SAP Max Attention Support:
SAP Quality manager must be involved right from kick-off of the upgrade. SAP quality manager can arrange support from SAP to expedite resolutions from SAP. This is a paid service of SAP and must be arrange in advance to avoid unexpected delays in project timelines due to software issues during upgrade.
Challenges and Risk:
- Enhancement pack 7 is the latest pack provided by SAP. Even SAP doesn’t have complete knowledge bank on the issues occurred. In our case customer specific SAP notes had developed by SAP to resolve issues in SAP standard code during technical upgrade.
- Coordination with vendors for SAP security, Basis, EAI, Portals and SAP for respective activities in different time zones.
- Stringent timelines due to other projects based on business priorities.
- Governance of emergency changes and fixes.
- Issues encountered during upgrade and testing in (DEV/QUA) which might need structural fix
- Delayed response from SAP in providing required solution since issues are not in knowlege bank of SAP
- Upgrading CTP to EHP7 brings additional risk due to older versions of other systems in the landscape.
- Existing projects, new projects and project aftercare issues can be impacted during upgrade activities of productive system
- UAT issues/fixes of the ongoing projects can be impacted during upgrade activities.
Communication plan must be prepared and approved before actual execution of the projects from IT and business.
Daily call – There must be daily call on every working day with the project team along with client IT team. Use Run book to review the status on a daily basis. Meeting was chaired by the onsite/offshore PM.
Governance Board call – It must be a bi-weekly call. All stakeholders must be invited to join this meeting. It should always starts with a brief status update on upgrade project. The objective of call should be to check and approve/reject the high priority transports of operations or project that need to move through the landscape during the freeze (e.g. severity 1 production issues or project after care issues). A tracker would help to track these changes along with transport list.
Lessons learned call – At the end of each major project stage, a lessons learned call must be scheduled to capture the lessons learned in the lessons learned log.
Ad-hoc call – Calls when important decisions need to take place e.g. Go/No Go and Changes to the project plan / freeze periods. All stakeholders of the project were invited to join the meeting
Governance Model Execution:
During the freeze period of upgrading SAP systems, there are two kind of situations which can occur:
- Aftercare issues ongoing projects
- Production issues in operations
Governance board will work for smooth execution of these issues:
- Aftercare issues:
• Project Manager of the respective project must approach business, Tech Lead/BA of that project an
operations lead in case of Change required and get the approval ready.
• Then formal approval in Governance board meeting.
• Project Manager of the respective project to connect with Release Manager and QA officer for transporting changes/fix
2. Production Issues:
• Raise an incident in the ticket handling tool.
• Corrective change/fix must be checked and Incident Manager/Service Lead must approach Business and operational lead for approval.
• Then formal approval in Governance board.
• Service Lead/IM to connect with Release Manager for transporting changes/fix if approved.
Lesson Learned and Recommendations:
Project Plan and Run book preparation:
All the stakeholders and involved parties must be involved while preparing project plan. Most important activity is to gather run book from all vendors supporting upgrade activity and merge into master run book and project plan. Get POC from each of the vendors for interchanging information and involve in meetings. Following contributors must involve for their respective responsibilities:
• Basis will be doing technical upgrade of the system. Involve POC right from project kick-off and planning project activities.
• Security and Authorization team must take care of arranging user access for Basis and other dialog and non-dialog users (system users, batch users, etc.).
• Business must be involve to make sure availability of users for UAT.
• Test Factory must be involve for regression testing
• SAP Functional team must be involve for unit testing and functional testing
• SAP technical team must be involve to implement SAP notes, SPAU/SPDD activities, bug fixing in functional testing/UAT/aftercare
• Release Manager is an important participant to adjust system upgrade of each system in continuation with regular/monthly activities
Prerequisites of EHP7:
SAP system must be well equipped before go-live. EHP7 brings loads of additional functionalities to the existing SAP system. It creates considerable reduction in the system response and generally contribute to system performance. Make sure SAP system will be at latest software component level. Go through the note mentioned below for further details.
There are several SAP notes available providing information about EHP7 package. Find below one of the note which is providing related information about support packs.
Test script and Test users:
Make sure test scripts must be updated with the latest approved testing process and test users must be having similar role as that of the business users executing certain business processes . Make sure Test factory testing script are updated.
Security and Authorizations:
EHP7 modifies authorization objects at some extent. Involve security and authorizations team in planning study of changes in authorizations and roles of users. There is a separate exercise must be done after implementing EHP7 in DEV system to find change s in the authorizations. A separate run book must be prepared for S&A activity and merge in master run book and project plan
OSS messages raised due to various issues during upgrade of DEV or QUA takes time since SAP do not allow to keep priority High/Very High for non-production system. Involvement of POC from SAP helps is arranging appropriate in-time support during non-production system upgrades.
Other third party interfaces or applications POCs must be involve during testing of interfaces/portals etc. Project managers of the
other ongoing projects will help in prioritize activities.
Best of Luck