DENVER — The last session at ASUG's mySAP ERP Upgrade Symposium was a panel made up of users who had completed upgrades and SAP executives. We took this opportunity to ask what SAP could have done to make each customer's upgrade easier. Here are a couple of the responses:
Scott Petrack, Bayer Corporation
One of the things Bayer struggled with was trying to make decisions about the external environment around SAP. The company has 17 or 18 different third-party, complimentary software products that are interfaced or integrated with the SAP environment. So, it was a struggle for the team to determine whether these third-party products were going to be compatible in terms of the company's SAP upgrade.
"You go to the vendors and they say, ‘Oh, just go to the latest release of our product and everything will be OK,'" said Petrack. "I'm sorry, but that doesn't work for me."
As for what SAP could do to help solve this issue, Petrack said, "I would very much like to see, maybe as part of the certified partner program, SAP step up and say, ‘OK, here's the latest release of the product, and here's what we can report to you in terms of vendor compatibility.'"
Ian Wyatt, Cox Newspapers, Inc.
When Cox was entering into the upgrade, it wasn't entirely clear what it needed, what was recommended, and what options it had around support packs and stacks. This issue reared its head during the upgrade when the project team looked at some functionality in HR testing. That functionality changed with mySAP ERP 2005. But Cox had a problem with the new functionality that required implementation of a support pack — it wasn't available as a single node.
"Well, we didn't want to [implement the support pack] because we would have to go back and repeat a whole lot of testing," said Wyatt. "If we had known up front that we needed that support pack, no problem, we'd put it on up front and it would have no impact whatsoever. But, we didn't know, so we had to go back a bit."
"One thing I would like to see from SAP when going into an upgrade is more guidance around what support packs and support stacks you are going to need before you can start," he said. "You know, it wasn't a huge deal, but it did cost us some time."
Steven Passer of NASA and Stefan Kneis, vice president and ASUG executive liaison at SAP, also responded. We'll have their take soon as well as something on Enhancement Packages. If you have your own ideas on how SAP can improve the upgrade process, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until then, we have to find a place to watch The Office in the Denver airport.Jon Franke News Editor