SAP Watch

May 5 2009   12:43PM GMT

SAP makes Business Suite 7 available — should you upgrade?

CourtneyBjorlin Courtney Bjorlin Profile: CourtneyBjorlin

The newest versions of CRM, SCM, SRM and PLM — all acronyms now flanked with the number 7 — are all available for purchase or upgrade, SAP announced today.

Along with ERP 6.0, they collectively make-up SAP Business Suite 7. Customers on these releases will never have to upgrade in the traditional way again, SAP says.

When Business Suite 7 was announced back in February, SAP was pushing the “value” message.  “We are ready to help our customers get through the current crisis, and Business Suite 7 is designed to do exactly that,” SAP executive Jim Hagemann Snabe said at the time.

Sure, ditching the traditional upgrade process should save customers money. But most ERP customers, and all of the ones running SAP’s other Business Suite apps, have to go through one more upgrade before they can leverage these enhancement packages.

So how can you get there?

The SAP enhancement package strategy is proving to be one driver for SAP upgrades.

But something interesting that could also prove a driver to upgrade are these so-called “SAP value scenarios” — which will be enabled by the harmonized release schedule SAP’s putting into place with Business Suite 7.  

“Value-scenarios” are like blue-prints that can, for one thing, show customers who already own a lot of this software how to make it work better to execute certain process scenarios — like collaborative demand and supply planning.

Customers perhaps haven’t “turned on” modules that will help better facilitate these scenarios. They may need to buy a module in other applications like CRM to help them better accomplish the process, but don’t want the whole CRM suite. These guides show them what to turn on and pick out to accomplish a process.

“We’re relieving some of the dependencies between the components themselves,” said Philip Say, vice president of ERP solution marketing.

It sheds light on SAP’s approach to selling the suite in modules. This approach seems to be less about allowing customers to buy and deploy individual pieces of the software (i.e. general ledger in SAP ERP Financials), and more about allowing customers to buy several pieces of the software that currently span different applications. They can then put them together to execute a certain process.

One positive to an upgrade to Business Suite 7 is that customers can take advantage of these value scenarios — better leveraging what they already own.

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