by SAPInsider 2004 (Volume 5) » July (Issue 3)
Deploy As You Go
Transitioning to mySAP ERP
Q&A with Thomas Baur
Q. Ramp-up for mySAP ERP 2004 starts this summer. How will this impact SAP R/3 and SAP R/3 Enterprise customers in the short- and long-term?
Thanks to our new release and maintenance strategy, our customers now have a lot of flexibility with implementing mySAP ERP. In the months ahead, SAP customers running releases up to and including 4.6C will need to decide on and plan a transition strategy. While the 2006 end-of-maintenance deadline isn't imminent, it is close enough to impact near-term IT decisions. So I strongly advise SAP R/3 customers running a system below SAP R/3 Enterprise to get a handle on what mySAP ERP is — what options it affords them and what implications it poses to their business processes, their user communities, their IT landscape, and their SAP licensing arrangements.
I suggest SAP R/3 Enterprise customers also do the same. While end-of- maintenance doesn't happen for this group until 2009, the gap in capabilities between SAP R/3 Enterprise and mySAP ERP is quite large. Many SAP R/3 Enterprise customers may want to make the transition long before the 2009 date in order to take advantage of Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM), Manager Self-Services (MSS), Enterprise Self-Services (ESS), or Travel Management, for example, which all come standard with mySAP ERP.
Whatever your current situation, you'll need to understand the capabilities of mySAP ERP relative to the SAP systems you're now running. That way, you can make informed decisions not just about your transition, but also about day-to-day activities between now and then.
That said, I want to clearly emphasize that our customers are not in a hurry. Our maintenance cycles for SAP R/3 releases allow customers to carefully work out a strategy for their future business processes. With mySAP ERP, we are not talking about a "rip and replace" scenario, but rather a "deploy-as-you-go" scenario — and this is important to know. A customer can run mySAP ERP even with SAP R/3 4.6C or below. This is the smart thing about mySAP ERP. If you are a customer with a certain need to implement SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW), you can do just that. You don't have to first upgrade to SAP R/3 Enterprise or SAP ECC (SAP ERP Central Component), the new ERP core component within mySAP ERP 2004. So we need to talk about your upgrade from three perspectives: your technical upgrade, your license, and your implementation.
For customers still on an SAP R/3 system below 4.6C, I strongly recommend that you start thinking now about your next step. With our updated maintenance strategy, you can extend your current maintenance for another two years — until December 2006. That would give you enough time to plan, for example, a technical upgrade to SAP ECC 5.00, which comes with mySAP ERP 2004 and will be generally available in Q1 2005. By converting your SAP R/3 license to mySAP ERP 2004, you could start exploiting the gained business benefits immediately at the beginning of next year.
Or, if you are a customer currently involved in an upgrade to SAP R/3 Enterprise, proceed with that — you always have the option to convert your license to mySAP ERP and implement other components like SAP BW step-by-step while maintaining SAP R/3 Enterprise as the core ERP backbone.
The bottom line: To meet critical business demands, convert your license to mySAP ERP to get the full scope of ERP functionality, and then deploy the components as you go. That's a very practical road to follow.
Q. Given the scope of the release, should customers be bracing themselves for a costly, complex upgrade?
Quite the opposite. This upgrade is not an all-or-nothing proposition. The license gives you the full breadth and depth of mySAP ERP functionality. You pick and choose what you'd like to implement, and when. Let me give you just a few examples:
From a licensing perspective, all of this functionality is at your disposal. (That's not the case with SAP R/3 4.6C and below or a license to SAP R/3 Enterprise alone.) From an implementation perspective, you tap into these strategic capabilities when the timing is advantageous to your business. As a result, we're seeing a great deal of excitement across finance, operations, and HR organizations.
Think about where IT dollars are being spent. Behind every major project stands an expensive integration exercise. Whatever your challenge — compliance, planning, RFID, acquisitions, global ATP checks, accelerating time-to-market or order-to-cash, human capital management, or even homeland security — integration is an ever-present IT hurdle, one that constitutes a huge expense. mySAP ERP is built on SAP NetWeaver, our open application and integration platform. That has huge TCO implications — very positive implications — for SAP customers. Business intelligence, portal and integration technologies, master data management, a mobile infrastructure, and a Web application server are all part of SAP NetWeaver, and they all work together. That's at the infrastructure level. At the application level, mySAP ERP is part of mySAP Business Suite and can therefore be extended with mySAP CRM or mySAP SCM, for example. It's at the application level where integration usually really gets costly, but not with mySAP ERP.
The bottom line is that evolving from old-school ERP to this new generation of ERP delivers benefit and savings to all vested parties. You can expect a rapid adoption curve because, frankly, it's more costly not to take the mySAP ERP road.
Q. But don't companies suffer from a glut of technology?
They do. That's why you see SAP recommending a smooth shift to service-based architectures, to its Enterprise Services Architecture. It's the only viable way to protect and further leverage the value of all those existing IT assets and at the same time pave the way for new ones. Without a service-based architecture, diminishing returns on IT assets will happen at an alarming rate. With a service-based architecture, you can control costs and facilitate growth in multiple directions — the growth that comes from within (when you grow your customer offerings, for example) and the kind that comes about from mergers or acquisitions.
The studies bear this out. Company after company report that they need to get to this end goal and want to partner with a vendor that can help them get there. Seriously, who wants to be confounded by something like issuing a purchase order, canceling an order, or performing an available-to-promise check? What one would hope would be a simple business process is anything but. These kinds of basic business activities are difficult because they encompass multiple systems and vendors. SAP NetWeaver delivers the prerequisite technology for moving toward a service-based architecture. And again, with mySAP ERP a customer is able to cover three fundamental needs: to leverage existing IT investments, to extend business benefits, and to grow into a service-oriented architecture.
So you've laid out a plan for your SAP upgrade. Your business analysts have gathered the requirements, your business users are ready for testing, your ABAP developers have started development, and your Basis team is working with the Data Center team to minimize your downtime. Everything seems to be in place, but you feel like you overlooked something. Maybe you did — but how can you know?
IT organizations are caught between two seemingly irreconcilable forces — the ongoing need for new initiatives that drive business growth and competitive advantage, and the equally insistent demands of managing the infrastructure. If organizations aren't careful, they end up spending most of their time running the system and very little supporting business objectives. Deploying the next upgrade of a given SAP module is a great example of a time-consuming and resource-intensive task that can be minimized to a "non-event" if the right access strategy is in place.
Citrix, an SAP Global Technology Partner and member of the SAP NetWeaver partner initiative, provides a trusted and proven access infrastructure solution — the Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite — that enables simple, fast, and scalable application deployments with less risk, leading to quicker returns and allowing you to spend more time on strategic projects to grow your business. By adopting an access infrastructure that features efficient and server-centric application management, collaboration, security, and remote access, organizations such as Delta Air Lines, Kindred Healthcare, Engen, and SAP AG itself have lowered the cost of both managing SAP solutions across a heterogeneous infrastructure and deploying them to a diverse user base.
Secure Access for SAP — Anytime, Anywhere, Over Any Network
The Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite turns every organization into an on-demand enterprise by providing simple and secure access to applications from any location, device, or connection. The MetaFrame Access Suite centralizes application installation, processing, and administration on the server instead of on the desktop, significantly reducing maintenance and support costs and accelerating deployment across the organization.
With Citrix, whether you are deploying the SAP GUI or a published browser running the SAP Enterprise Portal, applications and data never leave the trusted network. Only screen refreshes, mouse movements, and keystrokes are transmitted between server and client. Therefore, no matter what device a person is using — be it a public kiosk, a library terminal, or their child's PC — data integrity is assured.
Also, for the first time, the SAP iView for the Citrix Business Package, which provides integration between the Citrix access infrastructure and the SAP Enterprise Portal, allows organizations to make their portal the central hub for all communication and access.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
With its server-centric architecture, Citrix software enables applications to be centrally deployed in a fraction of the time needed to install them individually on local desktops for a large and/or geographically dispersed user base. To upgrade to the next version of an SAP solution, for example, IT teams no longer need to visit hundreds of users in multiple locations or to track down mobile devices. The application is simply installed on one server, pushed out to the other servers in the farm, and then made instantly available to all users simultaneously — no worries about forgetting a device, user, or application. A roll-out can often be completed over a weekend.
MetaFrame Presentation Server allows you to install the new SAP GUI or updated browser on a separate set of servers. This means that multiple versions of the interface can run within the same production environment, something that cannot be accomplished with a desktop solution alone. Additionally, users can access the new version — whether it's a test bed or the production release — without disrupting their current responsibilities; users just point to an icon, click, and start working.
From an administrator's perspective, you install the updates once and then push the install package to the other servers in the farm. You can complete the entire upgrade in less time than it takes for a single desktop installation.
Additionally, session shadowing allows support staff to remotely monitor and assist users for training or troubleshooting during the upgrade deployment without having to visit their desks personally, resulting in substantial cost savings. During our own deployment of SAP at Citrix, with a population of over 2,000 users worldwide, we recognized savings of over $150,000 on our SAP SRM upgrade alone. We realized ongoing savings of over $100,000 per year on help desk personnel, calls, and orientation/training.
For organizations using the SAP Enterprise Portal, the SAP iView for the Citrix Business Package allows any Win32 or UNIX application running in a Citrix environment to be instantly Web-enabled without recoding and to be centrally deployed to users through the portal. This capability extends the scope of the portal with access to any application.
Lower Costs While Raising Service Levels
Many enterprises have found Citrix software to be a powerful solution for reducing the cost of computing through greater IT efficiency, reduced infrastructure costs, lower bandwidth demands, and streamlined administration. Citrix itself is a classic example. Having standardized on SAP, Citrix deployed the solution to employees worldwide using MetaFrame Presentation Server. The deployment was completed in just 20 days, with annual cost savings of $2.5 million.
Following are key TCO areas impacted by Citrix solutions:
Extended Life of Existing Infrastructure
Stable, Predictable Performance Across Any Network
Faster Realization of ROI and TCO Benefits
Back to that SAP upgrade — the thing you overlooked was how to make your life easier by using the Citrix MetaFrame Access Suite to deploy SAP. With Citrix, the workload associated with deployment to thousands of heterogeneous devices is no longer a logistical challenge. The infrastructure can be better managed, and end-users enjoy a more consistent experience. Besides these compelling features, it's also a less expensive way to go. That will make the executive team happy while you delight your users with improved service.
For more information on the SAP-Citrix partnership, please visitwww.citrix.com/info/sapinsider.
Michel Koopman, SAP Global Alliance Executive at Citrix, joined the company in 1999. During the last five years, he has initiated and managed strategic technology alliances with SAP, Computer Associates, and EMC, among others. These relationships are built on strategic global go-to-market plans, solution integration, marketing, and sales collaboration with partners. Previously, Michel held similar positions at Baan Company and International Distillers.
Today, business pressures clearly demand that companies do more with less. As your company makes the business case for upgrading to the latest version of SAP, are you faced with making additional infrastructure investments? As you evaluate your IT landscape, are you finding that you are paying too much for the infrastructure required to run SAP?
Because of the recent releases of SAP R/3 Enterprise, mySAP ERP, and mySAP Business Suite, an unprecedented number of customers are evaluating upgrading their SAP systems. Any upgrade project can be difficult to justify, as it imposes change and requires additional time and infrastructure investments.
As you consider your own upgrade plans and reevaluate the infrastructure that supports your SAP system, now may be the time to cap investments in Unix-based systems and implement your SAP upgrade on a cost-effective, high-return platform — the Microsoft and Intel Platform for SAP. Incorporating the cost-reduction benefits associated with the Microsoft Platform running on Intel servers into your business case can significantly raise the overall ROI and value proposition of your upgrade project.
The Case for the Microsoft Platform for SAP
No matter whether you're planning an upgrade to SAP R/3 Enterprise (SAP R/3 4.7), mySAP ERP, or the mySAP Business Suite, it is a good time to reconsider your infrastructure. And because Windows is proven to be enterprise-ready, scalable, and reliable for large-scale implementations, companies across a wide variety of industries are now deploying their SAP applications on Microsoft Windows Server System and Microsoft SQL Server to reduce their total cost of ownership. (For an example of Microsoft's own successful migration to SAP R/3 Enterprise on SQL Server and Windows Server 2003, see box below.)
The Microsoft Platform for SAP offers a combination of high-end scalability and reliability to accommodate the future growth of SAP customers, all at a price point that makes it easy to acquire and operate.
What's more, R&D investments in the Microsoft Platform ensure continued functionality, quality, and performance improvements that SAP customers can count on to grow right along with them. Microsoft invests more in research and development than any other IT company. Furthermore, partners such as Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Unisys, Dell, and others are making technology investments right along with us, further magnifying the R&D advantage over other server platforms. For mission-critical SAP deployments, the Microsoft Platform is a safe, proven choice. Consider that:
For a real-world example of how this can work for companies using SAP, Microsoft can point to our current customers — including reference customers running some of the largest SAP environments in the world — to provide their perspective and experiences to other SAP customers.
In-Depth ROI Analysis for Your Infrastructure, Not Just Your Solutions
To further support customers in their upgrade plans, Microsoft has partnered with industry-leading consultancies to deliver a set of SAP upgrade services that are designed to maximize return on investment.
Together, we will work with you on an SAP Upgrade and Migration Analysis, which will give your company a real-world look at the costs associated with upgrading SAP and moving it to the Microsoft Platform. Our partners do a rigorous and technical analysis of your current SAP environment and infrastructure and will provide an executive-level presentation on the results, including:
Companies deploying SAP on the Microsoft Platform can achieve savings in the acquisition, administration, and operation of both hardware and software. Organizations implementing this platform have already seen significant benefits, including:
The Microsoft and Intel Platform is less expensive to purchase and less expensive to operate, and it delivers the reliability, availability, and scalability that SAP systems require. As you make the business case for your SAP solutions, be sure to carefully evaluate your infrastructure as well.
To learn more about upgrading your SAP system on the Microsoft Platform, visitwww.microsoft-sap.com.
1 For full technical details on the performance of the Microsoft Platform in the SAP SDN Benchmark, see www.microsoft.com/sql/evaluation/compare/SAPSales.asp or visithttp://www.sap.com/benchmark/sd3tier.asp and select the link to Certification Number 2002007.
"No surprises!" QI Solutions has heard this exclamation many times from companies considering an SAP upgrade. A primary concern for any company thinking of upgrading to an SAP R/3 4.6C, SAP R/3 Enterprise, or mySAP ERP release is risk mitigation and the ability to eliminate downtime and conduct business "minute one" after the upgrade.
Another primary challenge for any company considering an SAP upgrade is discovering how to focus on areas of business benefit and enhancement so you can begin delivering functionality and value to the business as soon after the upgrade as possible. This can only be accomplished if you know what functionality is being used within your SAP system today and what new functionality will be available to you after the upgrade.
Using a Toolset for Your SAP Upgrade
The QI Solutions Upgrade Toolset is a solution that specifically addresses these primary areas of concern for an SAP upgrade — mitigating risk and focusing on business benefit by reducing the upgrade cost of ownership. Founded on the SAP Reverse Business Engineering (SAP RBE) tool, the QI Solutions Upgrade Toolset works with SAP RBE, adding data object and proprietary analytics to address key upgrade considerations.
Mitigating Risk and Focusing Your Upgrade
The QI Solutions Upgrade Toolset provides the answers to those questionable and invisible areas that so often create risk, cause delays, and render an upgrade more trouble than it is worth. While planning your upgrade, what if you could know and understand:
The QI Solutions Upgrade Toolset enables this foresight. Here are some examples of the data objects that are captured and reviewed:
Figure 1 illustrates the summary information that is captured. The ability to directly see and analyze these SAP objects allows you to address those areas specific to your SAP environment that will negatively impact your upgrade.
Adding New SAP Functionality
Whether you decide to implement enhanced functionality during an upgrade or in a phase after the upgrade is complete, the process presents a tremendous opportunity for most organizations. Depending on your original implementation release and your concentration on adding new functionality, there may be thousands of functional enhancements you can deploy in SAP.
Many organizations have either:
If your organization lives within either of these categories, a significant number of enhancements are available to you to deliver business benefit and potential competitive advantages.
Reduce the Risk, Increase the Benefit
The QI Solutions Upgrade Toolset specifically focuses on business benefit and reduces the upgrade cost of ownership. Here is how:
For any repaired object, that object and all the objects impacted by the repaired object are identified, which could number 1, 5, or 50. This prevents problems with the system not working correctly once the upgrade is completed and allows focused testing on those areas of most risk.
Highly used transactions and processes are identified. Testing can focus on areas that are business-critical, and time for less-used processes is allocated accordingly.
Identifies the transaction codes that have changed or been added, which creates concentrated areas for user training.
Identifies user exits so that core functionality and Business Add-Ins can potentially replace them during the upgrade.
Identifies and quantifies the usage of all "z" (customized) programs and reports. This furthers testing prioritization and allows a company to determine if customized programs and reports can be replaced with resident SAP functionality.
Identifies all enhancements from the current release of SAP to the target release. This provides the key areas of concentration to attain desired business benefit and ROI.
The Upgrade Toolset can also address many additional areas during the course of an upgrade. For more information, please contact QI Solutions at www.qisolutions.com or at +1 216 328-5558.
Every SAP professional knows the value of automation — running SAP automates and streamlines critical business processes throughout the enterprise. Success-minded, forward-looking SAP professionals know that there is further value to be gained by eliminating manual processes involved in the inter-company delivery of reports, purchase orders, invoices, and other transactional documents generated by SAP solutions (see Figure 1).
Esker DeliveryWare Platform is a comprehensive solution to automate the exchange of business documents between customers, suppliers, and partners — regardless of source, format, or destination. And what better time than during an SAP upgrade to think about gaining the added value of automated document delivery.
Address Document Delivery Issues Before They Arise
A considerable amount of uncertainty accompanies any upgrade, especially where document delivery is involved. Consider your SAPcomm or SAPconnect interface: Many older fax servers, for example, only support SAPcomm, so you may be forced to seek alternative methods. When planning for an SAP upgrade, consider the following key issues:
Tap Into Upgrade Resources
When upgrading to a new SAP solution, organizations typically have test servers, test data, and time set aside to make sure everything works correctly. You may also have an increased budget and additional human capital in the form of consultants and other contract personnel. Given these added resources, it just makes sense to do a full tune-up while you have the hood open. And integrating document delivery in conjunction with your upgrade can eliminate the need for retraining later.
Raise the Bar
Upgrading gives you an opportunity to improve business communication channels. While you may have had your output management or fax server solution connected to just one SAP module, with the upgrade you may want to expand document delivery to other modules. You may need to alter some business processes to fully leverage the new system. And you may want to exploit new document delivery methods, such as outsourced automated fax and mail services that can optimize efficiency and flexibility.
You may also want to move document delivery and notification logic off the application server to an independent architecture. This offloading can allow for higher server performance and reduced dependency on SAPscript to manage document formatting.
Comprehensively automated document delivery can help you achieve better customer service, cost control, and IT consolidation. More complete automation means less intervention, programming, and system maintenance.
It's Feasible with Esker DeliveryWare
Esker DeliveryWare is an SAP integration-certified solution that helps organizations implement automated document delivery without risk or disruption of existing business procedures. It resides on a server, connects as an independent device, and requires no custom programming. Esker DeliveryWare recognizes and processes any SAP document format, including RDI and XSF, and cuts forms development (SAPscript) time.
With both BC-CON and BC-XOM interface support, Esker DeliveryWare integrates seamlessly and provides full document delivery capability — including receipt notification returned to the SAP system. Esker DeliveryWare automates every phase of document composition and delivery, from capture to distribution.
At the core of Esker DeliveryWare is the DeliveryWare Rules Engine — Esker's content-based technology to automatically format application output and deliver documents to any destinations via any combination of output media (see Figure 2). Esker DeliveryWare provides a graphical formatting environment and built-in Crystal Reports, and offers Esker on Demand service options for cost-effective outsourcing of fax and printed mail to a hosted Esker DeliveryWare server for formatting and delivery.
Results with Esker DeliveryWare include:
Esker DeliveryWare also facilitates incremental implementation. You can start with one document process and/or delivery media (such as fax), then automate other processes and add media as time and needs dictate. Including Esker DeliveryWare in your SAP upgrade plans gives you a solid foundation for automated document delivery.
A Proven Solution from a Proven Leader
Esker is an SAP customer and a recognized leader in helping organizations eliminate manual processes involved in the delivery of business documents out of enterprise applications. Specializing in automating the delivery of SAP-generated output, Esker has a dedicated R&D team focusing on SAP and a working relationship with SAP Labs. SAP customers around the world use Esker DeliveryWare to streamline document-centric business processes, gaining significant efficiencies, time/cost savings, and rapid ROI.
For More Information
To learn more about Esker DeliveryWare, visit www.esker.com. We also invite you to attend a free Web seminar, exclusively for SAP Insider readers, for details on results that Microsoft and other Esker customers have achieved by implementing Esker DeliveryWare Solutions in conjunction with an SAP upgrade; visit www.esker.com/ upgradesuccess.