DGN Technologies

SAP Upgrades

If you are an existing SAP customer, you will probably be aware that from January 2007 all releases below SAP R/3 4.6c will no longer officially be supported by SAP. Maintenance costs for releases 3.1 - 4.6b inclusive will also attract a total charge of 21% during 2005/6.

Upgrade Options

You could upgrade to release SAP R/3 4.6c—or the more comprehensive SAP ERP—which are both currently scheduled to be supported by SAP until December 2009. These products have been available since 1999 and already have a broad user base. Bear in mind however that maintenance costs for this release will be 19% during 2007 and 21% during 2008/9.

If you wish to avoid the expense and disruption of a potential further upgrade in 2006/7, you may want to consider upgrading to release 4.7 (SAP R/3 Enterprise). Whilst this product incorporates relatively new technology, it has the advantage of being supported by SAP until March 2012 and provides new functionality in many areas.

SAP is encouraging existing users to go beyond the 4.7 (SAP R/3 Enterprise) environment and upgrade to SAP ERP as a stepping stone to SAP Business Suite. However, you should note that an upgrade to SAP ERP requires a change in licensing plan. SAP ERP licenses are role-based, so you need to assess the number of finance, logistics, HR users etc. and pay accordingly. This is a radical change from previous licensing schemes operated by SAP, whereby each seat purchased was accorded full usage of the entire SAP environment (in line with user authorizations).

No technology upgrade is necessary to move from 4.7 (SAP R/3 Enterprise) to SAP ERP. You simply add the benefits of SAP ERP to your installation as you go along. The upgrade from SAP ERP to SAP Business Suite is equally straightforward—you just add those SAP products available in the latter that you require. The alternative strategy would be to remain on 4.7 (SAP R/3 Enterprise) or SAP ERP and purchase SAP products available with SAP Business Suite as add-ons.