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.
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
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.