In this blog, we are going to share considerations and some of the challenges faced during SAP Upgrade. SAP Upgrade requires a complete and detailed analysis of system landscape. Initial step is to know what benefits are expected and are to be derived from the upgrade. It is not only a technical task.

All the areas of SAP (Functional, ABAP, BASIS) play a crucial role to plan the SAP Upgrade project. Though the technical upgrade is driven by IT department but it cannot work without the support and involvement of business side. Usually in development system, tasks involving development till testing are undergone by the technical team. But the testing in Quality system is performed by the business users to ensure that all critical business functionalities work as expected and that the upgrade has not caused any disruptions. Here, in this blog I have tried to cover certain situations that may be helpful during upgrade project.

During SAP upgrade, from technical perspective, many objects like data dictionary objects, repository objects, includes, function modules, enhancements, reports, BDC, SAP scripts, forms etc. are affected. Technical upgrade is a fast upgrade but takes lot of time in testing. There are quite a plenty of factors to consider during an upgrade:

  • SAP ECC 6.0 follows Unicode Programming. So, Unicode errors are tend to be faced while upgradation from low version to this high version SAP ECC 6.0. While executing certain programs, short dumps are encountered. This may be due to Unicode errors which occur in this new version and usage of obsolete function modules that are replaced by other function modules. So changes are needed to be done here.  For Unicode conversion, transaction is SPUMG.
  • For example: In ECC6.0, while using WS_UPLOAD and UPLOAD warning message appears ‘function module is obsolete. Do not use this’. These function modules have been replaced by GUI_UPLOAD.
  • The transactions SPDD and SPAU are integral part of technical upgrade.
    – This transaction is for adjustment and correction of data dictionary objects. In case any standard tables were modified, those will be listed by this transaction. In order to adjust them, both versions are referred and their values are compared. One should be very careful while making changes because the impact can be very dangerous even more than changing a program. Like during upgrade process, length of a domain say material has been changed. Though SAP will take care of the standard programs but the possibility cannot be denied that this domain has been referenced to certain custom programs and what impact the changes will make on the custom programs and custom tables.
    – This transaction is for Repository Objects which includes programs, functions, classes, etc. Here again, the changes are found by comparing both the versions after the upgrade.
  • Another important point to consider is Interface. Before starting an upgrade, the analysis of interfaces should be done. Those interfaces having compatibility issues with the SAP ECC 6.0 should be listed. As this new version is case-sensitive so, some problems are likely to occur during file transfer and connection. Problems can also be faced by legacy system in terms of compatibility.
  • In case of Tables, Enhancement category needs to be provided .The customizing includes may be lost after SAP Upgrade. Even selection texts, variants, Report texts of many programs need to be restored. Field names of BDC’s may also get changed. It can be cumbersome so, maintenance of these entities like variants can be very helpful and moreover will save a lot of time.
  • Some of the important tables helpful in upgrade project are:

TADIR: This table is the directory of all repository objects, used to keep track of lost objects.
TRDIR: Contains information of all ABAP reports.
ADIRACCESS: It has the access code information of all the objects in TADIR

Some of major challenges are:

  • Critical issues leading to failure – Some of the issues may lead to failure of the project if not taken care. One is SAP add-ons which if implemented in the system, require implementation of all the mandatory applicable notes before starting of the Upgrade project. Otherwise it may endanger the entire upgrade project and moreover, there is no way to revert back other than restarting the upgrade process.
  • Testing Issues– Testing of Interfaces is very integral part of upgrade project. In case the number of interfaces is very high, practically it is not possible to check every individual interface. So, in this case they are classified on the basis of business criticality. In this, firstly the number of interfaces to be tested should be finalized .Then for coordination, appropriate resources are identified. Here, assurance should be there for testing the selected interfaces completely. Testing of rest of the interfaces can be done based on the available time so that post go-live business disruptions and extended maintenance support can be avoided. Other issue is improper working of transactions. Testing them will involve debugging and cross-checking data in both versions.

Please send us your questions, comments or assistance, and our team would be glad to assist you.

By Sareeka Bangar (on behalf of SAP Consulting Team)

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