Fritz MosonyiFritz Mosonyi Software Archeology – how to Successfully Change SAP Releases

06/30/2008 by Fritz Mosonyi

16th century. The eyes of an archeologist are scanning a field. He is asking himself where he should start digging. In his life, he still has a few years left. Which area would, from his experience, hold a chance for him to make a discovery? Then he notices a tree. For growing, it would need nutrients, so underneath there might be something. This is what he knows from experience.

When he starts digging, he hits on a small house of a rather poor family. Disappointed, he gives up.
200 years later, a larger excavation project is started. The settlement is found to be the most important source of information about ancient times.

Those who know me are acquainted with my writing style exposing my affinity to exaggerate. Let´s take a typical SAP project, a release upgrade, for example. Doesn´t differ that much from the story of the unlucky archeologist, I think. In the beginning, you often know little about a system. Everything seems to be underground. You are asking yourself how to address the release change, and on the basis of which information you might dare a prognosis. What will happen during the project? If you are lucky, the consultant experts have a fair knowledge of the system and the processes implemented on them. If not, the project will almost typically go beyond its scope on the two axes expenditure of time and budget planning. As some of the most important project phases, such as testing and training of the end user, are neglected in favour of the implementation phase, you will be faced with a quality problem. This, in turn, will have an impact on the third axis, the user acceptance.

The way out
Typical SAP projects, such as upgrades, are planned according to the waterfall principle. But one important step of this method is massively neglected: The requirements analysis, also known as gap analysis – in other words, the question, „How did SAP influence OUR particular standard?” If you want to comprehensively answer this simple question with reference to a SAP landscape, the only solution to the “problem” of such massive analysis is its automation.

How can you access best quality and complete information in the shortest possible time?
There are quite a number of vendors who offer analysis tools, from SAP Consulting via RBE up to IntelliCorp. Each of these tools focuses on a particular aspect and therefore has its individual potency.

IntelliCorp´s Assessor Template for SAP Upgrades addresses the problem on a rather broad basis. The tool offers a variety of fully automated analysis workflows. Within a few days, three on average, it provides a wide range of material for use in the context of a detailed planning of the upgrade project. As a side-effect, the result provides a basis for the implementation team to operate on. Its high degree of flexibility makes it a tool which is suitable for all SAP applications, including commercial solutions, integration of third-party software or own namespaces in workbench.

About the author: Fritz Mosonyi is senior consultant and division manager for SAP tools at beteo partner SPP Wien.

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