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Dear friends..I would like to share my recent experience in SAP EHP7 Technical Upgrade project.Thanks to my mentors Sudeshna and Tejas 🙂

Hope this post helps everyone who is a newbie and want to get some quick facts on Upgrade.

We all know that there is always a need in SAP that we must update our ECC Suite to the latest version so as to leverage the enhanced functionalities provided by SAP in the new version. It is always a challenge whenever we plan for an upgrade because of the risks involved in upgrading the system and also its associated impact to existing  business processes.

Upgrades are generally of two categories in SAP :

  • Functional Upgrade - Activate the new business functions given by SAP in new version, this can have an impact on the implemented business processes in our existing system.

  • Technical Upgrade  - The name itself represents that we are technically upgrading the system , accepting the newer version of screens , reports , function modules etc a technical adjustment causing minimum impact to the existing business processes.Technical upgrades are normally carried so that our system can be activated with the latest components of SAP which can ease our deployment process of new advanced developments like migration to HANA engine , deploying fiori mobile applications etc.

Hence going for a technical upgrade should be done with a meticulous planning.The general approach when we go for an upgrade is try to collect the key information from our current SAP landscape. A component list or object list to be prepared so as to identify the custom functionalities introduced in the standard SAP components in newer version.Once we have completed the object preparation list then the most important activity i.e IMPACT Assessment comes in place which is done by analyzing the new version and changes introduced by SAP . So the new change may have an impact on the custom functionality because the object call method or parameters change.

Impact assessment and object change list may give us few heads up for anticipating the impact in our existing process.

Few Steps to Start with Technical Upgrade:

  1. System preparation and Enhancenment Stack level patch upgrade – Basis Team

  2. SPDD Phase – ABAP Team and  Functional team for any queries ( Higlight the change in standard tables , structures ) for an impact assessment

  3. Up grade of the system – Basis Team

  4. SPAU Phase – ABAP and Functional (higlight the changes in standard objects ) for an impact assessment.This adds an edge for considering those objects for testing.

  5.  DBACOCKPIT for indexing – (Issue resolution and error tracking) – ABAP TEAM and Functional.

  6. Custom programs corrections – obsolete function modules , fix report programs which are a copy of standard program. Remove hard codes and obslete syntax from the programs

So once the system is upgraded with new enhancement package, We have to carry out adjustments. The adjustments are nothing but SAP provides us a choice to retrieve ( keep old ) version of any object or accept the new version. The recommended approach is accept the new version and later include our custom changes ( custom piece of code using insert , replace functions from SAP Menu bar ). Overall adjustment process is dividend into 3 phases :

Activities during adjustment

Reset to Original : It specifies that we are accepting the newest version of the object offered by SAP.

Adapt Modification : It specifies that we are not accepting the new changes given in latest version , instead keeping the modifications of our old system.

As a technical consultant its our call is to compare the versions of the object , identify the impact and decide whether to accept the new version or keep the object same as in our old system.When we find many changes in the newer version , it is advised to inform functional consultants belonging to the specific application areas about this so that the impact can be assessed.

First step SPDD -

1. SPDD : This step is carried out to adjust the data base objects ( all dictionary objects like domains , structures , tables etc ). This can be done by logging into SAP system and navigate to SPDD tcode. Compare the objects and note any differences in the old version and new version. If you find any major change leave it for a technical discussion. if the new version is fine then just double click on the object and accept the new version, activate the component. It will be appearing in green color which indicates that modification has been done to that object successfully. Later on you will observe that the object has been disappeared from your SPDD Object Adjustment List. Iterate the same process for all objects present in SPDD Object List.
This is how SPDD will look with more nodes just for your reference :

2. SPAU : This step is very important and is carried out after SPDD process to adjust the WRICEF Componeents (Packages , Screens, User Exits , Standard SAP Reports ,programs, function module , business transaction events) This can be done by logging into  SAP system  and navigate to SPAU tcode. Compare the objects and note any differences in the old version and new version. If you find any  changes in the versions, we have a flexibility to insert , replace our existing code in the new     version of the program , save and activate. It will be appearing in green color which indicates that modification has been done to that object successfully. Later on you will observe that the object has been disappeared from your SPAU Object Adjustment List. Iterate the same process for all objects present in SPAU Object List.

A glance of SPAU Tcode :

Object list on SPAU on execution:

3. SPAU_ENH : This tcode is a boon which has been introduced by SAP in recent EHP 7               version. We all have a myth that all the custom implementations are lost during                             an upgrade project. This is exclusively provided by SAP to adjust                                                     enhancements and custom implementations.

The approach followed by us during EHP Upgrade by us was do a POC in Sandbox system and then proceed for Actual upgrade.

Activities carried by us in the initial phase were :

  • Finalization of the system freeze period and creation of parallel landscape.

  • Finalization  drafting of a solid project plan.

  • Impact analysis of the technical transactions.

  • Identification of top transactions/ programs used in the system & their usage for baseline analysis. ( We had used one TCS inhouse tool - ACE+ which gives usage analysis )

  • Checklist of pre &  post Go-Live to be maintained ( This is maintained just to ensure that the same type of issues we are not getting moving from one box to another and also checking any manual activity involved ).

  • Solid Communication plan with regular updates.

  • Custom reports which are copy of standards has to be checked with compatibility to overcome obsolete functionality code.

Screen Comparison Activity : We may have to find  highly used transactions and can  shortlist for manual screen comparison and also to check for any BDC being used in any program can create an issue.

Some of the impacted standard transactions, addition of new tabs in EHP 7 based on our experience :

  • KA01.KA02,KA03 - Cost ELement master- Controlling area Field

  • KS01, KS02,KS03 -  Cost Center master- Controlling area Field

  • KO01, KO02, KO03 -, Field display 'Controlling area'

  • KE51, KE52, KE53 Profit Center Master - Controlling area field

  • FI01, FI02, FI03 - Bank Master and  Difference in field  text for 'SWIFT/BIC' and 'SWIFT'

  • AFAB - Tab header text difference

  • F-03  field discription of 'Normal OI'.

  • ME21N_Purchase Order Creation_Text Tab_Delievy Tab_ at item Level_ additional fields introduced

  • ME51N_Screen Difference_Tab:Contact Person at item level

  • LT45_Additional icon _Save layout got added

  • LP21_field added newly_when compared with ERD

  • Me21N_Item Level _Screen Comparision_Retail Tab

  • VA01 - New Field - Handover Location

  • VA01 New Field Inco.Vers,

  • Additional tab in VF03 at header level

Testing Phase :

Testing is very important activity prior to upgrade, We may try to cover the maximum scenarios in scope for testing the critical business process :

  • Highly used transactions

  • Control Report Testing

  • Interface Testing. – Comparing instead of reaching out to 3rd party.

  • Performance Testing

  • Output forms can be considered for testing - some of the smart-forms contain obsolete code in the form will throw a dump

Some Activations to be done after upgrade :  ( mentioning few which I recall )

1. Run RV80HGEN ( This program re-generate all the billing exits )
2. Regenerate structure structure FAGLPOSYEXT by executing FM ‘ITEM_STRUC_EXTENSION’ .

Few Observations related to the issues we faced :

  • There were some problems related to BAPI which was expecting extra parameters to be passed due to EHP 7  upgrade ( BAPI_PO_CREATE1 ), caused  an issue for auto creation of Framework type PO's using PR

  • All the reports which are a copy of standard may throw an obsolete syntax error because of   change added by SAP in the newer report.

  • We may have to use RS_ABAP_SOURCE_SCAN for finding the obsolete syntax used in the codes wherever applicable and fix it ( like shift leading 0. is an error in EHP7 , the right           syntax is shift leading '0'. )

  • There can be an issue reported by users for missing spreadsheet in EHP 7 upgrade , actuallySAP has changed the option so we may have to inform the users about the same ( more details here

  • There are few errors we get as a part of EHP 7 Upgrade in standard transactions related to   common transactions, so our first look should be for an SAP note for the subjected             solution

  • Before handing over the system to Business , We had done manual testing for highly used   transactions in upgraded production system so as to ensure everything is fine. We just           executed the transactions simply. This was done in the upgraded system after importing       SPAU and SPDD transports.

Few suggestions based on our experience for Upgrade Approach to Technical Team :

  • Accept upgraded version of standard SAP objects.

  • Retain Customer specific Changes.

  • Mandatory SPDD objects to be prioritized & adjusted first.

  • Non-Mandatory SPDD objects can be done in SPAU phase.

  • Separate transports to be created for SPDD & SPAU phases.

  • All the system accesses including user creation, role assignments, developer keys.

  • RFC connections needs to be in place prior to the upgrade for faster resolution time.

  • Use SPAU_ENH for adjusting custom enhancements

Hope these inputs can be of any help in planning for a smooth upgrade.Happy Upgrade 😄