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As a UX specialist in the SAP S/4HANA Regional Implementation Group, I’m privileged to work with many of our SAP S/4HANA customers.  Many of these SAP S/4HANA customers are looking to leverage the business benefits of SAP S/4HANA by implementing SAP Fiori at scale. This means implementing regular upgrade and support packages to keep SAP Fiori and related SAP classic UI technologies (SAP GUI for HTML, ABAP WebDynpro, Web Client UI) up to date with the latest features, innovations and fixes – as a result you realize business benefits as soon as possible and minimize unexpected issues.

Why should you do this? By keeping your SAP S/4HANA and SAP Fiori systems up to date you realize the following benefits:

  • Get the latest innovations both on SAP S/4HANA and SAP Fiori as soon as they are available

  • Avoid ending up with unsupported software

  • Avoid having to implement lots of SAP Notes individually

  • Avoid diagnosing & reporting known issues that are already fixed

  • Keep current with the latest long-term SAPUI5 maintenance release

Patching does NOT bring you any  new SAP Fiori apps. You can see from the blog post How and why to upgrade SAP Fiori for your SAP S/4HANA solution that the following is true:

  • You ONLY get new SAP Fiori apps when you upgrade SAP S/4HANA – upgrading the SAP Fiori front-end server only does NOT bring new apps. However, some SAP Fiori apps are contained in UIBAS001, for these please see SAP Note 2436567 - UI for Basis Applications - General Information

  • You ONLY get new intelligent capabilities such as Situation Handling and the related use cases when you upgrade SAP S/4HANA – upgrading the SAP Fiori front-end server alone does NOT bring you new intelligent capabilities

In this blog post you will learn best practice for managing your system landscape maintenance strategy so that it becomes business as usual for your company, this covers:

  • SAPUI5

  • Kernel

  • Unified rendering

  • SAP Fiori front-end server upgrades & support packages

You will also learn how often patches to each of these software layers should be applied.

This blog post is valid for all versions of SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud, private edition.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended as general guidance only and you should check the embedded links to official SAP documentation which will be updated on a regular basis.

NOTE: A logon maybe required to access the SAP Note links in this blog post.

So, you are new to SAP S/4HANA and some of the terminology?

Then check the SAP Release and Maintenance Strategy document (glossary section) to quickly get familiar with Feature Pack Stack (FPS), Support Package (SP) and Support Package Stack (SPS) definitions.

You can see from the graphic below an illustration of FPS and SPS release  schedules in relation to an SAP S/4HANA major release up to SAP S/4HANA 2023:

Overview of Release and Maintenance Strategy up to SAP S/4HANA 2023

From SAP S/4HANA 2023 onwards, the release strategy has changed to a major release every 2 years. You can see the major release and the FPS and SPS release schedules below:

Overview of Release and Maintenance Strategy for SAP S/4HANA 2023 onwards

Important Components of SAP S/4HANA to keep up to date:

The list below is sequenced in order of decreasing complexity & impact:

  1. SAP S/4HANA & FPS/SPS – this is the big one so usually needs to be planned. Releases are normally annual with 2 FPS.  NOTE: Dependencies and other areas to be updated are also documented per SP/FP in the Release information Note (see example here for 2884313 - SAP S/4HANA 2020: Release Information 

  2. SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA SPS –this will allow bulk implementation of SAP Notes.
    (NOTE: there are no FPS for SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA)           

  3. SAP Fiori front-end server – this is on a 2-year maintenance plan (most other solutions are 5 years), so expect to update this before the SAP S/4HANA upgrade                                       

  4. SAPUI5 patches for performance and bug fixes                       

  5. ABAP Platform (SAP_BASIS component). There is a new SAP_BASIS release with each SAP S/4HANA release – thereafter patches (SAP Note corrections) are released with ad-hoc frequency

  6. Kernel patches for performance. Kernel patches are typically once a week & generally these contain improvements, see SAP Note 2791294 - SAP Kernel 7.77 disp+work (DW.SAR) patch forecast for a sample release schedule.                                                                                       

  7. Unified Rendering patches for performance of classic UIs. These also generally contain improvements.

NOTE: Components 2,3,4,6 & 7 (in bold) relate to SAP Fiori software & they need to be upgraded regularly.

So, you are aware of the benefits of major SAP S/4HANA upgrades but are not so sure of the benefits of upgrading SAP Fiori?

Well, read on to complete your understanding….

The SAP Fiori front-end server typically contains the SAP_UI, UIBAS001 components.  For example, the SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 for SAP S/4HANA contains the following component versions:

  • SAP_UI     7.55      Contains among other UI components, the SAPUI5 library and SAP Fiori launchpad

  • UIBAS001 600       UI for Basis Applications 600 - the SAP Fiori Apps for SAP NetWeaver.

The following SAP Notes further detail this information:

Why should you upgrade these components?

  • SAP_UI - User Interface Technology: this contains the SAPUI5 library so keeping this updated, ensures you leverage the innovation version of SAPUI5, which contains new features and innovations. Additionally, this component contains the SAP Fiori Launchpad, UI development toolkit for HTML5, UI theme designer, Web Dynpro ABAP and Floorplan manager – all critical elements of your SAP Fiori landscape

  • UIBAS001 - UI for Basis Applications: this component contains new SAP Fiori apps when you upgrade the SAP Fiori front-end server, it also contains key SAP Fiori apps such as ‘My Inbox’ , ‘Custom Fields and Logic’, ‘Custom CDS View’ and many others.

As well as new capabilities, upgrades to these components include performance improvements & performance improvement options. The SPS release schedule for the SAP_UI component is shown here SAP_UI Support Packages

You can check the release schedule for UIBAS001 by referring to the SAP Notes for SAP Fiori front-end server release information for your system.

NOTE: Whilst the SAP_GWFND - SAP Gateway Foundation component is NOT part of SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 it should still be patched on a regular basis to ensure you are using the latest SAP Gateway runtime, infrastructure and development tools to generate OData services. Further information can be found here:

SAP Gateway Foundation (SAP_GWFND)

Patches of SAP_GWFND are shipped with each release of the SAP_BASIS component. They do however usually only contain fixes that have been shipped via SAP Notes beforehand.

You can see from the blog post Upgrade your SAP Gateway independently from the underlying SAP NW 7.4 basis release

that SAP_GWFND can be patched independently from the underlying basis release, that means (for example) you can install an SP of SAP_GWFND 740 no matter what SP your SAP NetWeaver 740 Basis Release is. You can find further info in the SAP Notes:

Why should you upgrade the Kernel?

You will most probably use SAP Fiori apps that render using SAP GUI for HTML (sometimes called WEBGUI) & this is linked to the kernel as it uses the SAP Business Client runtime to work. Most of the core JavaScript (JS) libraries used to load SAP GUI for HTML come from the kernel. You can find further excellent information on this topic from the following:

You can find the release schedule for the kernel here Update Strategy for the Kernel of the Application on page 9.

Why should you upgrade Unified Rendering?

Unified Rendering (UR) also called Lightspeed is the basis HTML framework consumed by Web Dynpro ABAP, Web Dynpro JAVA and SAP GUI for HTML. To ensure high quality of the HTML framework especially due to many technical dependencies e.g. different browsers, different themes etc. the fixes are collected, intensively tested and shipped every month. It is therefore important that YOU implement these fixes on a regular basis to keep the SAP GUI for HTML framework up to date. You can find further information in SAP Note 2090746 - WD ABAP: Unified Rendering Update with TCI - Instructions and Related SAP Notes

Why should you upgrade SAPUI5?

You should upgrade SAPUI5 in order that you can consume new innovations and features on a regular basis. The release schedule for SAPUI5 can be found here Fresh UI5 innovations every month. You can use the SAPUI5 Roadmap to see the latest innovations and developments available.

NOTE: You should only be upgrading the minor patch of your current SAPUI5 release – e.g. 1.78.5 to 1.78.11 . Patching SAPUI5 to a Cloud UI5 interim release e.g. 1.81 is not supported. Patching to the next long term SAPUI5 release such as 1.84 may require a shift in the S/4HANA FPS or SPS version.

Required & supported patch levels are usually found in the release information notes for SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA <release>, SAP Fiori front-end server release and the SAP Note regarding Maintenance and Update Strategy for SAPUI5

NOTE: SAPUI5 is a user interface technology. This UI development toolkit for HTML5 supports your application developers in quickly & easily creating applications based on HTML5 and JavaScript.

How do you know what SAP Notes are included in a support pack? You can see what SAP Notes are included for your download. E.g.  find the download, select the Related info > Content info option

Support Pack Download

SAP Note Overview

How do you know what new SAP Fiori apps are included in an SAP Fiori upgrade?

Well, you can find all you need to know on this topic in the following resources:

Can you tell what SAP Fiori apps may be impacted by a support pack application?

You should check the What’s New Viewer for SAP S/4HANA  to view any major impacts, whilst SAP Notes listed in the support pack will give direct impacts such as bug fixes for SAP Fiori apps.  The What’s New in SAPUI5 version change log explains impacts on individual controls and floorplans such as SAP Fiori elements - > Documentation > What’s New in SAPUI5

How do you manage custom SAP Fiori apps during SAP Fiori related upgrades?              

Custom apps based on SAP Fiori elements floorplans get upgraded typically with no effort at all

Most of the watchpoints for custom SAP Fiori apps are already covered in the Upgrading SAP S/4HANA – How, Why and Best Practices guide section 3.6.2 Custom SAP Fiori Apps:

  • Primarily you are looking out for deprecated SAPUI5 controls and APIs and using the support tools to help remediate those

  • In practice the risk is relatively minor, provided your developers were following best practice guidelines when they originally developed the apps

  • If you used a custom theme also check section 6.3.8 'Unexpected issues in standard or custom Themes'

NOTE: SAP standard apps should upgrade with no impact or have SAP Notes where necessary.

Why would you, for example upgrade from SAP Fiori front-end server 6.0 to SAP Fiori front-end server 2020?

SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 offers the following innovations NOT found in SAP Fiori front-end server 6.0:

  • Spaces and Pages – the more apps & UIs you are launching from the SAP Fiori launchpad the more important this becomes as it is much more scalable than Groups

  • Content federation from on-premise to SAP Cloud Platform launchpad server

  • With SAP Fiori front-end server 2020, you get SAPUI5 version 1.78 and higher, versus SAP Fiori front-end server 6.0 which is limited to SAPUI5 1.71

How often should you upgrade SAP Fiori components?

The more often you upgrade your SAP Fiori components, the easier it gets, the less frequent your SAP Fiori upgrades are the more disruptive and problematic it becomes. The best analogy is to compare upgrading SAP Fiori components to brushing your teeth – the more frequently you brush your teeth, the less frequent your trips to the dentist to fix problems.

There is no general answer to how often upgrades should be planned, it depends on your company strategy & business requirements. Typically, there is a major SAP S/4HANA release every 1 year, however in the meantime you must patch SAP Fiori and UX components.

The best and latest guidance for support packages can be found here SAP Support Pack Strategy, at the time of writing, a planned maintenance is recommended at least once , but ideally two to four times a year. The more frequent your SAP Fiori upgrades, the easier it is to assign roles and responsibilities such that the upgrades are always seamless and successful.

Having planned your SAP Fiori upgrade, how do you ensure these upgrades become business as usual, such that your upgrades are performed quickly & successfully? Well, you can use automated testing for the SAPUI5 and ABAP layers

  1. SAPUI5 Unit Test Recorder for SAPUI5 1.74 or above which includes SAP S/4HANA 2020 or SAP Fiori front-end server 2020 with an SAP S/4HANA 1809 or 1909. This also covers OPA UI5 acceptance checks & automations

  2. ABAP Test Double Framework

Tip: The above content assumes an embedded SAP S/4HANA deployment, if you have a hub deployment, then SAP Fiori upgrades will need to be performed on the SAP Fiori front-end server.

Conclusion: With these guidelines you will be able to offer your business the latest SAP Fiori innovations as soon as they are available – increasing productivity, user satisfaction, customer loyalty & solution adoption.

For Questions and Answers on SAP Fiori - please see the SAP Community Q&A area and feel free to post your own questions.

I hope you found this blog post helpful - feel free to leave comments and feedback, you can follow the SAP Fiori for S/4HANA tag to receive updates on blog posts here.

Becoming an SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA guru

You’ll find much more on the community topic page for SAP Fiori for SAP S/4HANA

Other helpful links in the SAP Community:

Brought to you by the SAP S/4HANA Customer Care and RIG.