Upgrading to SAP R/3 Enterprise: An Organizational View - SAP BASIS


An upgrade project requires setting up a comprehensive project team that is committed to the successful completion of the project and is well informed of the objectives. A SAP upgrade is more than just a technology task, and normally the technical activities of the project take less time than other critical phases, such as the upgrade blueprint. The upgrade team is made up of different groups, among them the following:

  • SAP technical consultants, commonly known as the Basis personnel (can be internal, external or both)
  • Other internal IT staff, such as network, security, and system managers
  • Business process staff, or functional consultants (internal, external)
  • Key users, which are typically the process owners
  • SAP and partners contacts
  • End users; they are not part of the upgrade team, but consider them when planning because they will need to receive training and updated user documentation

The previous groups are organized by functions, but in many customers, some of the roles are assumed by the same persons; for instance, we typically find key users as internal business process owners, or they do the customizing themselves. In small installations we also find that the IT persons can cover themselves for full support of the technical aspects of SAP systems, including performing the technical upgrade. However, large companies and large system landscapes may need an army of partners or consultants working side by side with customer personnel. These partners or consultants can typically provide previous expertise or technical knowledge in upgrade projects. Let's briefly describe in the next sections two very important roles within the SAP upgrade project.

Key Users and the Functional Team

The key users, or business process owners, are the representatives of the different departments or organizations within the companies, for instance, order processing, accounts payable, treasury, production planning, purchasing, and many others. The function of the key users is to verify that the business processes within the SAP applications work the way they are supposed to, according to the business requirements and to end users. Key users are involved during the systems and integration tests, and often they are also in charge of training end users.

The functional or business process team is made of members with knowledge and experience with different SAP application modules, such as MM (Materials Management), FI (Financial Accounting), CO (Controlling), or any other within the scope of the previous SAP implement functionality. It is also recommended that a technical expert handle tasks related to cross-application activities such as workflow and BAS. This team is comprised of users and key users of the different organization units or departments related with the upgrade project, and often is complemented by functional SAP consultants.

Often the functional team is also composed of one or several ABAP programmers, which can help during the modification adjustment process, review, or modification of previously developed local programs.

Activities and functions of the business process team include the following:

  • Gap analysis and business process reengineering. If the new functionality included in the new release affects the business processes, the functional team is responsible for analyzing the system to adapt those changes.
  • Adjusting the modifications. As a result of the gap analysis and according to the new repository objects included in the new release, the changes will have to be adjusted. Refer to the section "Modification Adjustment" later in this chapter.
  • Integration and regression testing to ensure that all the business processes still work properly after the upgrade.
  • Often, the functional team is also responsible for creating end user training material and documentation.
  • Providing the functional support during the go live, and later.

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