90 per cent of SAP users point to upgrade challenges in new research
SAP customers who are planning on upgrading to the latest version of the company’s enterprise resource planning software, SAP ERP 6.0, can make their upgrade projects faster and easier by archiving the bulk of historical data sitting on their systems, concludes a new European survey by Macro 4.
90 per cent of the 135 SAP users from UK, France and Spain who participated in the survey admitted that performing upgrades was a challenge. Their main complaints included the time that upgrades consume (mentioned by 73 per cent), the complexity involved (60 per cent), and the staffing resources involved (50 per cent). 41 per cent of respondents were worried about the risk of system failure following an upgrade and 39 per cent were concerned about potential loss of data.
67 per cent of those questioned revealed that a significant proportion of the data sitting in their SAP systems is static or historical information and this is one of the chief causes of problems, according to Lynda Kershaw, marketing manager at Macro 4, which is an archiving expert working with users to manage SAP data.
“Our experience is that older information which is very seldom accessed constitutes as much as 80 per cent of SAP data for many users. Yet only 43 per cent of those we questioned said they currently archive this inactive data away from the system – in the UK and Spain the figures were as low as 36 and 31 per cent. This probably plays a big part in why upgrades are seen as so painful.
“The bigger your SAP database, the more information you’ll have to migrate each time you upgrade and the more time, complexity and risk involved. So it really pays to use archiving to keep your database lean, as SAP itself recommends. And with less data in the system, you’ll also benefit from faster responses, shorter backup and restore times and lower storage costs.”
81 per cent of users surveyed by Macro 4 said the need to stay on a supported version of SAP was a major driver for upgrading. This is putting extra pressure on IT departments as support for older versions of SAP start to run out between this year and 2012.
“With all the testing required, and because it is a mission-critical application for most customers, SAP upgrade projects tend to take 6-12 months to execute. So there is now some time pressure to get upgrades completed. And some users find they can only schedule an upgrade over Easter or Christmas because of the lengthy downtime,” added Kershaw.
Macro 4 explained that upgrading to SAP ERP 6.0 can also involve a significant increase in the size of the SAP database, making archiving even more important for optimising performance and controlling storage costs:
“Because of the way SAP 6.0 organises data within the database and because upgrading will involve converting to the Unicode encoding methodology, this can lead to an increase in the volume of data. An SAP 4.6c system has around 32,000 database tables while the new SAP 6.0 version can have up to 100,000, for example,” explained Kershaw.
Macro 4 advises that SAP users with a database larger than 400GB stand to benefit from archiving before upgrading.
About the Research
Macro 4’s research consisted of an online survey of 135 IT executives working in organisations that use SAP. 55 of the sample were in the UK, 45 in France and 35 in Spain.
Macro 4 SAP archiving HealthCheck
Macro 4 is providing a free health check to analyse users’ databases and identify archiving possibilities. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Macro 4
Macro 4 is a global software company that helps organisations to improve the performance of their critical business applications by making the complex simple. Macro 4’s solutions for application performance, document management and application availability are easy to use, fast to implement and deliver value quickly in even the most complex IT environments.
US and European subsidiaries and a network of international business partners represent the company in every major market worldwide.
Macro 4’s Document Management solutions capture, store, present and deliver business-critical data and documents electronically and physically in the most appropriate way to increase the efficiency of key processes such as SAP™ ERP, application decommissioning and customer service via the Internet or call centres.
Macro 4 is a part of the UNICOM Group of Companies.