Sail Smoothly Through the Plug-In Upgrade Process

  • by Shreekant W. Shiralkar, Global Head, SAP Analytics CoE, Tata Consultancy
  • June 1, 2006
Upgrading plug-ins is a necessary part of maintaining BW. Discover how to make the process as painless as possible with these expert suggestions.
Key Concept

The plug-in is a component in the source system (such as SAP R/3, Customer Relationship Management [CRM], BW) that is responsible for tightly integrating these systems. Plug-ins have software that contains functions, programs, extractors, and DataSources that help extract and transfer data from the SAP source system into BW. You install plug-ins on your SAP source system from which you pull data into BW. The R/3 plug-in supplies SAP components with transaction data and master data in real time. It also allows you to use SAP components such as Advanced Planning and Optimization or CRM together with certain industry-specific components.

Any software product, including plug-ins, must change to improve and provide new features and functionality. SAP constantly enhances its products to keep them current with users’ demands and allow them to communicate with its latest products. Plug-ins are available in different versions (e.g., Plug-In [PI] 2002.1, PI.2003.1 etc.). Plug-ins affect two systems, the SAP source system and the target system.

You must take great care while upgrading plug-ins. We’ve used SAP BW for more than three years and have upgraded plug-ins three times. We’ve noticed that many problems can arise during a plug-in upgrade if you do not follow a systematic process. We have gained a good amount of expertise from our three plug-in upgrades and we’ll share our proven, step-by-step procedure to limit the problems you encounter.

You should view the plug-in upgrade as a small project that requires more effort than applying Support Packages. Thoroughly prepare for the upgrade by following these steps:

Step 1. Prepare for the plug-in upgrade

Step 2. Delete the setup tables

Step 3. Stop all scheduled background jobs

Step 4. Lock all users

Step 5. Run update jobs

Step 6. Start your process chain

Step 7. Check the delta queue

Step 8. Check the extract structures

Step 9. Record the number ranges of all areas (optional)

Step 10. Ensure that R/3 contains no update errors

Step 11. Deactivate the extract structures in the Logistics Cockpit

Step 12. Activate the extract structures

Step 13. Record the number ranges of all areas (optional)

Step 14. Activate the R/3 connection

Step 15. Activate all DataSources (transfer structures)

Step 16. Start V3 updates and background jobs in R/3

We’ll discuss these steps in more detail later. All steps are necessary except the preventive steps 9 and 13. We have omitted the Basis aspects and focused on application and functional aspects. The procedure includes activities both on the BW side and on the R/3 side in sequence. We’ll use R/3 in our example, but our advice also applies to mySAP ERP Central Component (ECC).

Shreekant W. Shiralkar

Shreekant W. Shiralkar is a senior management professional with experience on leading and managing business functions as well as technology consulting. He has authored best selling books and published many white papers on technology. He also holds patents for innovations. Presently he is global head of the SAP Analytics Centre of Excellence at Tata Consultancy.

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