HR Module Maintenance Best Practices Using HR Support Packages

  • by Clay Molinari, SAP HR Consultant, C&C Savant, Inc.
  • July 15, 2003
Almost immediately after implementing the HR module, each customer is faced with the need to keep its R/3 system current by applying HR Support Packages. This article explains how you can continue to ensure a high level of reliability in your production environment by fitting HRSPs into your existing change management process.

In traditional, custom-built applications, software maintenance takes the form of development requests initiated by the business owner and implemented by the IS department. Most companies have a well-established protocol for this process. Typical steps include documentation of requirements, approval of changes, development, testing, and migration to production.

A number of individual development requests are often bundled into a single scheduled “release.” This procedure, called the software development lifecycle, has been refined over many years to ensure continuous error-free operation of the production environment.

When a company converts from a custom-built application to a licensed software product, the software development lifecycle undergoes some changes. The first four steps shift, to some degree, from the customer to the vendor. The customer expects the savings gained by eliminating these steps to be greater than the licensing fees. Individuals who use a product such as Microsoft Word may treat new versions like an oil change for their PC. When a new version becomes available, they just install it. Testing is not required because it is likely that Microsoft has tested the software enough to eliminate problems that might affect most users.

Corporations that invest in a customizable software package such as SAP, however, need to be more cautious. Each customer incorporates its own configuration and business processes into the application. Some customers even change the application logic through enhancements or modifications. This flexibility makes it much less likely that the testing performed by SAP can uncover all potential problems. This approach means that the development and testing functions have not totally shifted to the vendor, but rather are shared between the vendor and the customer.

Clay Molinari

Clay Molinari has 20 years of experience in the IT industry and has been working as an SAP HR consultant since 1997. He is currently president of C&C Savant, Inc., an SAP consulting firm that specializes in combining standard SAP configuration and custom ABAP programming to help its clients solve unique or complicated requirements.

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