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SAP ERP is world-class, integrated enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that addresses the core business software requirements of the most demanding midsize and large organizations around the world---in all industries and sectors.

In September 2006, SAP made a key announcement telling customers that:

  • Moving forward, all new functional enhancements to SAP ERP through 2010 will be made available as extensions to SAP ERP in a series of optional enhancement packages, eliminating the need for customers to continually upgrade their systems to take advantage of the newest technology and business process innovations from SAP, and
  • The first enhancement package was delivered in December 2006. The second enhancement package was delivered in July 2007, with the third following at year end 2007. The fourth enhancement package is expected at year end 2008.

Enhancement packages will be optional, offering customers the flexibility and power to choose new capabilities that best meet their business needs. Enhancement packages may contain new functionality such as talent management and financial collaboration capabilities, innovations to streamline implementation of shared services, industry-specific enhancements, and enterprise services.

Enterprise services bundles will play a key role in the enhancement packages, providing coherent sets of enterprise services that can be used to build composite applications solve emerging business problems. At SAPPHIRE 2007, the first half of the enterprise services bundles included in the June 2007 Enhancement Package were released. At SAPPHIRE Vienna 2007, the second half will be released.

Analysts, SAP customers, and other observers saw the impact of this announcement as follows:

  • SAP ERP 6.0 is guaranteed as a stable release, providing comfort and support for long term planning to customers by shielding them from the complexity of multiple upgrades and enabling consolidation of systems.
  • SAP ERP 6.0 provides a go-to release for customers seeking to upgrade from SAP R/3.
  • As new functionality is required, the enhancement packages will provide it and customers can choose to install those packages at their convenience. This allows continuing innovation on a stable platform.
  • The enhancement packages deliver innovation in smaller, manageable units that can be adopted if needed by each customer, avoiding large-scale costly upgrades.
  • Together with SAP NetWeaver® 2004s, enterprise SOA makes the enhancement package strategy work by allowing services and composite applications to be the foundation of enhancements to SAP ERP6. 0.

SAP anticipates that this evolved delivery model will make it simpler and faster for customers running SAP ERP to adopt new product functionality, industry-specific features and enterprise services. This new software delivery rhythm provides customers long-term planning security by virtually eliminating the need to make any major changes to their core ERP systems for the next four years and offering them a reliable software enhancement process that alleviates disruption and minimizes costs.

Michael Altendorf's blog mentions SAP's enhancement package strategy