SAP pushes out modular update to Business Suite 7

The revamps for the suite of ERP and other business software continue SAP's approach of releasing updates that do not call for a large installation of a full-version product

SAP has rolled out an update to Business Suite 7 that allows customers to add new software features without halting operations in order to upgrade their systems.

The Innovations 2010 software package made its formal debut on Tuesday at the Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Florida, after being introduced at the previous year's event. It brings new functionality to core applications in the Business Suite 7 platform, such as the SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) products.

For example, SAP ERP 6.0 customers now have the option to switch on more than 300 new business functions, such as convergent charging, linear asset management and master data governance processes, the enterprise software maker said.

Business Suite 7 is a collection of modular, integrated SAP enterprise applications that are designed to work with both SAP and non-SAP software. It launched in February 2009.

'Innovation without disruption'

SAP said that delivering upgrades in 'enhancement packages' rather than switching to a full new suite of software makes it easier for customers to upgrade without the disruption of a large implementation.

"The new solutions for deeper industry and line-of-business processes build on SAP's proven delivery model of enhancement packages for upgrades in on-premise software," the company said in a statement. "Their availability across core suite applications marks a key waypoint in the SAP product roadmap and promise of 'innovation without disruption'."

Gartner analyst Donald Feinberg said the company's research has found SAP customers are "much more comfortable" with the modular approach to updates.

"Not only will it reduce customer resources and time to use new functionality but it also removes much of the risk involved in a complete upgrade. This is very different from SAP in the past, as well as other software vendors, [which are] still releasing complete upgrade packages or conversion to all-new software," Feinberg told ZDNet UK.

He added that SAP's High-Performance Analytic Appliance (Hana) software is expected to go down the same 'enhancement package' route "later in the year", rather than launching in a whole new version.

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