Almost twelve years ago, just after hurricane Wilma, a new storm emerged in the form of SAP NetWeaver 2004s, which was later rebranded as SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (NW 7.0). Many of you may still remember the radical changes SAP introduced and how successful this product was and still is. In fact, NetWeaver is still the heart and soul of many business-critical applications. But with all good things they inevitably come to an end.
At the end of this year, the highly successful SAP NW 7.0 Java stack, including enhancement packages (EHP) 1, 2 and 3 will finally go out of SAP maintenance. This means that if you’re currently using NW 7.0, you need to decide what to do next. It’s worth noting that this will affect all applications based on or comprise of NW 7.0x Java stacks.
If it’s so good, why is it going?
The Java stack used by NW 7.0 is based on Java version 1.4.2, which was launched in 2002; the same year that the very first mobile device with a built-in camera was introduced in the US. Imagine your life back then without having to worry about selfies and social media! For NW 7.0 it’s a simple case of moving with the times. In a rapidly changing environment, SAP are focusing on the best possible solutions and NW 7.0 has run its course.
With this upcoming change, the Java applications of SAP ERP 6.0 (including EHP1, EHP2 and EHP3) will no longer be enabled to run on the SAP NetWeaver 7.30 Java stack. Therefore, customers should plan to update to at least SAP ERP 6.0 EHP4 in time (before the end of 2017) to be able to upgrade the Java stack to at least SAP NetWeaver 7.30 as well.
Take the example of a customer who runs SAP HCM ESS/MSS on SAP Enterprise Portal (EP) on NW 7.0 and uses SAP ERP 6.0 EHP3 as their backend. Let’s assume that the business requirements for the past year are unchanged and all this customer wants is a technical upgrade. The most obvious scenario is to upgrade the NW 7.0 EP to NW 7.30+ EP and continue to run the ESS/MSS business processes.
However, the Java Connectors (JCo) between the EP and ERP system have been modified by SAP in NW 7.30+. So, to connect the EP with ERP, you must upgrade the ERP 6.0 EHP3 system to a version which is supported by SAP. This means that instead of one upgrade, this customer is now facing a more complex project.
As you can see, there’s no simple answer as to what to do next, if you are currently running on NW 7.0. For many organisations, the obvious step is to upgrade to SAP NetWeaver 7.5. In the case of a dual-stack implementation, you must split the Java stack from the ABAP stack as NW 7.5 does not support dual-stacks anymore. The NW 7.5 Java stack will be supported until the end of 2022 and the ABAP stack until 2025.
What can we expect from NW 7.5?
Some of the business functionality you might have been using since the release of NW 7.0 can now be executed in a much simpler, smarter and more agile way in NW 7.5.
Consider the very first mobile device with a built-in camera. Nowadays it will still do the job if the users’ requirements (and expectations) have remained the same. However, in reality customers' and users’ requirements and expectations are increasing exponentially. Your competition is rapidly moving to meet these, enabling them to stay ahead in the digital marketplace. Replacing NW 7.0 Java stack application is just one of the ways you can continue to “run simple”, and keep up with the competition.
Wait, hold on a second…
Before going ahead with any sudden changes, I recommend you create a plan based around your business’s current challenges, combined with your company’s vision and IT plans. This will ensure you’re replacing the best long-term and most effective solution to move forward with.
Such a plan allows you to identify any dependencies you need to address before you migrate. It might also reveal other advantages you can get from combining additional projects to reduce the impact on your business. Oh, and by the way – if you need any assistance – you know where you can find us!