Upgrading Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (Part 1) – Why bother?
Stephen Burr 18-May-2012
Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN) was “born” in November 2007 when Nakisa’s products became a solution extension of SAP. Since that initial 1.0 release, the product has evolved, most recently with the release of 3.0 SP3 in April 2012. You can read about the product’s history in (my colleague from ROC Germany) Ibrahim Nagy’s blog “History of SAP Talent and Org Visualization by Nakisa Solution Extensions“. Even prior to November 2007, Nakisa’s products were SAP certified solutions when they existed as Nakisa OrgManagement Series (NOMS). You can ascertain your current VSN configuration product version by using this wiki article.
In short, many companies have implemented Nakisa’s products and the probability is that almostall are not on the latest product and service pack version which was released last month. I have implemented Nakisa’s solutions on every product version since 2006, but recently I have observed a new level of enthusiasm for customers to upgrade. So why are they bothering?
Reasons Why Customers Upgrade
Here are my observations on why customers are upgrading their VSN implementations.
No Licence Cost
One very positive point is that there is no licence implication for upgrading your installation if you are replacing like for like (e.g. upgrading OrgChart from version 1.1 to 3.0 SP3). However, do contact your SAP Account Manager if you are considering expanding your use of VSN (e.g. upgrading from OrgChart 1.1 to 3.0 SP3 and implementing DataQualityConsole).
Take up of SAP EhP4 and EhP5
Also, while VSN applications are supported back to SAP 4.7, more and more SAP customers are now running ECC6 with EhP4 or EhP5. Some of the pre-3.0 versions do not support all SAP versions back to 4.7 though. Also, particularly significant for SAP Talent Visualization by Nakisa (STVN), SAP’s Talent Management data model changed significantly in May 2009 with the GA release of EhP4 and hence new SAP functionality is only fully leveraged in later VSN versions.
Talent Management take up has of course driven demand for STVN, but it has also created additional demand for SAP Org Visualization by Nakisa (SOVN). This is because of the need to have (and keep) organisational data accurate. Without good organisational management data there can be negative impacts on security and processes.
SOVN and STVN Product Maturity
I believe the release of the 3.0 versions of SOVN and STVN marked a significant milestone for the maturity of the products for the following reasons:
SP3 will be the last 3.0 Service Pack
Each service pack in each version has brought about greater reliability, stability and usually some feature improvements. Last month’s release of 3.0 SP3 to SAP customers on Service Marketplace (SMP) certainly has all these. But perhaps more significantly, it is the last planned service pack release for version 3.0. Information related to the next version of SOVN & STVN (“4.0”) is understandably limited at the moment, as is the release date; but most commentators are expecting a 2012 Q4 release at the earliest.
Another driver I have seen is a customer’s drive to update their system landscape. This can be server side, such as the move from the .NET version of the applications (pre 2.1 NW versions) or just to a certain level of OS support to align with other applications the IT department supports. It can also be client side, such as browser support; for example, from version 3.0, Internet Explorer 6.0 (IE6) support was dropped, but IE8 support was added.
Often the reason to upgrade is to resolve an identified issue, normally following advice received via the SAP Support Portal. Often the recommendation will be to apply a later build (same product and service pack version). These builds are often downloaded via a SAPMats link provided by SAP. This is the easiest type of “upgrade” to do. Bug fixes are also included in every service pack but the process for upgrading to take advantage of them can be a little more involved.
More on “how” to do both types of updates in my final part of this blog series.
Features and Functions
Far and away the biggest driver for change will be where the business has a requirement that is not currently met by the existing version but is available in a future version.
The tables below identify the key features you can take advantage of. There is a table per module which has a list of common (to all applications) improvements for that product version and the application specific improvements. The common features are repeated in each table for ease of reading; simply read the tables for the application(s) and product version you currently have.
SAP Org Visualization
SAP Talent Visualization
The tables above are a simplification of the overall product development and I recommend you research further if you want more detailed information on a particular version or feature. For 3.0 service packs, then I recommend reading the following blog posts (and comments):
In my experience, the four biggest drivers for upgrading are:
Can I Upgrade?
If you meant “Can I upgrade to the latest version?”, then the answer is “Yes”.
If you really meant “Can I automatically upgrade to the latest version?”, then the answer is “No” … if only it was that simple!
In the second part of my blog series I’ll look at how to prepare for upgrading, before concluding in part three with how to go about the upgrade.
This blog is also published on the SAP Community Network.
Stephen Burr is ROC's Global Solution Architect for Visualization Solutions by Nakisa (VSN). You can learn more about VSN here (including free online video demos).
You can follow Stephen Burr on Twitter @BurrStephen.