Human Resources Support Packages – How Absoft can help relieve the stress of patching
Any organisation running SAP for HCM & Payroll will understand the importance of ensuring that your SAP system is ‘patched’ in the lead up to the new Payroll tax year in April of each year, and possibly throughout the year as required by the business. However, keeping on top of SAP notes and HR support packages (HRSP’s) can be a time-consuming task. Absoft can assist in many ways throughout this yearly cycle; providing a regular SAP notes advisory service, undertaking or supporting your organisation with patching testing and possibly applying SAP Notes and/or support packages on your behalf. This blog details how we can help and provides some useful tips along the way. One benefit of involving Absoft in your patching projects is that we can share knowledge learnt from other customers that we are also working with.
Legislative, Sector Specific and Customer Specific expertise
As HCM and Payroll consultants, it is imperative that we keep up to date with legislative changes proposed by the Government and what plans SAP have in place to meet these requirements along with any additional configuration and manual changes that Absoft can assist with. Our HCM and Payroll Consultants are supporting many clients across many industries such as Higher Education, Councils, Oil & Gas, Manufacturing and many more daily, giving us a wealth of experience and sector specific knowledge across these industries. We work closely with our clients to discuss these matters, knowledge sharing in both directions. To add to this, our personal service ensures that we are aware of your customer specific requirements so we know what your specific business requirements are and we can tailor the information we provide to you.
Our consultants are reviewing SAP Notes daily to ensure we stay well-informed of any new functionality, fixes for SAP Bugs and the release of notes in response to legislative changes in the HCM and Payroll modules, so that we can promptly identify these issues for our customers and be proactive in advising them on new functionality and recommend SAP Notes to be applied.
SAP Notes Advisory Service
We provide a dedicated SAP Notes Advisory Service to many of our clients where we are checking and reviewing SAP Notes on their behalf, providing a full download of SAP Notes released to date and providing advice on which notes they should consider applying. For some, we do this on a weekly basis but for many it is a bi-weekly service charging a couple of hours monthly from their support bank. As mentioned, we check SAP Notes daily so if there are any high priority notes released in between our updates, which we feel a customer should consider applying, we would advise them on this as soon as possible.
Benefits of this service to our customers
- Time spent by the customer accessing and analysing SAP Notes is recovered for other business tasks
- The SAP Notes download is organised per support package, with a small summary of each note, further assisting the client with their review of notes released and providing a good reference document for patching testing when the time comes
- Notes which Absoft know are not relevant to the customer, are highlighted as not applicable, therefore saving the customer further time from reviewing notes which are not relevant to their business
- The customer is engaged regularly and can pro-actively identify issues which they may face and be aware of bugs before they affect them allowing the customer to self-assess issues and further enhancing the response time to these issues if/when they do arise
- Further detailed assistance for in year or year-end patching can be provided
We provide SAP Notes services not only for the UK, but other countries such as Norway which operate on different tax years.
How Absoft can assist in the Patching Process
Let Absoft take on some of the stress involved with the Planning, Implementation, Testing and Go-Live of HRSP’s.
SAP notes relevant to end of year processing, and new or updated legislative requirements for the start of the new tax year, start to appear sometime in December, although there are usually more notes to be released in the new year. However, at this point we would contact our customers to start planning the patching process so that we ensure they are aware of the technical, configuration and resource requirements so that all resources can be scheduled both for Absoft and the customer, as required.
Starting this process early ensures we can meet the requirements of all our customers and prepares everyone involved for what is ahead. A project plan will be devised outlining all key dates and resource requirements to apply the necessary HRSPs and test each system in the landscape. Even if Absoft are not physically applying SAP Notes and HRSPs for a customer, we can still assist in the planning of this and you may still wish for our consultants to be involved in testing. Over the years, we have helped all our customers in some way during their patching projects.
Absoft can perform an analysis on your current system status to identify what HRSP and Support pack Stack (SPS) you are currently on, and what the technical requirements are to get your system to where it needs to be for year end and the new tax year which may also involve an SPS increase (we won’t get any more technical than that just now!) which would require all SAP modules to be involved in testing.
SAP provide a support package release schedule which Absoft review and advise which SP Level you should apply and when this HRSP will be available. From experience, we advise customers not to patch too early, as there are always SAP Notes released closer to year end to fix bugs in any new functionality being released and it is best to reduce the number of SAP Notes to be applied manually after patching.
Whether Absoft apply your HRSPs or not, we can assist with the testing process. Typically, Absoft would perform a first round of testing in the Development system before approving the HRSP’s to be applied to the Quality Assurance/Test environment. This means that many of the issues are resolved before the any key users from the customer perform their testing. We would then ask that the customer signs off on the testing in the QA environment before the HRSP’s are applied to the productive environment. During this testing period, SAP may also help with directly raising and liaising with SAP on issues which have been identified to get a fix released. We would share our knowledge on this issue with all our customers where applicable, saving the need for each customer to raise a call unless required.
The ever-daunting task of making updates to your productive system looms and even after thorough testing in both the development and quality assurance systems, this can still be unnerving to some. Absoft can help plan go-live, provide additional go-live support which typically lands on a weekend and perform some post-patching system checks before the wider user community log in on the Monday morning. We also advise some key users within the business to perform their own checks before allowing all users back into the system following patching of the productive system. The post go-live support doesn’t end there. Often after patching to the recommended level, further SAP Notes will be released and further bugs introduced to the system before a customer is able to complete their yearend processing and execute payroll for period 1. Absoft will be able to advise on these additional notes to be applied and again assist with any configuration and testing involved to get these updates live and let you progress as quickly as possible.
Our overall aim is to remove the stress from our customer during this process, in any way we can. If you think we can help your organisation in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us.