Increasingly, customers have asked SAP whether maintenance could be made easier by either allowing upgrades of only one specifically needed area rather than of all of SAP R/3 or by allowing new functionality to be deployed in stages.
The SAP R/3 Enterprise architecture is built around the concept of separating new functional developments from developments like the maintenance of reliability, performance and robust backbone processing.
Developments within the SAP R/3 Enterprise Core will focus primarily on enhancements in continuous improvement, quality, performance, legal changes and specific infrastructure adjustments. New developments can be implemented as needed. Functional developments now take place separately in SAP R/3 Enterprise Extensions. SAP wants to provide as much flexibility as possible in the upgrade strategies and projects allowing smooth transitions and integration benefits and quicker availability of innovations.
The reason for proceeding in this manner is to provide two additional benefits to the customer. First, using a new technology known as the package concept, customers can activate individual extensions based on the specific functionality required. This approach delivers significant cost savings. Second, separating functional from infrastructure development tremendously improves the total stability and performance of the system. The SAP R/3 Enterprise Extensions application packages will have their own release schedules. The SAP R/3 Enterprise Core will be maintained stable and serviced primarily through service packages.
Bottom line: SAP R/3 Enterprise allows a more dynamic and flexible upgrade strategy going forward because new functional enhancements can be deployed as needed. This provides an easier upgrade path to mySAP Business Suite and simpler additions to ERP functionality.