SAP ERP Enhancement Package 4 Is Sign of the Times in Enterprise Software

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It used to be a big deal when SAP rolled out major new changes in R/3. Those in the know kept track of the differences between 3.0B in January 1996 and Release 4 in 1999. Then there was the confusing switch from 3.0E and 3.1G sometime during that timeframe. That's where 3.0 ended and 3.1 started, if my memory serves me: no F, and they inexplicably changed the point when they introduced Internet Application Components, SAP's first Web foray?


So I'm only half joking when I say the November 12 announcement of SAP Enhancement Package 4 is really R/3 Release 7.2. From 1991 to 2003, I actually used to keep track of such nuances because ERP users (and SAP competitors) really cared. It says something about the changes in the ERP enterprise software market that SAP R/3's latest enhancements only merit a press release. New features to account for hedging, succession management, recycling, customer returns and outsourcing all seem to be signs of the times of a depressed worldwide economy.


One thing that hasn't changed is that this is just an announcement of a plan to release some software. I can't find a delivery date in the press release, although there is a hint in Albert Pang's quote that it will be sooner than 24 months, which was the old way of announcing/releasing ERP software.


Also probably significant is that the announcement came at SAP's TechEd conference in India. Another sign of the times.