what is your scope ?
I work with 2 customers with upstream mainly (analysis/sourcing/contract/spm) and there is really 2 different approaches:
- on one it is hosted by ariba and we are more or less forced to go for each SP (we might skip one but this is generally not the rule)
we have regression tests run by the support team mainly against our customization - if we find an issue against our customization, we fix pretty quickly and apply SP
Of course we had some regressions and had to request HF but more or less I would say it works okay. Following our SR lists, I believe there's always 1 or 2 things at least that we are expecting from SP and we can show regularly to the user community that we are progressing on issue resolution
- one the second customer I am working with, there is mainly 1 or 2 release scheduled per year, and unless there is a showstopper that does not change
It is hosted internally and they did core code modifications during the migration.
In August we deployed SP20 (we applied latest HF for performance) from SP12 and it went fine, but we are doing more intense testing (there is about 4 to 6 weeks testing) as after we go live we have to wait for the next release to fix things
Hope that helps,
With my experience I would suggest doing a thorough analysis of what has been updated and what has been changed in the upcoming service pack helps in taking the decision.
What we have always tried is to find out:
1) What new features or functionality we would be getting from a particular SP.
2) How many existing issues will get fixed by the new SP?
3) What are known issues so far from the new SP.
4) If there are any known issues then when Ariba is going to address them and in which future SP.
5) How many fixes in the SP are relevant for our build or system.
6) How many core code changes are impacted by the new SP - This is critical as the more core code changes you have in the system the more critical it gets to redo them and get them tested properly.
Note: We usually prefer to Upgrade yearly around the same time of the year but not to the latest SP, we prefer last but one so that we get enough info time to study the details of the SP and it helps us in avoiding any major issues after upgrade.
Hope this helps,