Q

Changing time zones in SAP ECC 6.0

An SAP user wants to know the risks of changing time zones in ECC 6.0.

Our security team wants to implement the GRC package into our SAP system and the pre-requisite for this is to change the system time to UTC. We are running SAP ECC 6.0, and our current system time is based on EDT. We would like to understand the negative impacts this implementation may have - other than the obvious need to reschedule batch jobs. For example, what will happen to the date and time stamps of old documents?

Time stamps for documents can be stored in two different formats:

  • Using standard ABAP date and time fields (YYYYMMDD and HHMMSS). Here the time stamp corresponds to the system time, i.e. the time on the database server as returned by the ABAP system variable SY-DATUM and SY-UZEIT. Using the system time is necessary to avoid situations where, for instance, a financial document created by a user in Berlin (CET) would be modified a few minutes later by a user in New York (EDT). If the user’s time zone were stored in the document data, then it would seem as if the document had been changed before it was created. However, many applications will take the time zone into account when processing these documents. How this is done depends on the time zone-related information that is available for the document. The details are explained in the SAP online help (help.sap.com) in the guide “Time Zones” (CA-GTF-TIM). This same guide also describes various application-specific scenarios.

 

  • Another format that is frequently used is the ABAP time stamp format (handled in ABAP with the “GET TIME STAMP” and “CONVERT TIME STAMP” statements). A time stamp field is always in UTC and the application will automatically convert it to/from the user’s time zone.

 

This was first published in September 2010

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