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Is Unicode necessary for a NetWeaver upgrade?

Unicode was devised to supersede language barriers. With globalization in mind, our expert advises on implementing Unicode prior to a NetWeaver upgrade.

We are about to upgrade from NetWeaver 3.1 to NetWeaver 2004s. Our IT supplier has advised that in order to make use of new functionality -- BEx Broadcaster, Visual Composer and so on -- we will have to implement Unicode. We can't find any mention of the need for this on any sites or documentation we have. Can you please advise? We need to know the pros and cons of opting for Unicode.
There are a number of complex reasons why a Unicode upgrade may be necessary, including the fact that your database may require Unicode in order to function properly with your new SAP system. Obviously, if you're working in multiple languages, particularly those that require non Latin-based character sets, Unicode is a requirement as well.

I would recommend that you check in with your SAP sales representative and/or your local users group to see what other similar organizations have done in moving to a new SAP implementation. The upgrade can be complicated and costly, and shouldn't be undertaken unless a good business or technological case can be made for doing so.

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