SAP S/4HANA is a real-time ERP suite for digital business. It provides commercial enterprises with the opportunity to transfer constantly increasing requirements on information, information technology, and the integration of all information flows along the value-adding process into a real time environment, in line with the digital transformation. It is based fully on the highly developed in-memory platform SAP HANA and thus guarantees high-performance data generation and data provision.

As the business development hub, SAP S/4HANA forms the digital core. SAP S/4HANA defines a dynamic structure, which intelligently integrates the business processes. This provides an excellent overview of all business processes – in real time.

Due to its technological prerequisites, SAP S/4HANA on the SAP HANA platform enables information gathering and information provision in real time, with virtually no waiting time. Support for decisions, which are required for the business, is provided in real time – at every level of detail.

What changes can the user expect with SAP S/4HANA?

With SAP Fiori, SAP S/4HANA provides a personalized, role-based, highly convenient user experience. It means that in future, the user gains targeted provision and processing of precisely the set of data that he requires for his work assignment. The latest interfaces, which are otherwise only familiar from the consumer world, are supplied with relevant content via SAP Fiori. In future, the user will be largely uncoupled from a client PC and can process his information on a variety of devices (e.g. smartphone, tablet).

On the other hand, the familiar transactions from the SAP ERP ECC environment are available and can be used as before. The SAP S/4HANA experience can be availed of via different methods and work media.

Which SAP S/4HANA operating models are offered?

For companies, there are two provision options available: 

  • SAP S/4HANA for on-site use (S/4HANA On-premise Version)
    • This is operated in the company-internal IT network
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud (S/4HANA as a service)
    • Use in the Cloud (private option)
    • Procurement of separate hardware is not required
    • System operation (hosting) is guaranteed by the service provider (e.g. SAP)
    • Customizing of the hosted system of the customer in accordance with customer wishes (e.g. in-house developments)

From SAP perspective: How to ensure a successful switch to SAP S/4HANA?

A first step can be the implementation of the SAP Business Suite with ECC 6.0 on SAP HANA. SAP offers support to customers with the conversion of an existing SAP ERP-6.0 system to a SAP S/4HANA system in the cloud. All data is carried forward, the database stripped of unnecessary indexes and aggregate tables, the remaining object clusters dissolved into regular tables, all tables converted to columnar store with the exception of transient data like EDI protocols.

Customer data extensions are also included. The new SAP S/4HANA applications should work instantly. The only exceptions are customer extension or modifications, these must be reevaluated and if necessary reimplemented, using the new extension framework. The interfaces with other customer applications have to be checked and, in many cases, optimized. SAP will help to minimize the datasets with data tiering, e.g. using HADOOP.

The standard SAP S/4HANA system should be thoroughly tested before considering any modifications. SAP S/4HANA offers a new UI (based on SAP Fiori) but the customer can choose to use the old UI to assist the users in the transition.

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