Understanding SAP S/4HANA (Cloud)

S/4HANA is the newest SAP solution for Enterprise Resource-Planning (ERP). HANA is the most significant update to any SAP ERP strategy or platform in over 20 years.

Some of the key advantages of S/4HANA include:

  • In-memory based performance: which is significantly better than the classical relational databases
  • Modern user-interface: intuitive, app-like, interface based on SAP Fiori
  • Device-independent: including web browser, mobile or tablet
  • Built-in-analytics: operational transparency through analytics
  • Robust digital platform: good foundation for integrating and leveraging digital technologies like RPA (Robotic Process Automation), IoT (Internet of Things), ML (Machine Learning), AI (Artificial Intelligence), etc.
  • Core functionality: built with well-documented best practices and several years of experience
  • Support – continuous functionality enhancements by SAP

SAP S/4HANA works exclusively with SAP’s in-memory based HANA database, where previous SAP ERP system, like ECC 6/Business Suite, could work with several database platforms. The S/4HANA advantage is that:

  • It can be heavily optimized to get the most out of the massive speed boost
  • It can now offer real-time on-line insight into complex business KPIs via embedded analytics

S/4 is marketed as the next generation ERP solution, but is it the answer for customers who have experienced old-fashioned, non-user-friendly UI, and long deployment cycles? Our team took a closer look at the S/4 solution, read-on to learn more about our findings.

SAP S/4HANA is available in 2 deployment options:

SAP S/4HANA

Commonly deployed as private cloud (or in-cloud) using SAP hosting or other cloud providers like AWS, Microsoft Cloud, or Google Cloud.

Customer has total control of the system, database, upgrade and release schedules, customizations (as it was with SAP ECC).

SAP S/4HANA Cloud

  • Lean subscription-based SaaS solution from SAP
  • Subscription per number of users and enabled features in “Public Cloud”
  • SAP has total control of the system, database, upgrades, and release schedules
  • Web browser access with limited functionalities available
  • Full separation of different tenants/customers
  • Limited customizations in S/4HANA Cloud
 

Key learnings

Best-practice processes

Cloud first

Ease-of-use with Fiori

Security & authorization

Implementation & validation

Data migration

Testing

Is your company ready for S/4HANA?

The key question is – Is your company ready to start the journey towards S/4HANA Solution? The following illustrates a summary of the implementation options:

SAP S/4HANA

Standard process: Modifications to standard processes not endorsed but possible forcing the system to change

Enhancements: SAP provides a new release of the product twice yearly. The customer does not have to apply it immediately. Release changes and upgrades might be adjusted and aligned with an overall organization level plan for business changes

Validation: Customer is in full control of system and validation

SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Standard process: Modifications to standard processes might not be possible due to limitations forcing the organization to change ways of working

Enhancements: New release of the product mandatory every quarter on a predefined schedule, with two weeks period for regression testing and re-training the users

Validation: SAP is in control of the system, but the customer is responsible for validation

Conclusion

The reality is that SAP’s maintenance support for SAP ECC will expire by 2025. Therefore, it is critical that companies begin to think about their journey ahead and what is the right fit for their company’s size and industry.

SAP S/4HANA

Large or/and complex companies

SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Small-to-medium sized companies

This overview might significantly change once SAP releases the industrial solutions in HANA which are expected sometime in 2021. The validation aspect adds a special challenge for S/4 HANA Cloud in Life Sciences and other regulated industries.

Tenthpin provides a portfolio of services to help clients with their S/4 HANA transformation journey from conception to implementation to value realization. We combine industry and S/4 HANA experience to assist clients in an agile, value-driven and innovative manner. You will find more details here.

Please reach out to our SAP experts to find out more about the benefits of SAP S/4HANA.

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Arpita Singhal

written by

Arpita Singhal

Partner

Marcin Ciesielski

Marcin Ciesielski

Advisor

Marco Estevam

Marco Estevam

Advisor

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