UNDERSTANDING SAP S/4 HANA AND S/4 HANA CLOUD
S/4 HANA 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/4 HANA 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/4 HANA 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/4 HANA 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/4 HANA is available in 2 deployment options:
- 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)
- 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
IS YOUR COMPANY READY FOR S/4 HANA?
The key question is – Is your company ready to start the journey towards S/4 HANA Solution?
The following illustrates a summary of the implementation options:
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
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