In this article we will answer the top 10 questions regarding SAP S/4HANA.
SAP S/4HANA: Here is an overview
In this article, we have summarised the most important information and the most relevant questions about SAP S/4HANA.
1. What does the term SAP S/4HANA mean?
SAP S/4HANA is an abbreviation and is made up of various parts. "HANA" stands for the SAP HANA database on which S/4HANA is based.
SAP HANA is the name of the database on which SAP S/4HANA runs.
The HANA database is based on in-memory technology. This technology utilises the main memory as data storage at the same time. This increases the speed of data access and data processing.
But HANA is more than just a database - in recent years, SAP has developed SAP HANA into a platform that can be used to integrate and develop applications. One advantage over other databases is that SAP HANA is already optimised for business applications.
The in-memory technology makes it possible to carry out transactional (OLTP) and analytical operations (OLAP) in the same system at the same time.
In contrast to other databases, the data is available in both a row-orientated and a column-orientated format - and not exclusively in a row-orientated format, as in many other databases. Column-orientated databases prove to be more efficient, especially for analysis-oriented applications.
2. What can SAP S 4HANA do?
Thanks to automation, SAP S/4HANA ensures greater efficiency and creates more freedom for employees' core tasks, for example through situation handling or workflows. A simplified data model and the SAP HANA in-memory database are the basis for unimagined speeds and real-time work.
3. Why SAP S/4HANA?
All SAP ECC systems must switch to SAP S/4HANA by 2027.
One of the reasons for the switch to SAP S/4HANA is the expiring maintenance for SAP ECC. Previously, maintenance was only guaranteed until the end of 2025; SAP recently extended it until the end of 2027.
More important than the end of maintenance, however, is the alignment of SAP S/4HANA with the requirements of digitalisation - digital business processes, trends such as digital platforms, the user experience and new technologies such as cloud computing and machine learning.
In this sense, SAP S/4HANA is far more than just an upgrade from one product generation to the next - rather, the change is an opportunity for a fundamental, strategic reorientation of companies.
SAP S/4HANA creates the opportunity to transform the benefits of digitalisation into measurable results. Companies can also reduce the complexity of IT landscapes and handle increasing volumes of data more efficiently than in the past.
The basis for all of this is the in-memory technology of the SAP HANA database, which represents a technological breakthrough in the ERP segment and for SAP.
4. What needs to be considered before implementing SAP S/4HANA?
Don't underestimate the effort involved in migrating to S/4HANA. The migration of your SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA must be completed by 2027. It is not only essential to make the right decision regarding the transformation model - greenfield methodology - SAP system is newly implemented or brownfield methodology - SAP system is converted. It is also important where SAP S/4HANA is to be operated afterwards - on-premises, hosted or in the public cloud.
Take advantage of the unique opportunity to migrate to a lean, harmonised S/4 system, eliminate weak points in the current systems and leave the burdens of a historically grown and heterogeneous IT landscape behind you.
We refer you to our webinar "Road to SAP S/4HANA: Technical aspects - What to consider before implementation", where you can find out from our Cloud Competence Centre expert Stefan Dunsch what you need to pay attention to when making the switch.
5. When should you initiate the migration to SAP S/4HANA?
The switch to SAP S/4HANA should not be put off for too long. Companies with several companies and distributed SAP systems in particular should take care of the migration soon. This is because the path to SAP S/4HANA is more complex here and should therefore be planned and implemented in good time so that the goal is achieved by 2025. For smaller companies and those with ERP single-system landscapes, there are also numerous drivers for the switch: in addition to the general digitalisation strategy, the replacement of legacy systems, the development of a central ERP system or old release statuses can also be reasons for a timely migration. This is because the changeover offers the opportunity to scrutinise your own system landscapes, streamline them and make them fit for the future. It is also important not to lose touch. After all, if your partner or service provider speaks a new "language" with SAP S/4HANA that you have not yet familiarised yourself with, you will only understand "station" instead of "future".
6. What is the difference between the greenfield and brownfield approach?
We explain more about the greenfield and brownfield approaches in this article.
7. What are the advantages of SAP S/4HANA?
SAP S/4HANA is the next generation ERP system. In many respects, the system ensures faster and more efficient processes, analyses in real time and thus creates company-wide added value.
SAP S/4HANA also enables the development of digital business models and the use of new technologies such as AI and machine learning.
With SAP Fiori, SAP S/4HANA also offers a user-friendly, intuitive and modern interface. Fiori is role-based and can be used on various devices - whether on a laptop in the office or on tablets or smartphones.
One of the advantages of SAP S/4HANA is that the system - based on the SAP HANA database - has a much simpler structure than SAP ERP. This applies to both the system architecture and the data model.
Among other things, the simplified functionality results in lower IT and maintenance costs and a faster response time. The simplification of the data structure increases the performance of the entire system.
8. What is the difference between SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA?
SAP S/4HANA is a comprehensive software solution from SAP - an application that can be used to control, monitor and analyse all of a company's business processes.
As the processes can be processed and analysed in real time, SAP S/4HANA is also referred to as a real-time ERP suite.
SAP HANA is the platform (and database) on which SAP S/4HANA runs. SAP HANA is an in-memory platform. This means that the data is not stored on the hard drive, but permanently in the main memory.
The use of this database technology means that the speed of data processing is significantly higher than with conventional databases.
9. What does the future of SAP S/4HANA look like?
We may not have a crystal ball, but we asked our expert Stefan Dunsch how he sees the development of SAP S/4HANA in the future!
It's official: S/4HANA has been scheduled by SAP to run until at least 2040. New functionality is also being added at a rapid pace. In line with the idea of the "digital core", the future will also focus heavily on new cloud services and their integration, which will complement the S/4HANA system without affecting maintenance activities or being tied to specific software versions.
A well-filled roadmap in all areas of the ERP system ensures that augurs continue to predict a strong position for SAP.
10. How can itesys support me with S/4HANA?
S/4HANA workshop: We clarify the framework together in a check-up workshop to understand the system architecture, processes and S/4HANA readiness.
You will receive a migration recommendation to utilise potential and a customised roadmap for the structured transformation to SAP S/4HANA.
itesys can offer the technical part, divided into sandbox setup, SAP HANA migration and conversion.
If you have any questions, please contact us.