NOTE : Since writing this blog, SAP announced that s-innovations would be call S/4 HANA (so I got close with my R/4 predication 😆 ), the options are still valid and I discuss the various cloud options in this blog.
At TechEd last week (Nov 2014), Bernd Leukert announced that SAP was launching a new solution called s-innovations, this came on the back of Simple Finance that was launch in early 2014 and showcased at SAPPHIRE in May (I called in R/4 in this blog)
From what I could glean from the various press conferences and talking to others like Dick Hirsch, it seems that s-innovations is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that shares the same semantic data model as SAP Business Suite (the data model that has grown over 40 years and supports 25+ industries). For those that prefer a managed / private cloud (key in some industries), s-innovations will also be available on the SAP managed cloud (HEC). s-innovations will also blend in the best of the cloud only solutions purchased by SAP (e.g SuccessFactors, Ariba, Concur, FieldGlass, Hybris).
This means that from my point of view, SAP Business Suite customers now have 4 different ways to consume SAP Business Suite like features in the future :-
- SAP Business Suite on AnyDB (on-Premise or hosted by someone other than SAP) – fewer new features as many new features from SAP will require SAP HANA to drive next generation features like predictive, social and geo spatial data. Features will be delivered via Enhancement Packages every 9-12 months.
- SAP Business Suite on HANA (either on-Premise or in the HANA Enterprise Cloud) – Many new features, delivered via Enhancement Packages every 9-12 months. Note : As half way house to it is possible to use HANA in “sidecar mode” with writes/update to AnyDB and Reads from HANA.
- s-innovations on managed cloud – All the features from s-innovations delivered in a SAP managed cloud for customers that do not want a SaaS solution. Many new features / innovation with lower TCO.
- s-innovations SaaS (only on HANA Cloud Platform) – Maximum level of features / innovation with lowest TCO.
SAP are still pushing the message of “innovation without disruption” which most customers know means “Innovation without as much disruption as implementing something else”.
I personally think this is true and think SAP should be congratulated for focusing on helping customers maximise the investment they have made in their on-premise landscape. SAP have backed this with the extension of mainstream maintenance for Business Suite 7 to 2025.
Path ways to Innovation
From AnyDB to Business Suite on HANA : The upgrade path from AnyDB to Business Suite on HANA is pretty clear. It is technically a database switch and provides access to HANA only (e.g Many Fiori Apps) and HANA accelerated features (e.g MRP. COPA etc). All custom extensions would need to be tested and adjusted as required. You also need to move to EhP7 for ERP and EhP3 for other Business Suite components.
From Business Suite on HANA to s-innovations : The path to s-innovations is less clear at this point, but the shared semantic model will be key to this move, as I would expect data and configuration to be migrated from Business Suite to s-innovations. I think SAP will provide rich tooling to support this migration (as they have for the move from SAP Process Integration to SAP Process Orchestration). I would expect modifications would need to be re-implemented as extensions using the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) or SAP Process Orchestration (for on-premise).
So the advice I would give to an existing SAP customer would be as follows :-
- Upgrade to the latest EhP’s and try to remove as much custom code as possible. Re-build modifications as Extensions using HCP or SAP Process Orchestration (for on-premise).
- If you want to get the most for your maintenance fees, upgrade to Business Suite on HANA, again looking to remove custom code (e.g which reports that can now be done using HANA Live etc)
- Migrate to s-innovations over time either function by function (e.g finance, logistics etc) or geography by geography (as s-innovations supports all the lines of business supported by Business Suite)
Why upgrade ? Because if you don’t you are paying maintenance for very little more than support. You will need to change to deal with the opportunities / threats that the Internet of Things / Networked Economy / Omni-channel and your competitors bring.
Enjoy your planning and executing your journey to whichever district is right for you.