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Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford

S/4 HANA is the next version of Business Suite (R/3) – What to do now

Today SAP announced SAP S/4 HANA – you can read the press release here. This is a topic I have discussed since Simple Finance was launch at SAPPHIRE in May 2014. See my previous blogs here – for R/4 and here – for impact of s-innovations.

As a man who has never been known for understatement, Bill McDermott described it as “The most important SAP product launch for 23 years” – and I think I agree with him.

That launch was SAP R/3 which still sits at the heart of what is now called SAP Business Suite (often referred to as SAP ERP).


Why should you be interested in S/4HANA ?

Existing Customers

As an existing SAP Business Suite customer, you should be interested, as SAP want you to be moving to S/4 (and that is where a significant amount of your maintenance fees will be going)

These are the reasons why you need S/4 :-

  • You will be able to take much of your investment from R/3 (Business Suite) to S/4, especially that expensive configuration.
  • S/4 will have Fiori user interface built in to the new Simple Modules
  • S/4 Simple Modules will have features that Business Suite never had e.g Predictive Actions
  • S/4 will (only) run on SAP HANA and this means you get real time data for transactions AND reporting plus a platform that is ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) and Digital Transformation (DT)
  • S/4 will deliver cloud qualities in terms of management and cost of ownership, offered at the pace that makes sense, from On Premise to Public Cloud

New Customers

For new customers looking for an Enterprise grade solution, you can now get the know-how from 40 years of running business processes, with cloud simplicity, information at the speed of thought, a responsive User Experience and a platform ready for IoT / DT.

What should you do next ?

What you do next will depend upon your views on how much your business model will be disrupted by Digital Transformation and the Internet of Things – most people seem to think the answer is “quite a lot” (note the English understatement 😆 ). For those who want to learn more sign up for this OpenSAP course – Digital Transformation and Its Impact which starts on the 24th Feb.

For new customers visit the S/4 HANA sales site and sign up for a free trial (coming soon).

For existing customers visit the same site to understand S/4 and then start preparing your Business Suite for the migration.

Business Suite To do List for 2015

With the above achieved you will be perfectly placed to migrate to S/4. Which tasks are right for you will depend upon where you / your organisation sits on the adoption cycle – Keep ahead of the Pack, At the front of the Pack, In the Pack or At the back of the Pack.

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Transformation is happening quickly! Still many changes yet to come! Stored procedures gonna replace ABAP objects!!!


      Kiran Nimmagadda

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Don' t you think that this is a very daring statement: "Stored procedures gonna replace ABAP objects"?



      Author's profile photo Gerard Clarence Christopher Aloysius
      Gerard Clarence Christopher Aloysius

      Nice Blog Owen! . Interesting point is HANA is going to be the only Database that S4 is going on run on . This is probably a clear signal for customers to move their Transactions DB to HANA isnt it? Or is there any plan for SAP to support S4 for other databases ?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Wow. it is impressive product. For last 10 years I have been waiting to see the product like this from SAP. Finally SAP is delivered Simple Product with Simple User Interface.

      Big challenge to SAP is to build developer community to assist customers for smooth migration and implementation as every tool and technology is new (at least for SAP developers). I think we need fresh brains to take this challenge instead of using old brains(do the same thing over and over again to make big mess at customer site).

      - Can functional consultant and business user sit together to configure the system on fly and see the how the end product looks like? other words, can business user see what he wants during requirement phase it self(at least 80% of the product) rather than having big surprise at UAT? is this possible with S/4?

      Author's profile photo Sven Ringling
      Sven Ringling

      HI Ramana,

      just on that one point:

      that big surprise at UAT was never necessary. It was the way of Big consultancies to rip-off customers by achieving a huge number of Change Requests to blow the budget. So, they interpreted the blueprint phase of asap as a way to make customers sign things they couldn't possibly understand - with some gentle nudging to make them believe (hope) the outcome will look like the picture in their minds.

      Responsible consultants have already used some element of rapid prototyping or even agile methods to avoid this and allow customers to make a well informed choice.

      the reason, I'm bringing this up here:

      no technical change alone can protect customers from that kind of rip-off. You can already see the big players abusing the cloud deployment methods to blow budgets out of oroportion, so they can charge a similar number of days as they did for on-prem.

      If customers are nit vigilant, the huge surprise at UAT will not go away. It may just come by a different name.

      best wishes and happy innovating!


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Well said. I also dislike the RIP-offs. I know BW/BI only since I am not a business consultant. The corruption in the ECO system is a problem still. Partially driven by customers on one hand but a lot more by consultancies on the other. Send young people to sites well dressed in nice suits and the programmers in background somewhere in the world do the coding ... Then you get the change requests. Pretty similar. Corruption is very dependent on the delivery model. I have seen consultants that implemented within 3 days what a team of 8 people failed to implement within 6 weeks simply because the consultant did know logistics and was a perfect ABAP developer. Those people are rare and teams cannot even come close. We started Agile on BW/BI in 2003.

      I learned about UAT at a different site. Tragedies happened caused by insanity on both sides.

      On the BW/BI a correct data load is the UAT 🙂 and anything else is simply not correct. Wrong data presented on reports is simply not helpful. Budgeting does not work. It will take a while until this message will spread over the world. You can just move straight towards the goal and that's all.

      Author's profile photo Peter Inotai
      Peter Inotai

      Hi Owen,

      Do you have some info about the architecture of S/4 HANA?

      Is it ABAP based or HANA XS based?

      If it's ABAP based, what is the ABAP release?



      Author's profile photo Peter Inotai
      Peter Inotai

      Meanwhile it was clarified here:

      ABAP News for Release 7.40 - What is ABAP 7.40?


      Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford
      Owen Pettiford
      Blog Post Author

      The solution is ABAP based but built to natively use HANA capabilities and using a next generation of ABAP solution

      Author's profile photo Peter Inotai
      Peter Inotai

      Hi OWen,

      Thanks for the info.



      Author's profile photo Shabarish Nair
      Shabarish Nair


      What does this mean? Can you elaborate?

      My understanding is IBO is a solution than a technology component.

      Do you mean move from PI to SAP Process Orchestration?

      Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford
      Owen Pettiford
      Blog Post Author

      Process Orchestration (PO) is part of IBO.

      I am suggesting that considering all that IBO has in it would provide a step change in integration capabilities and is 100% aligned to the SAP HANA and IoT messages

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member


      Though the product seems very impressive, wouldn't it be a while till we get a product with all the modules? Having just simple finance would not be equivalent of a complete ERP suite.