Since the announcement of S/4HANA there have been discussions, whether it was just old wine in new bottles. If we were talking S/4HANA on premise in my opinion, it is in fact good old wine in a fantastic new bottle, which therefore, if you asked me, only has advantages because:
- At its core is the proven ERP Central Component 6.0.
- Therefore the migration to S/4HANA really is a heterogeneous system copy, potentially combined with an upgrade, rather than a data migration.
- Therefore all your investments in adapting the system as well as training and the experience of your users are protected.
However it really is the new bottle, i.e. the HANA platform, which matters and makes all the difference:
- Predicts when you need to drink with Predictive Analytics.
- Has infinite capacity / refills itself with iQ Near-Line Storage.
- Makes the wine taste better with a lot of new functionality only available in S/4HANA.
- Looks like a piece of art with more and more Fiori user interfaces.
- Has an easy to open cap with the Fiori Launchpad becoming the new portal.
- Means you can drink in seconds due to highly compressed column storage and more and more pre-aggregated tables being replaced by calculation views.
- Helps drinking responsibly with KPI modeling and monitoring.
- Drinks for you with Operational Process Intelligence and partially automated exception resolution.
- Makes the wine cheaper by reducing complexity.
Therefore, to me, it seems that S/4HANA on premise maintains a reasonable balance between backwards compatibility and forwards innovation. S/4HANA in the cloud might be a different story though, and we will still have to see how these incarnation of S/4HANA will concretely materialize.
Also a heterogeneous system copy or upgrade is always also a compelling event to clean-up your system concerning:
- Data cleansing and archiving.
- Modification clearing.
- Integration consolidation.
In this respect, one might end-up with quite a newer vintage of their wine once filled it into the new bottle.