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A Quick Introduction to S/4HANA Cloud Edition

SAP S/4HANA, our next-generation business suite, delivers massive simplifications and lots of interesting and useful innovation. As the name states, though, it is designed for and requires HANA, which brings a new level of commitment and investment for many of our customers.

There are many things we can do to make this easier, though. One of the options now for getting to S/4HANA is the cloud edition. You already know why many organizations are interested in cloud delivery: the vendor takes on everything needed to run and maintain the solution, while you focus on the important task of ensuring adoption among your users. While there may be some cost savings with cloud, the real benefit comes in IT flexibility and accelerated adoption. Now with S/4HANA, you have the same benefits. As of this writing, cloud edition is available in three offerings:

  • S/4HANA Cloud Marketing Edition: helps your marketing department capture and analyze customer interactions from different channels
  • S/4HANA Cloud Project Services Edition: designed for the Professional Services industry, it controls all phases of project management, including billing, payment, and analysis
  • S/4HANA Cloud Enterprise Edition: the full ERP scope of S/4HANA

Right away you’ll notice that the first two offerings are specific to a line-of-business (LOB) and the third offering is generic. Let’s discuss the LOB offerings first.

We will continue to offer more LOB scenarios in cloud edition alongside marketing and professional services, prioritizing them based on customer demand. The goal is to eventually cover the same industry scope that we have traditionally served on premise. This doesn’t replace our LOB solutions that we have today with SuccessFactors, Ariba, Concur, Hybris, and Fieldglass. Instead, we expand our cloud portfolio with essential scenarios based on core ERP. Doing this, you can now adopt S/4HANA in areas where it makes sense for your organization, while preserving integration to both cloud and on-premise.

The Cloud Enterprise Edition has broad industry coverage and enterprise-wide scope. It is not a specific LOB solution. In other words, we don’t know exactly what you will do with it—accounting, sales and distribution, logistics—the scope is broad. But we do know that we will provide everything you need to run it, and we’ll take care of the maintenance and quarterly updates.

Cloud Enterprise Edition is ideal for organizations that want to go to S/4HANA but also move to the cloud at the same time. I can also imagine it being used for a central finance scenario where an organization with lots of disparate ERP systems want to consolidate at one level for the entire company.

Regardless of which edition you use, all S/4HANA cloud edition offerings will follow the same principles:

  • Flexible deployment: everything in the cloud, or a hybrid scenario
  • Fast innovation: quarterly update cycle
  • Dynamic extensibility: extensions through the HANA Cloud Platform
  • Native integration: easy connection to our existing cloud portfolio (SuccessFactors, Ariba, etc)
  • Effective governance: fully managed by SAP
  • Guided configuration: ready-to-run quickly with our configuration utility build on best practices

What questions do you have about S/4HANA cloud edition? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be writing more about this new solution in the weeks ahead.

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  • Thanks Carl,

    WRT the quarterly update cycle, will the new functionality/maintenance update be communicated to the customer prior to release? I’m envisaging a update release potentially halting or interfering with a business critical process. Whereas with EHP or SPS implementation, the customer would complete some formal testing to mitigate against business processes being affected by a change prior to updating the productive environment.

  • Thanks, for writing a nice article. SAP also have SAP Business ByDesign (cloud based ERP business suite), on which parameters we can differentiate S4 HANA Cloud edition with SAP Business ByDesign (like Functionality offering, scalability, pricing, etc)?
    I believe, SAP has to provide the guidance document to choose correct cloud product based on some relevant factors. Kindly let me know your thought here.

  • It seems that SAP is confused with its own product portfolio. You have correctly mentioned that there is the By-Design product portfolio available on Cloud on HANA platform itself, this seems to be a clash with all other solutions other than the S/4 HANA Cloud Enterprise Edition.

    Wondering what SAPs strategy and roadmap is in this case as it does get confusing for partners which way to go and what to pitch.