S/4 Hana – My Understanding
S/4HANA is a solution from SAP which is a combination of multiple stacks of different technologies from SAP. They are primarily consisting of 4 stacks:
- Simplified SAP Business Suite.
- Hana Database
- Cloud Platform
Now as we know SAP is going through the transitional phase, where SAP is gradually migrating from traditional SAP ERP to S/4Hana and it will take time for this transition.
How SAP is moving toward S/4Hana.
Hana as Database – It is going to be THE database of future in the business world. And as days are passing it is getting more mature day by day. Be it the data replication algorithm or the data ageing algorithm or in the performance improvement of SAP reports. It is getting more secure more reliable.
SAP Business Suite: Last year almost all the old codes of SAP ERP were migrated to SAP Hana without changing any logic for consuming the Hana’s in-memory database benefit. So now customers are getting data in quick response using the in-memory database capability of Hana and no replication of data from OLTP & OLAP. SAP called this as SAP ERP Business Suite migration from traditional DB to Hana DB, like HCM on Hana, SRM on Hana or CRM on Hana. Now we see all the ERP component runs on Hana DB.
But these are still not taking the full leverage of Hana, as all the old code are written keeping Oracle or other database in mind which are row-based DB and not even in-memory. So to take the full advantage Hana(which is a column Database and in-memory ), they have to re-write all the ERP code again keeping in mind Hana as Database. They are working on it and in near future we will see all simplified component of SAP ERP module. SAP is calling this as Simplified Business Suite on Hana.
Now Cloud is future and SAP need to sell the cloud platform. So whatever code they are re-writing in SAP for simplifying the Business Suite, they are also writing those codes keeping cloud in mind. So we see that they are rewriting the code keeping Hana as Database and Cloud as Platform. That is the reason of naming Hana Business Suite on Cloud. Presently they have only launched sFin which is rewritten version of SAP Finance. sFin is Simplified Finance on Cloud running on Hana DB. Now we know they cannot re-write the whole codes of Finance in one go. So few component of Finance are available on sFin and few are not, so presently sFin comes with hybrid structure(Cloud & On-Premise) and by the end of the year they are coming up with simplified Logistic.
Fiori(Best UX Till Date)-Now coming to UX, to bring uniform user interface among all the modules of SAP ERP, Fiori is the chosen architecture which is built on SAPUI5 programming language. Now Fiori is an architecture which can run in mobile, tablet and desktop and technically speaking it is not different for present SAP ERP on-premise (so called traditional ERP) and the next generation ERP i.e., S4Hana, because it runs on client browser and consume data from any database as REST service in Odata format. So it doesn’t matter which database it is running from like Oracle, Hana or any other DB.
But SAP has 400+ app on Hana out 500+ standard apps: then why is the dependency on Hana. It is so because almost all analytical app require huge amount of data in quick response time, which cannot be provided from traditional database like Oracle, but Hana can provide. So there are almost 400+ Hana based Fiori App are available and these app can also be reused in future generation ERP i.e., S4Hana.
Now SAP UX is moving from GUI/ Web dynpro to Fiori and it is also time consuming because it requires lot of development or coding on SAPUI5. So SAP has come up of Persona which is intermediate between GUI and Fiori, till the time S/4Hana is gets mature enough and Fiori can replaces the whole User Interface of SAP, customer can implement persona which is an improved version of SAP GUI.
All of these come on SAP Cloud Platform, where Hana, Simplified Business Suite and Fiori are available or will be available, which will be subscription based service available to client. Now client can get the benefits of SAP with low cost of IT investment.
I personally see a great future of S/4Hana, which has new SAP with rich user interface, high performing database and best functional knowledge in it Simplified Business Suite, with low cost of implementation and maintenance by SAP Cloud.
** This is totally my understanding on S/4Hana. Please correct me if I am wrong in my understanding.