Over the last couple of years SAP has continued to innovate on the SAP HANA Platform. From the first step in the early days as an in-memory platform it began to power the SAP Business Warehouse as the first suite application. The move from conventional database to SAP HANA for BW allowed for significant reduction in size of the necessary storage and highly improved user experience and system performance. It is not uncommon to need only 1/20th of the storage size when moving to SAP BW powered by HANA. The next step was to enable the rest of the suite applications like CRM, ERP, etc. to run on HANA. The SAP Business Suite on HANA provided as well for 4-6 times reduction in database size and accelerated many transactions.
In 2013 together with the suite applications also the Utilities Industry solutions (Customer Service and Sales Management and Demand Side Management on SAP CRM and Meter to Cash on SAP ERP) became available on SAP HANA. With that it was possible to run all major SAP solutions relevant for a utility on the SAP HANA platform, reduce complexity and size, and improve response times for many scenarios, and of course provide new possibilities like error tolerant type-ahead search which took advantage of the significant faster response time.
So far already a very good story with a number of utilities and hundreds of other SAP customers in implementation or live.
But SAP did not stop there, actually, this was only the prelude.
SAP provided in 2014 the first major application specifically designed with SAP HANA in mind, SAP Simple Finance powered by SAP HANA. That solution showed that it was indeed possible to not only accelerate some transactions and use cases but rather simplify the complete business application and still provide the necessary functionality. Good enough for SAP itself to run their own corporate finance on the brand new solution achieving significant business improvements like 10 times faster automated revenue accruals, real time access to new business scenarios based on real sales data instead of waiting 2h, 3.5 x faster balance sheet and P&L and more.
But not only the architecture was new, also the user interface was renewed using modern UI5 technology to support the various different user roles.
With this first, new application and the over the years improved SAP HANA platform, SAP launched in February of 2015 the next generation of business suites, SAP S/4HANA. The SAP S/4HANA on-premise edition supports not only the new Simple Finance solution but also the rest of the business scenarios supported by the well-known SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA. This edition supports as well the existing industry specific functions for utilities with only very few exceptions. Therefore it is already today possible for most utilities to utilize S/4HANA and enjoy the above mentioned benefits!
While Simple Finance was the first new application, others will follow. Currently SAP is working hard to provide the next major application, Simple Logistics, on this platform by the end of this year. At that time also the utilities specific components are to be released on that new platform allowing customers who use the industry functions to continue to use those while benefiting from Simple Logistics.
This first step to run the meter-to-cash scenarios on the new S/4HANA platform is focused on enabling the existing industry functions in the new suite. The plan is continue to innovate on this exciting platform to provide improved and new business processes, next generation user experiences for the different user roles as well as integrating more partner solutions.
That means SAP already provides a stable platform for utilities who look for ERP and other business suite applications including the industry specific functions. And new innovations are already in the works and others planned to further increase the value.
Get more information here.