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Author's profile photo Sven Denecken

Extending SAP S/4HANA – why and how? #S4HANA

To simplify your business and make it more Agile, you want to avoid that your core system get´s too complex. Yet there is a need to configure, and often also a need to develop significant specific functionality – especially if you have differentiating business processes to cover. With SAP S/4HANA we developed a strategy for extensibility to level this out.

Extensibility covers a broad spectrum of topics that allows customers and partners to adapt standard business software to their business needs. It ranges from business configuration; layout adaptation of user interface (UI), forms, and reports; custom fields and logic; integration; and custom terminology and translation to customer-specific applications.

You might want to extend the scope with custom specific application logic, integration of other solutions etc. to address key topics like leveraging the Internet of Things, Business networks and the value of analyzing Big Data.

Or you want to extend the reach for more internal and external users, mobility etc., leveraging your mobile strategy connecting all people – learning from and leveraging social collaboration.

In all cases you want to increase your competitive with optimized business processes based on customer specific applications or extensions of your enterprise software.

In a pace layered approach custom extensions should be loosely coupled with core business processes, i.e. they need tight data and process integration, but the software lifecycle of extensions should be de-coupled from stable systems of records.

How do we approach this?

Let us start simple, enabling the business user. For example if you want to change order of columns in a table, hide tabs, change format of dates/numbers hide a few apps on Launchpad – and this changes should not affect other people.

Then a business expert or implementation consultant, you maybe want to add or change business rules or logic, add custom fields, tables, reports, forms or change the layout – and thee changes should affect people in your Line of business or the entire company.

And as developer, you maybe want to add or change complex business logic, while de-coupling software lifecycle of standard and extensions – thee changes should affect people in the company and the eco-system.

For this e focus on to complementing approaches: in-app and side-by-side extensibility.


SAP S/4HANA extensibility: technology overview

In-app extensibility mainly for context aware extensions focusing on tight integration, Starting from custom fields and tables, to change and add business logic (rules, BADIs etc.), analytics extensibility. Especially in On-premise (only): Full access to development tools (ABAP in Eclipse, SAP HANA Native etc.)

Side-by-side extensibility with the SAP HANA Cloud Platform – to learn from the outside and weave external content into your solutions. Like enable a SAP Fiori and Mobile user experience, integrate with other SAP Cloud and 3rd party solutions, leverage HCP application services (Mobile Documents, Output Management etc.) or full fledged development platform to build extension applications.


SAP S/4HANA extensibility: enable pace-layered IT with public API´s

What are we seeing in co-innovation projects?

  • Fulfilling the need for faster cycles of innovations drives cloud-based extensions. HCP is a perfect fit, way beyond the traditional SAP environment.
  • End users, business users and UX designers apply changes without risk and the core is kept stable so it can innovate much easier and more often
  • Growing eco-system of solutions via the PaaS approach, leveraging the technology and infrastructure openness

And what benefit did they strive for? For the end user – a modern user experience with SAP Fiori-like UX and mobile usage of custom specific extensions,  Seamless integration in standard and 3rd party solutions plus easy personalization. For the business user to extend business processes and have faster cycles of innovations business users can easily apply changes without risk (rules etc.)

And for IT?

Combine cloud qualities and high degree of flexibility via fast implementation, with extensions that don’t impact operations. Patches and upgrade in regular cycles to scale by standardization and automation.

we achieve this today with SAP Fiori user experience and tools, flexibility based on managed extensions (e.g., rules) and new architecture. In on-premise: Seamless transition for existing extensions, managed and public cloud: Fast onboarding, short innovation & correction cycles. In-app extensibility (e.g., custom fields and tables), side-by-side with the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (e.g., extended reach for external users).

And planned innovation around rich in-app extensibility for all deployment models (e.g., breakouts with restricted ABAP, forms), Side-by-side development with HANA Cloud Platform for mixed deployment models (e.g., cloud based development of SAP Fiori apps, which will also run on-premise), integration of development tools (e.g., adding custom fields in Web IDE) a ell a enhanced Lifecycle Management for mixed scenarios (in-app and side-by-side)

More details on our extensibility concept you find in this whitepaper here–extensibility-for-customers-and-partners-pdf.bypassReg.html, also check out the blog from my colleague here SAP S/4HANA + HCP = Business Platform of Innovations and Choices.

Looking forward to your feedback and keep following me via @SDenecken.

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      Author's profile photo Jeffrey D'Silva
      Jeffrey D'Silva

      Hi Sven,

      Great post and great whitepaper! It really explains the extensibility options available for S/4HANA!

      Question for you - Does S/4 HANA use the same RFC calls as ECC 6.0? If we had an R/3 integration leveraging RFC calls (and very little ABAP code), and wanted to provide a similar integration for S/4HANA, are the same function modules/interfaces available?