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S4 HANA-The future is here!

The future of SAP is here!

Most of us have heard about HANA at some point in time and here’s an attempt to make some sense out of it and what it means for Consultants, Project Managers, Decision Makers & Clients.

In this age of digitization, it was a necessary step to bring the next generation business suite of ERP and SAP has an answer for that: SAP S4 HANA as a successor of ECC.

S4H Network Architecture.png


  • HANA (High performance ANalytics Appliance) was introduced as in-memory computing database in 2011.
  • SAP BW was powered on HANA Database making analytical reporting real-time and no need for running the extractors overnight, no more latency in 2012
  • SAP Business suite powered by SAP HANA and cloud services introduced in 2013
  • Simple Finance as a frontrunner was released with simplified database structures, much faster reporting, single source of truth & no aggregates in 2014
  • In late 2015, S4 HANA 1511 was released with simplified data models across the landscape, extremely friendly Ux, advanced processing and choice of deployment: Public Cloud, On-Premise or Hybrid Cloud

S4 HANA History.png

What has changed:

Database tables:

  • Most of the relational databases are re-defined and re-structured.
  • Most database tables are columnar store, very few remain row-store.
  • Most of the tables that contained indices, statuses, totals etc have been removed and duplication has been removed.

What this essentially means is SAP has “simplified” their data structures and re-written most of the standard SAP programs.

In the demo sessions I have seen: Thanks for the new database innovation in HANA, I can visibly see a faster performance, much faster results from running a report.

Simplified Data Structures.png

Simpler Landscape/Architecture:

SAP has aggressively invested and acquired few organizations who were leaders in their respective fields.

Most of the functionalities offered by different landscapes: BI, CRM, SCM, SRM, etc.. are clubbed in one server* making it much easier, faster to interact and provides seamless integration.

Enterprise Management:


Ux( User Experience):

  • SAP Fiori UX is the new face of SAP to business users for ALL lines of business across devices and deployment options
  • Provides only the relevant tasks and activities for an end user though the SAP Fiori launchpad
  • SAP Fiori’s design is based on 5 Principles: Role-Based, Responsive, Simple, Coherent, Delightful

SAP Fiori.png

I’ve personally installed Fiori Client App on my phone( the demo version) and used it and I must admit that’s definitely much simpler, smarter, faster & interactive.

IoT, real-time collaboration:

  • SAP claims that it’s solution for the Internet of Things(IoT) provide all the data-driven intelligence business would need by connection to devices/ machines/ assets/ vehicles by sensors
  • Imagine being able to track your assets all along it’s way till it reaches an end destination or being able to track, trace, communicate,  plan or re-plan routes based on the traffic situation and optimizing the route or meeting a promised delivery timeline to a customer

An example below of how data from IoT could be put to use.


Choice of deployment:

For the uninitiated:

  • On-premise is the same situation as it was before the the SaaS/PaaS/IaaS world i.e. the platform/software is run on the premises managed by the business themselves.
  • Cloud is deploying the software on a server provided by Vendor and the upgrades, maintenance managed by the Vendor who provides the services
  • Hybrid, as the name suggests is a hybrid of the above options: for ex. A company may choose to have their Human Resources functionality, T&E on the cloud the rest on-premise

SAP offers all 3 deployment options depending on their current/initial state:

Deployment Options.jpg

Easy Adoption :

SAP claims that the new HANA is quiet easy to adopt with quicker implementation cycles and there are the following paths that they see:

  1. 1) Existing client on SAP ECC or further: Adopt  a system “Conversion” methodology
  2. 2) Existing client on version 47 or below: SAP recommends a new implementation
  3. 3) For Existing clients with different installations or multi landscape, SLT- System Landscape Transformation

I’m not going into the details in this blog, however, the summary is SAP claims the adoption journey is easier without switching your lights “off”.

So what’s the use to a Business:

Business Value:

Some examples of value to the Businesses:

  • Financial soft close ( simulation) on the fly, reduced FTE for reconciliation and reporting
  • Planning and predictive finance: allows companies to predict inbound and outbound cash flows and risk management
  • S&OP will enable sales and marketing department to collaborate with operations and finance in order to evaluate the impact of their strategies and make accurate predictions
  • With Live MRP, planners are able to plan to the lot size of 1 making it very customizable resulting in higher customer satisfaction and retention
  • Real-time & advanced ATP, interactive back order processing

S4 HANA Value play.jpg

Customer feedback:

Retail Business Case.jpg


  • With the agility, simplicity S4H offers Users & businesses can re-imagine, re-engineer their business processes
  • Role-based screens rather than having to go all the screens relevant or irrelevant
  • Can focus on strategic tasks than admin tasks
  • Faster reports, analytics will help users in decision making process

IT Value:

  • Reduced TCO in terms of data footprint, maintenance, number of servers


Let’s take a look at some facts and figures:

S4 HANA Facts figures.jpg

Finally, the points here are by no means an exhaustive list, but just an illustration of how the new technology can be put to use.

In my next blogs, I’ll delve deeper into each LoBs: Sales, Invetory etc. and other areas as I explore and learn.

Happy learning!


The points here are based on my knowledge gained from various Open SAP courses and SAP might change direction/strategy as they deem necessary.

Your feedback is much appreciated.

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      Author's profile photo CHENGALARAYULU DAMALACHERUVU

      Really good information to start and compare..

      Author's profile photo Vishal Bora
      Vishal Bora

      Good write up Raghu

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Ragu - this covers a lot of points in a single place so well done.

      On the implementations methods - the new install from my experience is more popular to customers when they are looking at business transformation, require a clean landscape (remove old code and data no longer required) as well as having functionality no longer supported in S/4HANA that was once in SAP ECC.

      Conversions align more closely to minor functional changes with simple conversions with new functionality landing after the move to S/4HANA. It is also worth considering the downtime to work out the best approach.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Agree with you Mark.

      I guess the decision has to be taken on a case to case basis. For example, if I look at SD: ATP is moved to GATP, Rebates is moved to Vistex, Ouput mgt changes to BRFplus, credit mgt moved to FSCM etc.. so if I've all these implemented and if in my prepare phase I've to re-do all these I'd rather go for a new install approach. So every case has to be carefully looked at and the appropriate method chosen.

      Author's profile photo Monika Patel
      Monika Patel

      can you confirm / provide more details on : Rebates is moved to Vistex,

      As per S/4HANA Simplification listing - Rebates processing is thru Settlement Management. 

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Monika, sorry for the delay. Initially, there was a note about moving to Vistex. But I stand corrected-- it's through Settlement Management.

      Author's profile photo Joachim Rees
      Joachim Rees

      Very nice, excelent overview!

      Thanks for putting all that information together!

      I really like the picture of the Fiori UX, can you give me a hinte where I can find the whole presentation?



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Joachim,

      Thanks for your feedback-much appreciated.

      The Fiori one is from the open course: Implementation of SAP S/4HANA week 2 unit 4.

      Not all of the above info is in one place, I've done the following open courses:

      • SAP S/4 HANA in a nutshell 
      • SAP S/4 HANA Deep Dive 
      • SAP S/4 HANA Use Cases 
      • Implementation of SAP S/4 HANA- On going
      • Digital Transformation Across the Extended Supply Chain- On Going



      Author's profile photo Sanil Bhandari
      Sanil Bhandari

      Hi Raghu

      This is a good articulation for some one looking to start understanding a potential S/4 HANA journey.

      In some of the installation proposals and customers that I had a chance to talk to also have

      a. HANA as a sidecar approach

      b. SAP and Non SAP Systems

      I think you can also include the latest developments on the Central Finance scenario, especially on the new developments around AR Orchestration, centralized Credit Management etc, MDG functionality which is available around central finance, which might be something, which many customers will be interested in rather than a full blown approach to S/4 HANA.


      Sanil Bhandari

      Author's profile photo Mrinal Kanti Roy
      Mrinal Kanti Roy

      Hi Sunil,

      Very fair point on Central finance .. There are discussion with certain customer to go for less distruptive central finance as a first approach. Can you please inform more details on MDG , Credit mgmt features of central finance or relevant links for it.

      Thanks in advance.

      With regards,


      Author's profile photo Sanil Bhandari
      Sanil Bhandari


      The below blog will be useful for MDG usage in Central finance…

      The FSCM Credit Management is now mandatory in S/4 HANA Finance 1511 edition. The key functionality remains same. However, the usage of the same in Distributed system like Central Finance, AR processing is still some of the pilot releases available from SAP. You will have to contact your SAP Account manager for the same.


      Sanil Bhandari

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      thanks for your feedback & can't agree more on the sidecar approach Sanil.

      Yes, that's a "safe" way to migrate without much disruption.

      Yes, FSCM-CM is mandatory and the SD-CM will no longer be available similar to SD-ATP being replaced by GATP or advanced ATP in EM 1511.

      on the point b though-SAP+ non-SAP landscape I think the SLT is the deployment method.

      Anyway, I plan to write a separate blog on methodologies/ routes and SAP Activate.



      Author's profile photo Sanil Bhandari
      Sanil Bhandari

      Thanks a lot Raghu. I was looking for some knowledge on how customers who are already on Side car should approach S/4 HANA Finance and that would really help since lot of customers have taken sidecard before even migrating to Suite on HANA. There are complexity involved in terms of Hardware, functionalities, interfaces etc.

      On the point b, SLT is the preferred note for Central Finance as a deployment option, but the key challenge is lack of clarity on how licensing will work out and if SLT will support non SAP country specific local systems. When I say local systems, they go beyond traditional ERP environment like Oracle EBS or MS Dynamics and how mapping using MDG will work in such a case. SLT probably may not answer all kind of mapping scenarios, where the non SAP System are also not the ones which are most widely used. For eg, one of the customers, i was talking to for a POC had a local ERP called as Rosenet and we had tough time trying to  figure out possible mapping solution using SLT. This is not to say that SLT is not strong, in fact, it is a very robust tool, especially if you work out with suite like Oracle EBS or MS Dynamics. The challenge is more on the local ERP. With Mergers & Acquisitions being so common and integration in a short time is the key to success of a Corporation, I believe Central Finance has a very strong business preposition for most of the large & global customers.The challenge with SLT is still the complexity with Local ERP where a lot of tweaking is required.


      Sanil Bhandari

      Author's profile photo Mrinal Kanti Roy
      Mrinal Kanti Roy

      Hi Sanil,

      Thanks for the link on Central finance and MDG.



      Author's profile photo Abhishek Jolly
      Abhishek Jolly

      Great work Raghu

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Its a good write-up. We should now start deep-diving into new functionalities. In absence of an in-premise 1511 system, you can try with a triad cloud system from SAP to checkout the functionalities.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Blog Post Author

      tnx Abhijit.. the on-premise trial is available too now.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      I am an SAP HCM professional is S/4 Hana good for a HCM person as a future prospectus.