I have seen a number of people have some confusion when talking about SAP S/4HANA. There are actually 6 different versions available in the market which increases the confusion as well as working out which is the best solution for you. SAP S/4HANA is a Cloud first product, which means that core development occurs within the Cloud products (4 of the 6). The functionality is released once a quarter for the cloud products. The on premise solutions will have a major release once a year and therefore new functionality is not provided to the on premise edition quarterly.
The diagram below is widely available from SAP and covers the scope of each of the products.
What are the six product – current SAP naming (April 2016)
- SAP S/4HANA Finance
- SAP S/4HANA On premise edition 1511
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Enterprise Edition Private option
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Enterprise Edition
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Professional Services Edition
- SAP S/4HANA Cloud Marketing edition
Options 1 and 2 are the on premise versions and 3, 4, 5 & 6 are the Cloud versions.
SAP S/4HANA Finance
This is the first release of SAP S/4HANA. It is SAP Suite on HANA with the Finance Simplification pack activated. This is compatible with all Industry Solutions, the core component is “SAP_APPL”. The solution has a number of SAP Fiori Apps and makes use of SAP HANA Live. A new release of the product is planned with the scope due to be announced next month.
This solution is aimed at the current SAP Business Suite customers who are after improving their Finance processes without disrupting other processes and modules. This is the most mature SAP S/4HANA solution and the most widely used in a productive state.
SAP S/4HANA On premise edition 1511
This is the most recent version of SAP S/4HANA on premise. The scope is based on SAP ECC, however a number of modules have been blacklisted as well as new functionality being added. The core component is now “S4CORE” (Enterprise Management) and a number of specific Industry Solution add-ons will not currently work – these mainly relate to IS-Retail and IS-Oil and Gas. There is a wider scope of SAP Fiori Apps, and embedded analytics is the core tool for reporting. The Finance simplification is available, and the core Logistics modules are enhanced.
This solution is aimed at the current SAP Business suite customers who are after the next ERP system. Normally customers would be looking at business transformation and using the tool to provide a digital core. Certain industry Solutions will not work with this version. This is far from a direct replacement of SAP ECC with many modules being replaced or blacklisted. Customers wishing to implement SAP S/4HANA will have to either perform a system conversion which may become complex or a new install. Customers looking to remove unrequired functionality, code, unwanted data would look towards a new install, whilst customers who want a new UI and want to keep all of their code and data may favour a system conversion. The product was released in November 2015. Feature support packs are released every quarter with the next major release planned to be October 2016 (SAP reserve the rights to amend the go live dates)
When comparing the two on premise products, customers should be able to understand the difference between the scope, functionality and alignment to the core SAP ECC product. Based on how their measure these drivers will determine the solution they aim to move to. It is also worth noting that if a customer moved to SAP S/4HANA Finance, they can migrate to SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management – this is not an upgrade but a system conversion with the main difference the move of the core component from SAP_APPL to S4CORE leading to a number of data elements to be converted into the new data model within SAP S/4HANA.
In order to understand the cloud versions I will work back from option 6 to option 3 to explain the differences and how the scope of the solution changes.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud Marketing Edition
Whilst this product has an SAP S/4HANA badge there is no comparison to the core SAP ECC solution. The marketing scope and the solution is the same as SAP Hybris Marketing. The product has an SAP S/4HANA badge as it can be sold with the other cloud versions. In terms of the code line and the core component it is not S4CORE as the other Cloud products are.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud Professional Service Edition.
As per the name this product is aimed at customers within the professional service industry, so legal firms, accountancy firms and consultancy firms. The solution has a scope that is targeted to the core processes performed within the industry area. A potential customer of this product will benefit from a monthly subscription with the benefit of SAP Fiori, best practice configuration and strong integration between processes. The solution is hosted by SAP. Releases are provided 4 times a year and this is a true cloud solution. The solution is a subset of the solution available SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Cloud Edition. The core component is S4CORE.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud Enterprise Edition
This is a richer solution compared to SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Cloud Professional Service Edition. The scope will cover the scope available in a light implementation of SAP ECC, including stock, standard billing (and not resource related billing). There will be quarterly releases for the product. The core component is S4CORE. As with the Professional Services edition the ability to customise the solution is limited. The target audience for this product is now much wider than the Professional Service as customer in other Industries could use this tool. However customers who need specific functionality that is currently available via on premise industry solutions will not find that functionality in this tool now or in the near future.
SAP S/4HANA Cloud Enterprise Edition Private Option
This is a product that is aimed at customers that require the full functionality available with a traditional SAP ECC solution but would like to have a hosted solution and use best practice configuration and build principles. This a product that is currently only available via SAP hosting the solution, however it is assumed over time Partners will have access to this tool and will be able to sell this product and host it. It is worth noting that whilst the SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Cloud Edition is based on SAP ECC, the solution is seen as a light solution and cannot handle more complex processes. The Cloud Private tool is aimed at customers who require the complexity of the functionality from SAP ECC, but the subscription model to pay a monthly cost for the product. The solution is based on SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management with best practice configuration. As with the cloud limited extension is possible which will be attractive for customers wanting to remove bespoke custom code and keep a clean environment. The solution runs on the core S4CORE component.