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All About SAP S/4 HANA In A Nutshell–Admin Prespective

Hello SAP Admins,

I was googling out for S/4 HANA material which is relevant to SAP Admins but didn’t get exactly what I was looking out for. I had to do lots of reading to get an idea of what S/4 HANA is for SAP Admins. So thought of writing this blog which will be useful for SAP Admins.

As everyone might have heard about S/4 HANA and its evolution into SAP business suite, here’s my bit of understanding of what actually it is and how different it is from a SAP Administrator standpoint. Well I must say, it is nothing different in terms of administering it. That’s similar like administering a system running on top of HANA database but with a new SAP Fiori end user experience. It comes with a pre-configured industry specific best practices which are ready to use and can be customized according to customer’s need. We just need to activate the industry specific best practices like what we normally do from /n/SMB/BBI and can use them. To make to simpler, SAP has introduced a Guided Configuration tasklist.

About S/4 HANA:

SAP S/4 HANA is a next generation business suite but SAP never announced that it is a legal successor of R/3 or ECC (business suite). In SAP R/3, ‘R’ stood for Real-time while in S/4 HANA, ‘S’ means ‘Simple’ real-time business. S/4 HANA ( SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA –as it is called) is a new business suite of applications designed to run simple in a digital and connected world. Being built on the advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA and designed on the most modern user experience, SAP Fiori has down to earth like features.

SAP S/4HANA delivers massive simplifications (customer adoption, data model, user experience, decision making, business processes, and models) and innovations (Internet of Things, Big Data, business networks, and mobile-first) to help businesses run simple in the digital economy.

—> Complete choice of deployment – cloud and on-premise editions

—> Instant value across lines of business and industries

—> The ultimate sophistication:simplicity


Comparison between on-premise & cloud edition:

SAP S/4 HANA, on-premise edition, already offers a business scope that is similar to the current SAP Business Suite in terms of coverage, functionality, and languages. Within this scope, SAP S/4 HANA also includes the transformational simplifications delivered with SAP S/4 HANA Finance (SAP accounting powered by SAP HANA) as well as a planned integration with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central and SAP Ariba Network.

The on-premise edition is intended to offer a yearly innovation cycle through innovation packages.

SAP S/4 HANA, cloud edition covers specific business scenarios for the marketing line of business and for the professional services industry as well as the most essential scenarios in the cloud with a digital core, which includes: finance, accounting, controlling, procurement, sales, manufacturing, plant maintenance, project system and product lifecycle management, plus integration with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, SAP Ariba Network, SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP Fieldglass and SAP JAM.

Three offerings are currently available as part of SAP S/4 HANA, cloud edition:

–> SAP S/4 HANA, cloud marketing edition — for the market line of business

–> SAP S/4 HANA, cloud project service edition — for the professional services industry

–> SAP S/4 HANA, cloud enterprise edition — for a full ERP scope

The cloud edition is intended to offer a quarterly innovation cycle.


To keep it simple, on-premise edition can be installed by professional service vendors on SAP certified hardware ( something like a TDI) whereas cloud edition will be installed by SAP itself and the overall support/maintenance would be done by SAP for which the customer has to pay subscription fee.

SAP Systems running on business suite can jump in to S/4 HANA, on-premise edition in a one step technical procedure using SUM tool with DMO option. ( this is some thing to very exciting for SAP Admins 🙂 )

Customers coming from SAP business suite can jump in to SAP S/4 HANA, cloud edition by implementing the SAP S/4 HANA cloud system using the guided configuration functionalities plus (if required) data migration functionality technically based on SAP LT.

Methodology Being Followed For S/4 HANA :

As always SAP comes up with quite a new naming conventions every time during its major releases and now they named SAP Activate as the standard methodology for S/4 HANA.


SAP Activate uses SAP Best practices, Methodology and Guided Configuration which will help in reduced time and reduced TCO.


In simple terms, we have a four phases in SAP activate namely Prepare, Explore, Realize and Deploy. Pictorial representation here says it all.


During the initial phase, SAP would provide a 30 day free trail of S/4 HANA with pre-defined business processes as per SAP Best Practices for different industry types (Charges would be taken for hosting on the SAP Partner Vendor’s cloud {AWS} ). If customers are satisfied with the solution, then they would go ahead with the implementation.

Release Strategy:

SAP S/4 HANA was first released to customers in Feb’15, finance being the major component which was called as SAP S/4 Simple finance or SFIN. The latest on-premise edition is 1511 FPS02. For this product, SAP ships one new key release per year and 3 successive feature pack stacks (FPS) on a quarterly basis. Then comes the next key release,followed by 3 feature pack stacks, etc.,

Technically speaking, an FPS is similar to an SPS, but it may include non-disruptive, non-mandatory features.

The current on-premise product: –> SAP S/4 HANA, on premise edition 1511 (shipped in Nov’15) –> 1511 FPS01 ( Feb’16) –> 1511 FPS02 ( June’16) –> 1511 FPS03 ( planned in Q3 2016).

In Q4 2016, S/4 HANA, on-premise edition 1511 will go to maintenance cycle only mode and will be supported by SPS ( support pack stacks), according to the maintenance contract.

Numbering of FPS/SPS will be consecutive i.e., the first SPS after a FPS3 would consequently called as SPS4.

At the same time, SAP will ship the next big on-premise release S/4 HANA , on-premise edition 1610, which will be followed by feature pack stack on a quarterly basis.

FP–>New functionality + enhanced functionality + patches/bug fixes

SP–>Just patches ( new functionality is not even allowed here)

One more important thing here to note is the ECC main component SAP_APPL will be replaced by S4CORE Component ( ex–S4CORE 100 0001 — Component/Release/SP-level).



Implementation Scenarios ( This is what We {Admins} need to watch out for 🙂 ) :

Practically there are three scenarios for ultimately reaching S/4 HANA shown as below.

Scenario 1 – System Conversion : Existing SAP Business Suite Customers who want to move to SAP S/4 HANA

Scenario 2 – Landscape Transformation : Existing SAP Business Suite Customers who wants to optimize their system landscape & move to S/4 HANA.

Scenario 3 – New Implementation : New SAP Customers who want to move from legacy systems to SAP.

Brief overview on the three scenarios :

Scenario 1 – System Conversion : Existing SAP Business Suite Customers who want to move to S/4 HANA –> This scenario is focused on existing Business Suite customers who want to change current system to S/4 HANA, on-premise 1511 system. This includes the following steps.

–> Update to SAP NW AS ABAP 7.5

–> Migrating DB to SAP HANA ( in case, SAP Business Suite system is not yet on SAP HANA)

–> Installation of SAP S/4 HANA, on-premise edition

–> Installation of SAP Fiori for S/4 HANA

–> Migration of data from the old data structures to the new simplified data structures

**** Supported start releases for a one-step procedure : ERP 6 and suite on HANA, ERP 6.0 EHP 0-8, Suite on HANA ( including S/4 HANA Finance Add-on)

**** Customers on older business suite releases can move to S/4 HANA in a two-step approach ( ex- Unicode conversion & business partner conversion as a 1st step and move to S/4 HANA as a 2nd step).

Scenario 2 – Landscape Transformation : Existing SAP Business Suite customers who want to optimize their system landscape & move to S/4 HANA –> This scenario is focused on existing business suite customers who want to change to their current system or system landscape to S/4 HANA. This scenario covers more complex migration scenarios. Below are the technical steps:

–> Possibly a new installation of S/4 HANA, on-premise edition 1511 system

–> Possibly converting a system to S/4 HANA, on-premise edition

–> Additional migration steps that are based on SAP LT combined with SAP Landscape Optimization services.

**** In simple terms, suppose say you have region specific ECC systems and want to integrate all these systems into one system.

Scenario 3 – New Implementation : New SAP Customers who want to move from legacy systems to SAP

–> Installation of SAP NW AS ABAP 7.5 based on SAP HANA

–> Installation of S/4 HANA, on-premise

–> Installation of SAP Fiori for S/4 HANA, on-premise

**** In this scenario, S/4 HANA is implemented and master & transactional data is migrated from the legacy system. Depending on the S/4 HANA editions and detailed customer requirements, SAP LT or SAP Data Services technology is used for the required data migration.

Below picture would be the final evolution of SAP landscape in mere future.

Tools To Be Used For these Implementation :

SWPM – For new installation

SUM with DMO – For existing systems

Solution Manager (Solman 7.2) has to be integrated with the existing system which is be migrated for generating stack file with maintenance planner ( replacement of Maintenance Optimizer – MOPZ).


Future scope :

Below picture say it all !!!


Hope this is useful… 🙂

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    • Hi Peter,

      SAP is still developing to integrate logistics with simple finance but its not official. So SAP would be the right contact to tell you the right approach.


      As of release 1605, SAP S/4HANA Finance will be the only official product name for both the 1503 and 1605 releases. Nonetheless, SAP Simple Finance will still be used in the documentation of release 1503, as a retroactive update of this documentation is not planned.