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Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford

Beginners Guide to S/4HANA Public Cloud

Following on from my blog on what S/4HANA On Premise edition was all about, I am now going to explain what S/4HANA public cloud is all about. At the time of writing we have 3 different cloud editions, one for marketing, one for professional services and one for Enterprise Management. I expect the number to grow with various pre-packaged editions for various industries and lines of business. These various packages will either limit the features you can access and / or come with content to accelerate implementation.

In this blog I am going to focus on Enterprise Management, but technically the other editions are based on the same ABAP/HANA technology platform and will have the same restrictions / features.

As I did before I have split the topic into 4 separate areas :-

  • User Interface
  • Business Logic
  • Database
  • Interfaces


I will discuss each one in turn – looking to explain how they work in S/4HANA Public Cloud.

User Interface

Access to S/4HANA Cloud is via the Fiori LaunchPad with no access via the SAPGUI fat client. The Fiori tiles that you see are controlled via authorisations and divided up by functional role. Some of the tiles will start Fiori Apps (HTML5) and some will start classic WebGUI transactions. Some of the Fiori Apps have been enabled for Key User Extensibility, where fields can be added / hidden etc. For any “new” apps these must be built on top using HANA Cloud Platform.

Owen Recommends : Start to understand how you can use BUILD/Web-IDE to build apps on top of API’s using the HANA Cloud Platform

Business Logic

The business processes and the associated logic are configured using Guided Configuration using a Model Company as the basis for your system. The idea is to try to fit your company to “standard” model one. New features are added to the system every quarter and these are pushed into the system – so you can’t pick a choose when to take them.

You will not have access to the classic Implementation Guide (IMG) and SAP have restricted the options available in the Guided Configuration to keep down implementation effort. For someone used to classic SAP this will be a big difference.

Very limited business logic can be added in specific places but only a restricted sub-set of the ABAP programming language is allowed so you can’t impact the rest of the system. If you want to write any major custom business logic then HANA Cloud Platform is the recommended solution.

Owen Recommends : Start to understand how you can use HANA Cloud Platform to build custom business logic on top of API’s

Owen Recommends : Start to explore the range of features that are available in S/4HANA Cloud and how these are configured using Guided Configuration.


The S/4HANA Cloud edition uses the same simplified data model as the on premise S/4HANA. However no direct access to the database is allowed and as this is a public cloud model database size, back up and DR are all covered by SAP. So you get the benefits of HANA without having to understand it.


To interface into/out of S/4HANA Cloud you need to use the White Listed APIs. You will not be able to write any business logic for pre / post processing for interface files, so this will drive the need for middleware. HANA Cloud Integration is the recommended solution to encapsulate any pre / post processing.

Owen Recommends : Evaluate how S/4HANA can be integrated to using pre-packaged content in HANA Cloud Integration (as noted by Maarten you can also use SAP PO for this integration).


All of the above differences are designed to lower the TCO associated with S/4HANA. Some customers will love having the robust “digital” core SAP is famous for without the hassle of having to run the system, others will find them too restrictive and will accept higher costs for increased flexibility/control. I guess the key is making sure you actually need the flexibility/control in the first place and/or making sure you can’t achieve the flexibility you need using HANA Cloud Platform to build on top.

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      Author's profile photo Joachim Rees
      Joachim Rees

      Very nice, thanks Owen!

      I especially like the "Owen Recommends"-Parts! 🙂



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Nice post, Owen Pettiford. Two comments, just fyi:

      1. We launched the 1608 release today and it includes Fiori 2.0, which essentially adds a Fiori theme to ALL WebGUI transactions. :

      2. While HCI is the preferred middleware for S/4HANA Cloud, especially when it comes to other cloud solutions, its on prem counterpart - NetWeaver PI/PO - remains a valid option too, esp for customers already using it extensively in their landscape.

      Look forward to more "Owen Recommends" ;o)

      Author's profile photo Balamurugan Sundaram
      Balamurugan Sundaram

      Thanks Owen.  A well explained and easy to understand.

      Author's profile photo Joerg Hendricks
      Joerg Hendricks

      Hi Owen,

      the marketing edition runs on the same stack as the enterprise edition. It is not HANA native.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford
      Owen Pettiford
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks I updated this

      Author's profile photo Joerg Hendricks
      Joerg Hendricks

      Great, thanks

      Author's profile photo Joerg Hendricks
      Joerg Hendricks

      For anybody interested also in the marketing cloud edition here an interesting blog about some myths about its capabilities and availability:

      Have fun 🙂

      Author's profile photo Mark Green
      Mark Green

      Hi Owen,

      I always look forward to reading your blogs. Keep up the great work and let's see more 'Owen Recommends'. That is a brilliant and fun addition that provides a proper action point  / sign-post.

      PS You need to get some t-shirts printed with that expression, and maybe a picture of you with your thumb up!



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Owen,

      Thanks for the informative article.

      I am interested in understanding the expressions shown under the business logic section - 'In app extensions, superseeded standard code, new standard code etc', any pointers where can I look?



      Author's profile photo Owen Pettiford
      Owen Pettiford
      Blog Post Author
      Author's profile photo John Pawlikowski
      John Pawlikowski

      Does anyone have a link that explains all the business functionality in 1608?  I am looking to understand how much SD/MM/CO/FI etc., is in the Public Cloud version.  thx

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

      Check out This page is the new one-stop shop for all things S/4HANA Cloud (including the blog Owen mentions above).

      In the "Details" tab of the 1608 section, there are many links to detailed information. Re the functional scope, there are 2 things I would recommend:

      1. the Feature Scope Description: a single document covering all the "functions in detail" (blast from the past ;o)

      2. the links to the SAP Best Practices documentation for S/4HANA Enterprise Management Cloud. The scope of S/4HANA CLoud is based ENTIRELY on SAP Best Practices. In other words, if it's not in Best Practices, then it's not in S/4HANA Cloud. You'll find detailed info on each and every scope item, including flow charts of the processes.

      Also click on the "More information" link on the left hand menu. Here you will get access to a large PPT, covering all the Best Practices functionality, including a one-pager for each and every scope item, very useful. There's also an Excel-based "scope questionnaire", which we always use in discovery sessions.

      These instructions are from memory, as i can't actually access the site right now, but I hope they make sense and you find the info useful.

      PS The other important link on the "Details" tab of the 1608 section is the one to the new "Roadmap" at the bottom of the page. This will give you an insight into what's coming in the next 3 versions (1611, 1702 and 1705), as well as what's available today.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      To be clear---S/4HANA Enterprise Management Cloud is not a SaaS Version of ECC - right?

      Author's profile photo Andreas Huppert
      Andreas Huppert

      No, it is the SaaS deployment of S/4HANA.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Thanks. What is the best way to find out how the functional capabilities of S/4HANA Enterprise Management Cloud compare to on-premise ECC?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Jeff,

      I'm afraid there is no direct comparison document available between S/4 Cloud and S/4 on prem, let alone ECC. It has come up that this would be useful, but it would have to be updated every quarter, in line with the Cloud updates.

      The best ways to compare S/4 Cloud and S/4 on prem are

      1. Look at the Feature Scope Documents (FSD) of the 2 products

      2. Look at the scope of S/4 Cloud, which is based ENTIRELY on SAP Best Practices, as i explained above. All on prem functionality, which is not in the Best Practices, is not in S/4 Cloud

      Hope this helps.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Even i am not a technical person. blog will help me to understand the things,, Great.



      Author's profile photo Igor Veryaev
      Igor Veryaev

      Owen, thank you so much for such a promt and helpful article! Even 2,5 years after posting date it finally helped me to bring to light the differences between public and private clouds 🙂