In 2015 and with much fanfare, SAP executives announced S/4HANA. SAP had originally included the Simple Finance product in its S/4HANA vision, another S/4HANA release, referred to then as Simple Logistics to bring all other modules in to the same platform.
As with any major software release, there is often a disconnect between early product names and the final naming convention. You might have noticed that the S/4HANA, release 1511 to latest version 1709.
In short, S/4HANA Enterprise Management is the new name for the product formerly known as Simple Logistics.
In addition: Simple is out, and S/4HANA is in. So along those lines, what we knew as Simple Finance is now known as S/4HANA Finance.
S/4HANA Enterprise Management
Now, what is in S/4HANA Enterprise Management, and how does it relate to the software we currently know, such as RECC 6.0 or R/3? And how will everything fit together?
It’s true that S/4HANA Enterprise Management’s features and functions are similar to the scope of ECC 6.0. This is not a complete re-write of the code that encompasses ECCthat would certainly take much more time to pull off. However, a significant part of the ECC body has been re-thought and re-imagined to take advantage of the capabilities of S/4HANA and eliminate restrictions that the existing relational databases imposed.
Further, existing ECC functionality has traditionally been thought of in modules, such as FI/CO, SD, MM, WM, LE and so forth. Think of the new S/4HANA Enterprise Management in terms of processes: Order to Cash, Procure to Pay, Plan to Produce, Request to Service, as well as HR/HCM and Finance.
Below diagrams represent the SAP ECC and S4HANA.
The S/4HANA product is new in many ways. An extensive redesign of these process streams, with input from customers and partners, has resulted in improvements in procurement, inventory management, material valuation, capacity planning, order management and more. Further, the creation of the universal journal and the central finance approach has increased the flexibility of the S/4HANA Finance subsystem. This has the possibility to deliver even more value to the enterprise as opposed to just accelerating the financial close process.
With S/4HANA having so much more functionality than the earlier release, the real question is one of roadmap: Just what is included in this Release 1709 and when will additional functionality be released, including the additional tools that will make deployment and implementation easier and quicker?
For that answer, look to the SAP Service Marketplace for the Product Roadmap. Finally, latest release 1709 opens up the integration of SAP’s cloud offerings into S/4HANA itself. Being able to connect SuccessFactors, Ariba, Fieldglass, Concur, and Hybris with an enterprise’s transactional system will make it much easier to do business using SAP S/4HANA.
Cloud is here to stay. Anything SAP can do to make it easier for customers to do business in hybrid environments that mix on-premise with cloud solutions will go a long way to helping customers adopt this improved solution.
SAP S/4HANA is the future direction of ERP software that can take full advantage of the capabilities of SAP HANA. Further, SAP has to do a bit more to make licensing of this product more crystal clear, especially looking to the future.
I hope by seeing the below diagram of SAP S4HANA landscape simplification/Consolidation will explain what really SAP wants to do in future.