Five years ago, on February 3, 2015 at the New York Stock Exchange, SAP launched the biggest product update in the company’s history: SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA (SAP S/4HANA), a next-generation business suite to help customers run simple. When readers opened the Wall Street Journal that day, they saw a one-page SAP ad: “We just reimagined the Business Suite. And for that matter, business.” And so, the journey of SAP’s fastest growing product began.
Today, SAP/4 HANA is SAP’s flagship product and the foundation of the company’s ERP market leadership. SAP S/4HANA helps more than 13,800 licensed customers to date to innovate their business. More than 86% of the companies listed in the Boston Consulting Group Top 50 Most Innovative Companies ranking and more than 80% of all DAX companies are SAP S/4HANA customers.
Throughout the last five years one business priority has remained the same: the need for continuous transformation. Today everybody is looking at forecasts to assess how quickly digital business models will change the corporate world in 2020, the same was true in 2015. However, companies are also facing new challenges: Inconsistent processes, masses of unreliable data, reports that require extensive manual effort and which are then quickly obsolete, or simply old systems that produce more work than they process. SAP S/4 HANA helps companies to become an Intelligent Enterprise and solve these new challenges to stay ahead in today’s experience economy. SAP offers customers a choice of deployment options including Cloud, On-Premise and Hyprid, so they can choose the scenario or combination what is right for them.
The technological foundation of the High-Performance Analytic Appliance database, called SAP HANA, goes back to the development of in-memory technology at the Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) in Berlin in collaboration with SAP in 2008. The aim of the research group was to launch a new type of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and to overcome the limitations of the current ERP generation.
In-memory refers to the principle of not managing the business data on hard disk storage and accessing it with indexes, but instead keeping it in a much larger and faster main memory, so that the data is available in real time. With the use of in-memory technology, there is no distinction between online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP).
Traditionally, separate, specialized systems are required for transactional and analytical functions, but with in-memory technology both are possible in one system. The performance advantages were the cornerstone for the product launch of SAP S/4HANA in 2015 – an innovation in code and architecture.
Inauguration in 2015
The launch of SAP S/4HANA was the biggest product launch in SAP’s history. SAP S/4HANA is the next generation of the application suite from SAP – after SAP R/2, SAP R/3, SAP ERP. The “S” in SAP S/4HANA symbolizes the principle of simple, “four” stands for the fourth generation. And “HANA” stands for in-memory real-time where you can run your entire company radically simplified at a speed never before achieved in real time.
With the launch of SAP S/4HANA, the boardroom of the future became an overnight reality. SAP had seized the moment by translating customer needs and expectations while simplifying the data model as a prerequisite for streamlining and accelerating business processes. Right from the start, SAP’s customers could benefit from the new user interface based on the SAP Fiori standard combined with operations. Whether the companies decision-makers have real-time access to all the information about their company just a fingertip away! “
The term SAP S/4HANA is used today as an umbrella term to refer to both SAP S/4HANA Cloud and AnyPremise (formerly On-Premise). Nevertheless, they are two separate products that grew from the same tree.
The simplification of the data model and the use of in-memory technology, business processes can be accelerated and streamlined with SAP S/4HANA.
As a digital core, SAP S/4HANA covers the core processes of a company with a 60 TB data base. In comparison, the database of a customer has an average of less than 1 TB. It is a complete ERP solution for key business processes, from finance, procurement, production, sales to supply chain management and project management. Prediction models, simulations, and ad-hoc analyses are available for every employee via self-service.
SAP has taken the step towards adapting to the new realities, new needs, and the evolution in technology. SAP S/4HANA relies entirely on best and next practices, tried and tested standard features for most processes in companies. The core product provides live data to end-users in all departments and branches with clearly defined specifications. Processing the specifications can sometimes lead to delays in one or the other project. But they are the basis for minimizing misunderstandings and sources of error. This means that end-user work becomes more efficient. An advantage which is crucial at the speed of today’s accelerated digitization.
The digital era is in full swing. Macro-economic shifts increase the need for fast innovation and flexibility. With SAP S/4HANA companies not only run in “real-time”, they become a “live business. SAP is developing the next generation of ERP solutions to help companies take a leap forward and stay fully engaged with their customers, employees and other stakeholders.
Cheers to SAP S/4HANA! Here’s to the next five years and more!