What is SAP S/4HANA?
SAP Business Suite 4 HANA (SAP S/4HANA) is an ERP system that can analyze and process data in real-time.
The latest ERP suite from SAP
SAP S/4HANA is ERP software from Walldorf-based SAP SE that enables companies to cover and control their daily processes - from marketing to accounting, from logistics to human resources to procurement.
Companies can run SAP S/4HANA on-premise (in an on-site data center) or in the cloud (IT infrastructure of a service provider via the Internet).
Experts refer to the product as a "real-time ERP suite" because, as an ERP system, it can analyze and process information and data in real time.
Since 2014, customers have already been able to use simplifications in the area of finance and accounting as SAP S/4HANA Finance. SAP S/4HANA has been available since November 2015.
What does the name SAP S/4HANA mean?
SAP S/4HANA is an abbreviation and is made up of various parts:
- "HANA" stands for the SAP HANA database, on which SAP S/4HANA is based.
- The number "4" stands - after SAP R/1, SAP R/2 and SAP R/3 - for the fourth major ERP software innovation from SAP.
- The change from "R" to "S" stands for the great leap in development that SAP has made with SAP S/4HAN - towards even more simplicity ("Simple").
What is the HANA database?
The basis for the SAP S/4HANA software is SAP HANA, an in-memory database. In-memory means that the main memory is used as data storage. This leads to a significantly higher speed of data processing.
SAP's previous ERP systems could also work with non-company databases (e.g. from Oracle, IBM or Microsoft) - this is now no longer possible with SAP S/4HANA.
Although SAP S/4HANA was developed completely from scratch, the software is basically based on the data model of its predecessor, SAP ERP. However, SAP has radically simplified this data model.
The advantage of compatibility with the conventional ERP system is that SAP S/4HANA does not necessarily have to be re-implemented.
What is the "digital core" of SAP S/4HANA?
The digital core is the heart of SAP S/4HANA. "Consistently realizing a digitization-friendly IT environment" - that is precisely what is meant by the digital core, according to SAP.
The core networks all applications with each other and thus enables the use of data "without loss of information throughout the entire company" - and in real time.
The reason for this lies in the architecture: Unlike SAP ERP 6.0 (OLTP and OLAP as separate systems, programmed indexes, aggregates, etc.), the information is now no longer row-based, but in columns.
The advantage: a column-based database can perform analyses and processes much faster (in real time) because the need for indexes and aggregates is eliminated.
The central functions for companies are located in the core; all other functions are located outside the core as separate business unit solutions. These solutions can be integrated as needed.
What is SAP Fiori?
With SAP Fiori, SAP S/4HANA has a new user interface (UI) that is similar to traditional consumer apps.
Among the advantages of SAP Fiori is that it can be personalized and is user-friendly and convenient to use.
The UI works in a role-based manner (the right information is available at the right time via different user interfaces) and can be used both with a desktop PC and mobile with a smartphone or tablet.
Will the previous ERP system have to be switched off when SAP S/4HANA goes live?
Companies can continue to operate the classic ERP system until 2025. No separate license costs will be incurred. Even the go-live of SAP S/4HANA will not affect this: Those who want to can continue to operate the previous ERP system in parallel with SAP S/4HANA. If difficulties arise with SAP S/4HANA, the previous ERP system can also serve as a "fallback option" in an emergency and prevent an interruption to operations.