You probably heard the word S/4HANA before, right?
If you are unsure what does S/4HANA is, I am here to help you to understand a lit bit of what does this mean.
SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA, S/4 HANA or S/4HANA (all together) is a new Business Suite officially announced by SAP in 2015.
I hope you enjoy this journey starting now… I will share lot of good content related to this subject in this and next posts.
Time to re-build the Business Suite for the digital world
SAP has been enhancing their business applications according to the technology and 2015 was the year that a revolutionary business suite was officially announced. Thanks to the new technologies in Hardware that brought massive processing power and speed with costs decreasing, huge memory and multicore processors, SAP was able to redesign their existing products and that originated the SAP S/4HANA.
The S/4HANA is a core component of a whole new “next generation” of SAP products.
SAP S/4HANA – A reimagined suite to reimagine business
Business Scope of release 1511:
- Finance: Accounting Operations
- Finance: Unified Ledger & Fast Close
- Manufacturing: Production Processing & Subcontracting
- Manufacturing: Quality Management
- Supply Chain: Production Planning
- Supply Chain: Inventory
- Sourcing & Procurement: Operational Procurement
- Sourcing & Procurement: Contracts and requisitioning
- Sales: Sales Order Fulfillment & Returns
- Service: Project and Service Management
- Human Resources: Time Management
Companies can start their journey with basic components and grow later adding new products for a more robust enterprise management.
The S/4HANA, like the SAP ERP ECC is the main product that will support all core business process in the company, like P2P, OTC and etc.
In combination with applications such as SAP Hybris, SAP Success Factors, SAP Ariba, SAP Fieldglass, Concur and the Internet of Things projects, SAP offers a digital value network, which interconnects all aspects of the value network in real-time to drive business outcomes. Those are some of the other business Solutions that can be added at any time to provide the best experience and technology to manage the many different business in a company.
The S/4HANA is built on SAP’s advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA, and runs ONLY in a HANA DB, as no other DB can provide the speed and technology required to achieve the level of experience that this new Suite expects to deliver.
SAP HANA DB
We can’t talk about S/4HANA without knowing more about the HANA Database and it’s own technology.
Years ago SAP started researching on how to develop their products and applications to run over an in-memory database, but then they realized that the Database expert companies couldn’t deliver what SAP wants, then SAP began their on in-memory database development.
They had to work very closer to the market leading chip manufactures in order to find the optimal design to the database that could explore the full power of the next generation of processors.
In 2011 the SAP HANA was finally announced and it was available as a standalone data mart solution to allow customers capture data from any source in real-time, load that data to in-memory database and build the BI reports and applications on top of it.
Then SAP did offer the SAP HANA as an Accelerator to be deployed as side-car engines to run parallel to the SAP ERP in critical business functions, yet performing slowly. Meanwhile SAP did start developing new applications completely powered by SAP HANA (for example Smart Meter Analytics).
Then in 2012, SAP migrated the an already existing application to the SAP HANA, the SAP BW, and this was followed with the SAP Business Suite, names Suite on HANA (SoH), not S/4HANA.
As mentioned already, 2015 was the year that SAP announced the S/4HANA, after completely rewriting the ECC. Different from SoH, the S/4 is a brand new code-line that works only on SAP HANA and can’t work with any other vendor’s database, like the SoH, mitigating the limitation of those DBs and exploring 100% of the SAP HANA capabilities.
Key Aspects of SAP S/4HANA
So, what changed then?
It is hard to explain it in detail when I am proposing to just introduce the S/4HANA to you. But I can explore in future posts going in a deeper detail.
- The S/4HANA is natively built on SAP HANA, and because of that, it adheres to the capabilities of this powerful application platform and database management technology, which includes predictive analytics, advanced text mining, real time decision support and etc..
- A new UI that offers personalized user experience with SAP Fiori and can deliver the same level of experience targeting in productivity in different devices, such as computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and etc.
- The data model was simplified reducing and vanishing unnecessary tables and the data stored and subsequently the data footprint was significantly reduced, simplifying the application design and extensibility.
- It can be deployed in the cloud or on-premise.
- S/4HANA Cloud Edition* is delivered in different flavors:
- Enterprise Edition-based ERP with Cloud extensions (SuccessFactors, Employee Central, Fieldglass, hubris, Concur and Ariba)
- Project Services Edition, focused on professional services with Cloud extensions (SuccessFactors, Employee Central, Fieldglass, Concuren Ariba)
- Marketing Edition Customer Engagement & Commerce
- Real-time OLAP capabilities inside the ERP system allows you to run all your operational reports directly in the source data using SAP HANA Live.
- Fiori Smart Business Cockpits using SAP HANA Live providing real-time insights in real-time Business Processes.
- Free Text searches – google-like experience in ERP improving for example customer service by reducing customer response times with regards to sales orders.
- Eliminate batch processes and enable real-time operations like in Plant Maintenance
*S / 4HANA Cloud Enterprise Edition, provides a state-of-the-art base to completely innovate the business and digitize. Processes and information flows are greatly simplified and employees can work proactively and accurate contextual and personalized real-time information. By HANA Cloud Integration platform to be easily interfaces with other SAP cloud solutions enabling the digitization of all processes in the chain is quickly realized.
Due to the new data model, SAP S/4HANA replaces successively the old code line with a new code line, which is free from limitations of traditional databases and allows SAP, partners and customer developers to explore and maximize the benefits of the in-memory database technology.
SAP HANA in-memory technology can be defined as in-memory first processing instead of replicating a subset of data from disc to memory.
S/4HANA comes by the built in capabilities of SAP HANA. You can notice that in the new S/4HANA applications:
Application Services: As well as a database, SAP HANA can also provide many application services. This means many applications can be built in a 2-tier model, rather than a 3-tier model.
Processing Services: SAP HANA can handle many new types of data. This includes text, spatial, graph and more. But is not enough to simple store these new data types we need to be able to build applications that can process and integrate this data with traditional data types, such as business transactions. SAP HANA provides native in-memory engines that process any types of data in real time.
Integration Services: SAP HANA has multiple data consumption options built in. We can analyze continual streaming data, read data remotely in any data source, read Big Data stores such as Hadoop, synchronize in both directions with remote databases and devices that collect data (IoT). SAP HANA has built in Extraction, Transformation and Loading (ETL) capabilities so that separate software is no longer needed to clean, enrich and profile data from any sources.
Database Services: SAP HANA is a full in-memory column and row store database that can support both OLTP and OLAP requirements and is built to run on high-end hardware. It stores data optimally using automatic compression and is able to manage data on different storage tiers to support data ageing strategies. It has built in high availability functions that keep the database running and ensure mission critical applications are never down.