what is sap s/4 hana

What is SAP S4/HANA? Detailed Introduction

In this blog I will try to explain what is SAP S4/HANA, What is SAP HANA Database, features of SAP S/4HANA, SAP Fiori, Evolution of SAP S4/HANA, Embedded analytics, SAP Release options, Implementation methods…

What is SAP S4 HANA

What is SAP S/4HANA?

SAP S4 HANA (SAP S/4HANA) in short for SAP Business Suite 4 HANA is a future-ready Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software package running on SAP HANA Database.

SAP HANA (High Performance Analytical Appliance) is In memory, Column oriented database that has capabilities to perform advanced analytics and it combines OLAP(Online Analytical processing) and OLTP(Online Transactional Processing) operations in a single system.

SAP S/4HANA and SAP HANA are not the same!

SAP S/4HANA is not a single product, it consists of many applications. Within that SAP S/4HANA Enterprises Management is one such component. This is known as the Simplified core or Digital core.

Think SAP S/4HANA Enterprises Management as a replacement for SAP ERP. It supports all core business processes, such as Procure to pay, order to cash, plan to product, core finance, core human resource, etc.,

SAP S/4HANA has native integration with multiple add-on applications such as SAP SRM, SAP CRM, SAP Ariba, SAP Concur, etc.,

Key point is that SAP S/4HANA is built natively and optimally to run only on the SAP HANA platform. We cannot run it on other databases example: Oracle database.

SAP S/4 HANA Features

  • Reduction in data footprint: Due to in-memory, columnar database.
  • Embedded AI capability: It Enables improved insight and performance.
  • Streamline data display: By removing aggregates and index tables.
  • Real-time advanced analytics: By inheriting the capabilities of SAP HANA we can get better forecasting and faster decision.
  • Brand new user experience with SAP Fiori.
  • Flexible deployment options: On-premise, cloud, or a combination of both.

Evolution of SAP S/4HANA

SAP Started by rewriting the Business suite from scratch, it is started with finance.

The data model was developed and the ABAP code completely was rewritten on a new simplified data model, it is called SAP S/4HANA Finance (Simple Finance).

Using the SAP tools, there is an option to convert existing SAP ERP Finance application to SAP S/4HANA Finance and alongside continue to use the existing ERP applications, such as sales, procurement, and inventory management.

Next, SAP rewrote the remaining ERP applications with a new data model and ABAP code (400 Million lines of code), so now we have a full SAP S/4HANA Core.

SAP Fiori and SAP S/4HANA

It does not matter how good an application is if the user experience is poor.

SAP S/4HANA is natively designed with SAP Fiori UX (User Experience), it offers integrated user experience with modern and instant information on any device such as Mobile, Tablet, Desktop, etc.,

SAP Fiori is completely new user experience, rather than an upgrade to any existing interface, such as SAP GUI, SAP Portal, or SAP Business Client.

Benefits of using SAP Fiori

  • Increased productivity – you will fast and direct access to relevant information or apps.
  • Timely notifications – Fiori supports Push notifications to Mobile phones, desktop Fiori launchpad has notification feature to get transparency on items needing your attention.
  • Increased user satisfaction as it is built around the person.

SAP Fiori is not mandatory for customers who are using SAP S/4HANA On-premise edition and they can still use traditional user interface such as SAP GUI (Graphical user interface).

Embedded Analytics with SAP S/4HANA

Traditional ERP are doesn’t support both Analysis (OLAP) and Transaction data (OLTP) in the same system, as their focus is only optimal transaction processing.

To do the analysis for the huge data we have to move data periodically to other analysis systems to perform it using Extract Transformation, and loading (ETL) tools, so there are many points of failure, it comes with risk.

With SAP S/4HANA OLAP and OLTP are combined in a single in-memory platform. It means there are no more moving data.

In Brief: Instant insight to Action on Live data, only one copy of data, No ETL and batch Processing

Implementation of S/4HANA

There are 3 ways to get SAP S/4HANA, this depends on the customers. SAP Has introduced new implementation methodology – SAP Activate, you can learn more in this blog

What is SAP Activate – https://saps-4hana.com/sap-activate-methodology/

Activate Methodology Phases https://saps-4hana.com/sap-activate-methodology-roadmap/

In short SAP S/4HANA Can be implemented as New implementation (Green field), System conversion (Brownfield) or Landscape transformation (SLT).

Deployment options

SAP S/4HANA has flexible deployment option compared to SAP ERP, it can be deployed on On-premise, in the cloud, or through a hybrid model (combining on-premise and cloud solutions)

On-Premise and Cloud deployment have their pros and cons. Below are some comparison between SAP S/4HANA On-premise vs Cloud

 SAP S/4HANA On-PremiseSAP S/4HANA Cloud Edition
Licensing ModelTraditional LicensingSubscription Licensing
Infrastructure & Maintenance ModelCompanies IT department has control of Deployment and maintenanceSAP has control of System infrastructure and maintenance.
Speed of InnovationPlanning, testing, controlling, upgrading and changing the system are the full responsibility of a Company.The automatic latest upgrades happen quarterly without Companies control.
Implementation ApproachHigh flexibility with every business requirements and customization of the businessPredefined SAP best-practice configuration with limited specialization.
Functional ScopeFull ERP Scope, integration with SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP JAM and SAP Ariba Networks.Key scenarios, integration with SAP Fieldglass, SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, SAP Concur, SAP Hybris Marketing, SAP JAM, and SAP Ariba Networks

SAP S/4HANA Release Strategy

Both SAP S/4HANA Cloud and On-premise version have different release cycles.

SAP S/4HANA on-premise: SAP gives one Major release each year followed by Feature stack pack (FPS) on a quarterly basis. FPS will have additional innovation as well as fixing issues. For improvement and stability SAP also continues to ships Support pack stacks (SPS) on a quarterly basis.

SAP S/4HANA Cloud: Release cycles move in faster pace here; SAP Ships major innovation released each quarter. There are no FPS or SPS. Cloud customers get first access to all new Features and Innovations.

SAP follows version coding (YYMM) for every major release, for example, SAP S/4HANA 1909, here 19(YY) is release year and 09 September (MM) is Month of the release.


SAP S/4HANA is a future-ready enterprise resource planning (ERP) system with built-in intelligent technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and advanced analytics.

It transforms business processes with intelligent automation and runs on SAP HANA – an in-memory database that offers real-time processing speeds and with a simplified data model.

If you have any queries or suggestions put it on the comment box,

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This blogs explains Frequently asked questions

  1. What is SAP S 4HANA?
  2. What is SAP HANA?
  3. What is embedded analytics in S 4HANA?
  4. Difference between SAP S4 HANA On-premise vs Cloud
  5. SAP S4 HANA Full form
  6. SAP S4 HANA Wikipedia
  7. Some SAP S4 HANA vs ECC differences
  8. SAP S4 HANA Simple Finance Evolution

References: SAP Product page and SAP Wikipedia

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