These days there is a huge interest in SAP S/4HANA. Companies are asking what it is, why they should be on it and how do they get there. This interest motivated us to write a short series of blogs answering questions like these. In this first blog, we will explain what S/4HANA is and why your business would benefit from investing in it. The second blog will outline the business scope, how S/4HANA relates to the broader SAP portfolio and how your company can trial it. And the final blog will outline how your journey to S/4HANA might look.

What is SAP S/4HANA?

So let’s start from the beginning by understanding what SAP S/4HANA is. S/4HANA is SAP’s next-generation business suite, providing a digital core for your organisation. It is a new product fully built on SAP HANA, one of today’s most advanced in-memory platforms, employing modern design principles with the SAP Fiori user experience (UX).

S/4HANA delivers massive simplifications in areas such as customer adoption, data model, user experience, decision making, business processes, and models. It offers innovations for the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, business networks, and mobile-first to help businesses Run Simple in the digital economy. S/4HANA is designed to integrate with and utilise the IoT, Big Data, mobile, business networks, third-party systems, and more. S/4HANA helps companies create a truly live business:

  • It is immediate– empowering business users with insights to act in the moment
  • It is intelligent – beyond automation to predictive suggestion
  • It is integrated – not only between your departments, but connected to the world

What are the key benefits for a customer to move to SAP S/4HANA?

From a business value perspective, S/4HANA creates some unique opportunities to reinvent business models and drive new revenues and profits.

  1. Enterprises can now connect to people, devices, and business networks to deliver new value to their customers on any channel because the Internet of Things and Big Data are accessible to any business.
  2. Enterprises can dramatically simplify their processes, drive them in real time, and change them as needed to gain new efficiencies – batch processing is no longer required.
  3. And finally, business users can now get any insight on any data from anywhere in real time for planning, execution, prediction, and simulation, so decisions may be made on the fly with the finest level of granularity for faster business impact.

From an IT value perspective, S/4HANA creates some unique opportunities to simplify the landscape and help reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), with SAP HANA as the great simplifier.

  1. Enterprises can eliminate redundant data, reducing their data footprint while working with larger data sets in one system. This enables them to reduce hardware costs, operational costs, complexity, and to save time.
  2. Innovation is made simpler by leveraging an open platform (SAP HANA Cloud Platform) to drive advanced applications – for example, for predicting, recommending, and simulating – while protecting existing investments.
  3. Business users can leverage a simple and role-based user experience, based on modern design principles, which minimises training efforts while increasing productivity as it combines information from various sources at the point where decisions are made. We also support customers with simple configuration: both while setting up the system and during its use.
  4. And finally, enterprises get choice of deployment: cloud, on premise, and even hybrid scenarios to achieve quick time-to-value and reflect the current reality of customer solution landscapes.

What is the benefit of using an in-memory platform with regard to the data model?

S/4HANA delivers high-volume online transaction processing (OLTP) and high volume real-time online analytical processing (OLAP) based on a unified data model without the redundant data layers typically required by traditional RDBMS-based systems. This reduces TCO while providing new opportunities to increase business value from existing investments. Examples of redundant data layers are custom-built layers based on database tuning efforts such as secondary indexes, or application built-in performance accelerators such as aggregate tables or multiple general ledger versions for different managerial reporting needs.

The massive simplifications of the data model and the data processing layers enable business and technological innovations on a broad scale, across all lines of business (LoBs) and industry solutions. The new application architecture simplifies system landscapes and accelerates cloud deployments on an economical scale.

Keep a look out for the next blog in the series coming soon!