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Demystifying SAP S/4HANA [Webinar]

December 17, 2015

As the biggest redesign of SAP's ERP solution since the introduction of R/3, the SAP S/4HANA announcement is both exciting and has created some questions around what this redesign means. Join Owen Pettiford, SAP Mentor, and Martin Tenk, Head of SAP HANA Pre-Sales, for this one hour webinar as they help answer these questions and clear up the myths that have surfaced since the announcement.

During this one hour webinar, Owen and Martin will address the Top 10 Myths surrounding S/4HANA and answer the most commonly asked questions including:

  • Why do you need to understand digital transformation?
  • How does S/4HANA Digital Core support Mobile, Digital Transformation and the Internet of Things?
  • What are the Top 10 S/4HANA myths?
  • What is the SAP Platform evolution?
  • What do you need to plan your road to simple?

Myth #1: Business Suite on HANA and S/4HANA are the same thing

Although the naming conventions are quite similar, the full name for S/4HANA is Business Suite for HANA as opposed to Business Suite on HANA. This came about in early 2014, when the code lines for Business Suite were copied and separated. Since that time the S/4HANA team have been reworking the user interface and simplifying the processes - taking the core Business Suite functionality and simplifying the data model within that solution.  

Some of the features that are developed within S/4HANA do get down ported into Business Suite, and Business Suite is able to run on any database, as well as HANA. Essentially, Business Suite on HANA is the “faster horse”. It has the same features customers are used to; however, some of them running incredibly fast. On the other hand, S/4 represents a new motor car, which can be deployed in two ways. It can be deployed as a public cloud edition, so it can consume completely as a cloud edition or it can be deployed as an on premise edition. So the code based is the same with two different deployment options offered by SAP. The only way they are able to offer that is from the simplification that has happened within the solution.

Myth #2: S/4HANA is only available in the cloud

What is actually happening is that features are being developed and will be deployed to the cloud first, but those same features same code based) will come to the on premise world. So, the on premise will come down to the speed that they consume those innovations, which users will get those working at two speeds. Push innovation to the cloud, pull innovation for the on premise customers. 

Myth #3: Modifications to S/4HANA will not work

A lot has been done to the software in the fifteen years since customers have done their last modification. It is highly recommended that S/4HANA is used as an opportunity to look at all of your organization’s modifications. The Simplification Database, an SAP tool, allows organizations to scan modifications to see where simplification changes may have stopped those modifications from working. In many cases, the modification may just work or they may need some additional, slight modifications because what SAP has done in S/4HANA is where tables were removed and compatibility views were inserted into the system. These views are calculated by HANA on the fly, but the programs reading those database tables see no difference. What they think is the database table is actually the database view. So unless something a bit unusual is done, like writing to an aggregate table, then a lot of those modifications will continue to work in S/4HANA for the on premise edition. In the cloud edition updates, it has been said that those modifications will not be allowed. There is a new modification concept within the cloud edition, part of which works on the basis of modifying on top of the solution using the HANA Cloud Platform.

Myth #4: S/4HANA isn’t compatible with industry solutions

Industry solutions are being rolled into SAP S/4HANA as we move forward.  As of late 2015, not all industry solutions, along with all of their extensions, worked in an optimized way.  However, many of those solutions will work in compatibility mode so they have not yet been optimized. Within an industry solution some features are supported and some features are not supported. It is important to know that S/4HANA is a new product, so as a new product, not all of the features are going to be supported exactly the same way as they were before.

Myth #5: S/4HANA does not support all the features of Business Suite

There are cases where features are duplicated within the solution, so in those cases the features have either been removed or have been combined together. A simplification list is published on the SAP Service Marketplace. If a feature has changed, SAP will highlight what those changes are and what the recommended pathways are to bring your organization back in line with S/4HANA. For example, S/4HANA uses the business partner concept, as well as the material ledger. If the business partner concept, or using material ledger, is not currently being used then these are features that will need to be activated in the solution during the transition to SAP S/4HANA. The user interface has changed with Fiori, so the myth certainly isn’t true. It supports the core business processes, those processes may just be supported in slightly different ways.

Myth #6: You can’t upgrade to S/4HANA

This myth is technically true. You can’t upgrade to S/4HANA because S/4HANA is a new product so Business Suite cannot be upgraded. What can be done is to convert Business Suite to an SAP S/4HANA system. It is a conversion as opposed to an upgrade.

As a customer, there are a couple of options – either an in place conversion or a migration to a new instance of S/4HANA.

Myth #7: Simple Logistics will not be available until 2016

SAP has dropped the term “Simple” from product names. Simple Logistics is actually just an internal name, and was a slang term about was happening in the other modules. In reality, simplification has happened across all the modules and the SD data model, as well as the MM data model, has been simplified and the impact of those has cascaded across the solution.

Now there are ten functional lines of business areas, making it clear that there is functionality in S/4HANA and it can be extended using the cloud products, an integration being pre-delivered by SAP, which is a key point when moving to those areas.

Myth #8: Once we upgrade to Oracle 12c we will have SAP in-memory – so we don’t need S/4HANA

Features are continually being added to classic Business Suite, as well as to Suite on HANA, and the result of that is speed. Although running the system on any in-memory database provides some speed, S/4HANA is not just speed. It’s about providing speed and scale to have the ability to store things at a really granular level. There is simplicity in terms of simplifying the data model and user interface, and there are next generation features that can start being taken advantage of such as the predictive engine, geo-spatial features and IoT capabilities.

Myth #9: We will get all of the new features in EhP8

There will be some new features brought to Business Suite from Enhancement Package 8 (EhP8). These include a significant amount of innovations, primarily based on customer feedback.

However, only features from the new code line that can be down ported to AnyDB will be included (resources need to be available to perform the down port). The S/4HANA team is busy with two key tasks:

  1. Simplifying the Data Model
  2. Taking advantage of the SAP HANA platform

Myth #10: S/4HANA is still a pretty young product

There are already a good number of live projects going on in the market. SAP is expected to have over 100 live customers by the end of 2015 and well over 2,000 licensed customers.

About the Speakers

Owen Pettiford, SAP Mentor

Owen is a highly experienced and season consultant and a SAP Mentor, the elite trusted community of advisers who help SAP customers make the best out of their investment. Since 2005, Owen has worked with clients to create architectures and designs based on layered design principles. Having completed over 30+ Enterprise SAP Roadmaps across 12 industry sector Owen offers an invaluable depth and breadth of knowledge of common patterns and problems. His specialties include : S/4HANA, Suite on HANA, BW on HANA, SAP HANA, SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP Mobile, SAP Fiori, SAP BUILD and SAP Intelligence Business Operation (aka next generation middleware).

Martin Tenk, SAP

Having worked in variety of roles at SAP over the last 17 years in the areas of SAP Technology, Martin has extensive knowledge of a broad range of SAP solutions. For the past 4 years he has led a team of HANA & Data Warehousing experts across the EMEA region. Martin and his team have extensive hands-on knowledge and specialize in explaining all aspects of the HANA innovation platform.

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