AP’s latest generation of the ERP, S4/HANA – a SaaS model that promises to run on Hana and “on the fly” by removing satellite systems – is a bold move that changes the core system of firms will operate. It is the the next-generation business suite designed to help the customer run simple in the digital economy.

Announcing the launch at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in February, 2015, the co -founder of SAP, Hasso Plattner described how S/4Hana would eliminate 40 percent of the SAP IT load, which comes with the data exchange between systems like CRM and ERP, by running applications on one system. A centralised, streamlined business suite would be hugely beneficial for firms which are encountering a huge number of transactions as online sales and the ‘Internet of Things’ takes off, he added.

Analyst house Pierre Audoin Consultants said: “While the SAP landscape has become more and more complex due to the various new components the vendor has added over time, it is SAP’s intention to reduce this complexity with S/4 HANA.

This new suite is built on SAP HANA, SAP’S advanced in-memory platform, and offers a personalized user experience with SAP Fiori. Written natively for the SAP HANA platform, SAP S/4HANA is an entirely new generation of SAP Business Suite that is characterized by simplifications, massively increased efficiency, and compelling features such as planning and simulation options in many conventional transactions.

SAP S/4HANA signals a move away from the transactional system that merely records data toward giving end users active decision support in real time that is based on data from both internal and external sources.

Another new migration effort?
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Although this is a new product, customers will be able to migrate to this fantastic new foundation in a non-disruptive manner; in fact, as design goal SAP elected to make migrations to SAP S/4HANA as non-intrusive as possible.

75% of customers that have migrated their existing SAP Business Suite on HANA as the first major step in moving to SAP S/4HANA have done so within six months. That’s a very good result for a migration to a new platform.

Moving to SAP S/4HANA for a typical existing SAP ERP 6.0 customer will require a database migration from any database to SAP HANA, combined with a move to the latest enhancement package and the deployment of the exchange innovation, meaning the current code is replaced by the new one. Moving to SAP S/4HANA for an existing SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA will be even faster as only the deployment of the exchange innovation is required where current code is replaced with the new one.

Some large enterprises are opting for greenfield projects – seeing the technological innovations as an opportunity to completely rebuild their ERP landscapes from the ground up. Brownfield projects are also an option: In this approach, the customer leaves its IT landscape intact but adopts the new technology to enrich and enhance it. Greenfield and brownfield projects naturally take longer – sometimes even several years. And migrating to SAP S/4HANA is only one part of such a project.

More investment?! Well, how much?
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SAP S/4HANA is a new product so it is not free of charge for SAP Business Suite users. Customers who have licensed the SAP HANA platform for SAP Business Suite – that’s currently more than 2,000 – are eligible to upgrade to SAP S/4HANA licenses at no charge. Now, isn’t that interesting?

Value Proposition! Does my business really need another new system?
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Enterprises of all sizes, in all industries are grappling with the new technology trends such as the Cloud, big data and the IoT that are shaping the face of business. So how will SAP S/4HANA help a business remain competitive?

The best example is SAP Simple Finance which marks the first step in the roadmap of SAP S/4HANA. One of the best proof points is SAP’s own move to Simple Finance which took only 51 days in spite of the same level of complexity faced by most of SAP’s customers. Simple Finance helps drive massive IT simplification with an architecture that removes replications and aggregates and ensures there are no redundancies. It provides one common view of all information across finance to ensure enterprise-wide consistency, and combines prediction, simulation and analysis to identify the best strategic business options. Whereas traditionally an enterprise may require about 15 days to close a quarter, with Simple Finance it can be done in nine or less, creating plenty of time for simulations and predictive exercises which in turn completely changes the way business is done.

Optimized supply chain processes such sales, manufacturing and inventory management are all key elements within the IoT, and collaboration between businesses and their suppliers are at the core of a networked economy. SAP S/4HANA is natively connected to the internet of things and business networks for real-time collaboration (machine-to-machine, Ariba Network, Concur Network), and it is natively engineered for providing choice of deployment either on cloud, on premise, or in a hybrid model.

In an increasingly complex world, SAP S/4HANA is the great simplifier and the best technology for the vision of a perfect enterprise.

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