There are a lot of questions around SAP and more specifically, SAP on HANA. It is particularly topical at the moment as SAP’s ERP software is reaching end of support at the end of 2027. SAP will continue to offer support for its ERP software until this clock runs out. But then support will cease, and those businesses that want support from SAP will need to migrate to SAP’s flagship ERP software, S/4HANA.

Described by SAP as its “biggest launch in 23 years, possibly ever”, this new ERP suite will run exclusively on SAP’s own database, HANA. Previously, SAP’s software worked with a number of databases, including Oracle, but businesses migrating to the new system will also need to migrate their entire database.

2027 may seem a long way off but migrating to SAP HANA requires considerable changes to not only your hardware, but also the way your databases are configured. So, for those affected organisations, the clock is well and truly ticking.

In light of this, we have put together some of the most common questions that people have around SAP, HANA and S/4 HANA. If you have any further questions around SAP HANA, please don’t hesitate to contact Advent One.

1. What does S/4 HANA stand for?

SAP S/4HANA stands for SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA, meaning that it is the fourth version of SAP Business Suite, but is designed to run only on SAP HANA. This means that business users can get insight on data from anywhere in real time for planning, execution, prediction and simulation, according to SAP.

2. What is S/4 HANA? SAP describes S/4HANA as an intelligent (Enterprise Resource Planning) ERP suite of tools created specifically for in-memory computing. Like Business Suite on HANA, SAP S/4HANA runs in memory, but adds Data Model Simplification. SAP is also moving S/4HANA closer to real-time insights and business context while simultaneously freeing resources from repetitive tasks with each new release.

3. How does S/4 HANA differ from suite on HANA?

Suite on Hana referred to as Hana Business Suite is the base platform. Business Suite runs on the HANA platform and offers tools for most business functions. S/4HANA is where you need to be by 2027. Let’s take a look at the additional features that SAP added to S/4HANA. SAP S/4HANA delivers massive simplifications (customer adoption, data model, user experience, decision making, business processes and models) and innovations (Internet of Things, Big Data, business networks, and mobile-first) to help businesses Run Simple in the digital economy. Through its approach to building S/4HANA, SAP is re-architecting its solution for modern business processes that the ever-increasing digitization of the world demands. Re-architecting a solution that has been growing over the past 25 years and has, at points, evolved into different data structures and architectures means that SAP has to decide on one data structure and architecture as they move forward. This is the only way that SAP can prepare the solution for increased simplicity and faster innovation cycles.

4. What is the business value of SAP S/4 HANA?

SAP S/4 HANA has been written natively for the SAP HANA platforms. It represents a new generation of SAP Business Suite that is characterised by simplifications, massively increased efficiency and compelling features such as planning and simulation options in many conventional transactions.

5. Why did SAP release S/4 HANA?

Cost: It’s cheaper to run one product, and the end-of-support deadline cuts costs of supporting legacy products (whether SAP’s customers will receive any benefit from this remains to be seen). Innovation: S/4HANA allows SAP to dedicate its resources to one core element. Theoretically, this is its chance to make one thing really well.

Independence: Some of SAP’s existing customers still host their SAP applications on Oracle or Microsoft databases, which means that part of SAP’s revenue is going to the hosts. S/4HANA will change that, as it will necessitate migrating to an SAP database, therefore increasing SAP’s income and stopping revenue streams to its competitors.

6. What are the benefits?

SAP S/4HANA will simplify your IT landscape and reduce cost of ownership (TCO), through:

– Reducing your data footprint.

– Working with larger data sets in one system saving hardware costs, operational costs, and time.

– Choice of deployment: cloud, on premise, or hybrid to drive quick time-to-value

7. How long does an SAP S/4 HANA implementation generally take? The real answer is, it depends. Most migrations can take between 6-9 months. However, recently Advent One migrated our customers to S/4 HANA within 6 weeks which was an outstanding result.

8. What are the requirements for moving to SAP S/4 HANA? The initial path is to move to SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA and then to implement packages that contain the simplifications.

If you have any further questions around SAP or S/4 HANA, please reach out to our team of experts. We have extensive experience migration workloads to S/4 HANA and like to work with our customers ahead of End of Support deadlines to ensure the best outcome.