In the SAP S/4HANA era, extensions allow companies to add additional functionality to their ERP system without affecting existing system functions. Ideally, there is no longer any need to modify the ERP core. Instead, extensions are connected via appropriate interfaces (APIs). With customer-specific developments, companies combine the goal of increasing the efficiency of existing business processes or establishing new business models. Basically, two different scenarios are available for extensions in SAP S/4HANA: side-by-side extensions and in-app extensions.
SAP customers have always faced the challenge of extending the standard scope of SAP software with individual developments – with solutions that differentiate them from the competition or with adaptations that enable individual processes to be better mapped.The extensions ranged from field extensions to simple ABAP reports that extract data from the business module’s database tables, to the development of huge add-ons to implement completely new processes and services. In the past, the SAP NetWeaver Application Server (AS) was used for this purpose. Customer and partner extensions benefited from existing code and data structures by calling up the classes and functional modules of the business modules or selecting them from database tables of the business modules.
However, this close integration of customer code and SAP modules has significant disadvantages. Every change in the core bears the risk of having a negative impact on customer-specific extensions. System upgrades and updates become an adventure. For companies, updating their systems is both costly and risky.
With SAP S/4HANA at the latest, SAP NetWeaver AS is obsolete. Switching from the current SAP ERP system to SAP S/4HANA inevitably means dealing with the question of how to make functional adaptations and extensions future-proof.
IBsolution supports you in many ways. Our custom code analysis identifies which extensions are available in SAP ECC and which functionalities are still needed in SAP S/4HANA. Subsequently we take care of the development of the side-by-side extensions on SAP Coud Platform. With the help of INCEMENDO.data_access you are able to use the outsourced functionalities already in SAP ECC and later also in SAP S/4HANA without having to adapt them again after the system conversion.
Benefit from our comprehensive strategic consulting on SAP Business Technology Platform. Together, we analyze and develop which extension and integration strategy based on SAP Extension Suite and SAP Integration Suite is suitable for your requirements.
The INCEMENDO.data_access add-on provides OData services for SAP ECC to enable communication between the standard ERP and SAP Cloud Platform. Make your customer-specific developments compatible with SAP S/4HANA even before the actual migration.
INCEMENDO.customer_portal seamlessly integrates customer service into your business processes. Where previously basic functions were distributed across many platforms, INCEMENDO.customer_portal bundles everything in one portal. This significantly reduces maintenance and operating costs.
Since side-by-side extensions are developed on SAP Cloud Platform, they are also called cloud extensions. The extensions are technically decoupled from SAP S/4HANA and can be implemented independently of the ERP core. They do not have to be oriented to the ERP system, neither in programming language nor in lifecycle. The extensions are connected to the ERP system via interfaces (APIs). To use side-by-side extensions in conjunction with on-premise systems, SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Connector is also required.
SAP Cloud Platform Extension Suite provides functionality, technical and business services to simplify the development and extension of applications and to help users build cloud extensions. With machine learning, robotic process automation (RPA) or workflow services, sub-processes can be automated and user interfaces (UI) with Fiori components can be made available for mobile use.
In-app extensions are particularly suitable for making simple adjustments. This can be, for example, adding, hiding and moving standard fields for certain user groups or changing the layout of user interfaces. The development of in-app-extensions requires little effort and is inexpensive. However, they offer only limited possibilities for innovation. More comprehensive extensions and the addition of additional functionality cannot be realized with in-app extensions.
SAP S/4HANA offers integrated functions to implement minor changes quickly and easily. The choice of programming languages is severely limited to prevent too comprehensive interventions in the ERP core.
The use of side-by-side extensions for customer-specific developments is in line with the official SAP strategy “Keep the core clean”. The ERP core remains untouched, the extensions and SAP S/4HANA exist side by side, so to speak. In case of a core system upgrade, this means that no custom code update is required. This results in fewer check steps and reduced effort during release upgrades. Conversely, changes in the back end rolled out by SAP have no effect on the functionality of the extensions on SAP Cloud Platform.
Furthermore, with side-by-side extensions you have the certainty that the interfaces to the ERP core and the development environment remain stable. By adding customizations and extensions to SAP Cloud Platform, developers can keep systems up-to-date while delivering innovative functionality.
The system conversion to SAP S/4HANA is a complex project. Outsourcing the relevant customer-specific functionalities that supplement the SAP standard to SAP Cloud Platform can be carried out as an independent sub-project prior to the actual SAP S/4HANA migration, thus reducing the complexity of the overall project. For you, this means a win-win situation: On the one hand, you make your extensions S/4HANA-ready, and on the other hand you can already use the side-by-side extensions in your current SAP ERP system with INCEMENDO.data_access.
In the future, companies will keep the migration path to the SAP S/4HANA cloud open with side-by-side extensions. If you decide to switch from the on-premise to the cloud ERP variant in the future, you will benefit from the fact that you will not need to spend your own resources on software maintenance and updates. SAP takes care of this completely. Preconfigured best practices ensure a shorter time-to-market. In addition, the integration of SAP S/4HANA Cloud with other SAP applications such as SAP Hybris or SAP SuccessFactors has already been realized.
Companies that are about to embark on a journey to SAP S/4HANA have the opportunity to streamline an S/4HANA project by outsourcing custom applications. By moving custom code to side-by-side extensions, the migration and adaptation effort of an S/4HANA migration is massively minimized. The side-by-side extensions can be reused in SAP S/4HANA. Reports are transformed into CDS views and consumed in SAP Analytics Cloud.
Companies that are already on SAP S/4HANA on-premise have the opportunity to follow the SAP strategy by implementing extensions in the form of in-app extensions and side-by-side extensions. The more custom applications are outsourced on SAP Cloud Platform, the closer companies come to the pleasure of implementing release upgrades without great effort. Reports are transformed into CDS views and consumed in SAP Analytics Cloud.
Companies that use SAP S/4HANA Cloud must rely on in-app extensibility and on SAP Cloud Platform. Here, the standard does not provide for core enhancements.
SAP Business Technology Platform is an important technological foundation for companies’ business applications. We support you with comprehensive strategic consulting on SAP Business Technology Platform. Together, we analyze and develop which extension and integration strategies based on SAP Extension Suite and SAP Integration Suite are suitable for you.
Simplify the work of your internal sales force and increase customer satisfaction through central access to all customer-related processes. With INCEMENDO.customer_portal we can implement your requirements in the shortest possible time and realize the integration into your existing SAP infrastructure.
The INCEMENDO.data_access add-on provides OData services for SAP ECC to enable communication between the standard ERP and SAP Cloud Platform. By emulating S/4HANA interfaces and services, INCEMENDO.data_access supports SAP S/4HANA conversion. Make your custom developments compatible with SAP S/4HANA even before the actual migration.
What should you pay attention to when switching to SAP S/4HANA? Benefit from more than 15 years of experience in SAP consulting and migrate safely and without risk from SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA.
Companies can already use outsourced functionalities as side-by-side extensions in SAP ECC and later also in SAP S/4HANA without having to adapt them again after the system conversion.
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