SAP S/4HANA is the new intelligent business suite from SAP. The ERP software (ERP = Enterprise Resource Planning) supports all business processes of a company and technologically replaces the previous Enterprise Core Components (ECC) of SAP Business Suite.
The name SAP S/4HANA means SAP Suite for (4) HANA, indicating that the solution runs exclusively on the SAP HANA in-memory database. The 4 stands for the fourth generation of SAP ERP systems. SAP S/4HANA is available both as an on-premise version and in the cloud (private or public cloud).
With SAP S/4HANA and SAP Fiori, SAP delivers modern user interfaces. Fast and intuitive apps enable a better user experience (UX). At the same time, the data model is significantly simplified thanks to the underlying in-memory database, which reduces the amount of storage required and enables significantly faster queries.
SAP S/4HANA includes a number of standardized business processes that companies can use:
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Modern user interfaces with SAP Fiori and improved user experience (UX)
Simplified data model
Easy customization and modernization of business processes
Faster reporting and analysis
Relief for users through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
Real-time analysis even of large amounts of data
Reduced total cost of ownership in terms of deployment, maintenance and number of servers
The in-memory technology of the HANA database brings significant performance improvements. As a result, large volumes of data can be processed in near real time.
SAP Fiori replaces the old SAP GUI user interfaces and offers personalizable and intuitive apps. Notifications and decision support also improve the user experience. Thanks to the role-based concept, users collaborate more efficiently − even on mobile devices.
Reusable services facilitate the integration of artificial intelligence into business processes. Employees have more options for automating tasks and accessing contextual information.
The implementation of SAP S/4HANA is usually a large project. Depending on the size of the company, the roll-out can take several years. Preliminary projects, for example for the introduction of SAP Business Partner, are often necessary and must be completed before the actual migration to SAP S/4HANA. Reaching these milestones and successfully completing the overall project is only possible with the help of far-sighted project management.
The migration to SAP S/4HANA is not only a technical upgrade of the ERP system, but also necessitates a realignment of business processes. The extensive changes that accompany the introduction of SAP S/4HANA must be supported by the entire organization and moderated accordingly. Efficient change management ensures that employees embrace the change and that the full benefits of SAP S/4HANA can be realized.
As with any large IT project, costs play an important role in the implementation of SAP S/4HANA. Here, it is important to evaluate various system implementation alternatives at an early stage in terms of a cost-benefit comparison for the company. In addition to the costs for the introduction itself, the operating and license costs must also be considered in this context.
Quality assurance plays a key role in ensuring that you can make the most of the benefits of SAP S/4HANA and that the implementation brings the improvements you had hoped for. Among other things, this includes extensive testing of the solution to ensure a smooth go-live.
In order to be able to map its business processes holistically, Schluchseewerk AG is switching to SAP S/4HANA. The company from the southern Black Forest has chosen IBsolution as its implementation partner. Within the scope of the cooperation, the Heilbronn-based SAP consulting company not only accompanies the SAP S/4HANA implementation, but also addresses the project management
PROFI Engineering Systems AG, a medium-sized IT solutions company based in Darmstadt, has successfully migrated to SAP S/4HANA. As implementation partner, IBsolution supported the system conversion in a brownfield approach.
In many companies, ERP systems are the central instrument for effectively managing the most important business processes. Because their use extends to a wide range of operational tasks, ERP software also makes a significant contribution to the digitalization of business processes.
Especially companies that use older SAP ERP systems often prefer to continue running SAP S/4HANA on their own servers. The main reason for this is the system landscape that has grown over years or even decades and often includes in-house developments. These cannot be migrated when switching to the cloud. Therefore, companies with such an initial situation often opt for a system conversion (brownfield approach). In contrast to the cloud, the company manages the entire infrastructure and applications itself. This approach is suitable, for example, for large companies with complex business processes.
Unlike the on-premise variant, the company does not operate SAP S/4HANA Cloud entirely itself. The operation and maintenance of the infrastructure are outsourced to a service provider. SAP offers the use of SAP S/4HANA Cloud as a public cloud or as a private cloud.
In the public cloud, SAP S/4HANA is provided as software-as-a-service. Own programming is therefore not possible. The advantages are high scalability and a low TCO, because you only pay for the capacity you actually use. Downtimes for release changes are a thing of the past, while at the same time companies always benefit from the latest innovations such as machine learning and predictive analytics with quarterly release changes.
The private cloud corresponds to the hosting principle, in which the company has its own server at its hyperscaler. The hyperscaler also takes over the maintenance of the server. In contrast to the public cloud, the company can make changes to the code and implement its own modifications. Investments made in the existing SAP system are thus retained. The company benefits from the lower costs in the cloud and can at the same time retain its existing processes and data.
ERP systems grow over the years of their use and become increasingly complex. Therefore, it may make sense to replace the old system with a completely new ERP system. The greenfield approach is often more costly than a system conversion, but it offers the opportunity to question the old processes and, if necessary, to completely rethink them.
During system conversion, the existing SAP ERP system is converted to SAP S/4HANA. Data and settings remain in place, as do the previous processes. One advantage of the brownfield approach is that it usually requires fewer resources for the switch to SAP S/4HANA than a new implementation. However, some preliminary work has to be done to minimize the technical difficulties, for example due to different data models.
The greyfield implementation is a combination of the greenfield and brownfield variants. A new system is set up, but parts of the existing data are migrated if they are still needed. The goal is to simplify the existing ERP landscape by unifying the systems or outsourcing individual business processes.
The introduction of SAP S/4HANA is a complex project because it has an impact on almost all of a company’s business processes. Only with optimized processes can the possibilities of SAP S/4HANA be fully exploited.
The system conversion, often referred to as the brownfield approach, is one of three basic conversion scenarios for migrating to SAP S/4HANA. This involves upgrading an existing ERP system to SAP S/4HANA. The other two variants are the new implementation (greenfield approach) and the landscape transformation.
A joint survey conducted by the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) and the German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) examined their members’ experiences with SAP S/4HANA. It concluded that 70% of DSAG members and 55% of ASUG members implement or plan to implement SAP S/4HANA.
The implementation of SAP Business Partner (Customer Vendor Integration - CVI) is mandatory for the switch to SAP S/4HANA and must take place before the system conversion. With our Harmonization Package for SAP Business Partner you realize the changeover from the classic to the new data model at a fixed price.
Similar to SAP Business Partner, SAP is also making SAP New General Ledger (New GL) a prerequisite for SAP S/4HANA. Compared to the classic general ledger, the New GL offers a number of new functional enhancements. New fields have been added to the data structure and it can be further expanded with customer-specific fields.
The Migration Package for SAP S/4HANA General Ledger helps to introduce the New GL pragmatically and efficiently on the basis of an existing system. After the migration to SAP S/4HANA, there is then only one journal table based on the structure of the New GL.
The architecture and database structure of SAP S/4HANA also affect authorization management. Working with Fiori apps requires changes to roles and the associated authorization objects. In the first step, an authorization check provides information about where exactly your company needs to start in this regard.
For custom developments that are still functionally required, it is worth considering implementing them as a stand-alone service on SAP Business Technology Platform and decoupling them from the SAP S/4HANA migration.
Before you can migrate to SAP S/4HANA, there are a few mandatory tasks to complete. One of these is the introduction of SAP Business Partner as the central master data object for all natural and legal persons with whom a company has a business relationship.
SAP S/4HANA brings with it various new processes and technologies that did not previously exist in this way in SAP ERP. In addition, there are also differences in the authorization concepts between SAP S/4HANA and previous ERP versions from SAP that must be taken into account to ensure smooth user access.
EagleBurgmann is a global technology company for industrial sealing solutions. In order to plan the migration to SAP S/4HANA at all international locations in the long term, EagleBurgmann has drawn up an IT roadmap covering several years. Its first milestone was the introduction of SAP Business Partner.
SAP S/4HANA creates the technological prerequisites for future innovations. Intuitive user interfaces, a significantly simplified data model, real-time enterprise control, and higher performance thanks to in-memory technology are just a few examples of the possibilities SAP S/4HANA offers to help companies stay competitive in the digital age and set themselves apart from the competition. Each new release of SAP S/4HANA includes further innovative functionalities based on state-of-the-art technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Thanks to the high-performance SAP HANA database, real-time analytics in SAP S/4HANA can also be performed in day-to-day operations and displayed in analytical Fiori apps. SAP already delivers ready-to-use standard apps for each business area, so you can start using them right away.
Financing and invoice processing are among the largest cost blocks in finance. SAP Financial Supply Chain Management (FIN-FSCM) targets all financial and information flows within a company and between business partners. The portfolio includes applications for electronic account and invoice display, customer complaint processing, credit management, and cash flow optimization.
As a component of SAP Financial Supply Chain Management (FSCM), SAP Dispute Management is used to process receivables-related dispute cases. If a business partner arbitrarily reduces agreed payments, companies must follow up and clarify the case.
As the latest ERP generation from SAP, SAP S/4HANA brings with it numerous innovations and improvements. What also changes with SAP S/4HANA is the way the system can be extended and tailored to individual user requirements.
The 2021 release of SAP S/4HANA on-premise offers a range of new functionalities that enable companies to benefit from the latest SAP innovations.
Efficient credit management reduces the risk of payment defaults and thus makes a positive contribution to the operating result. SAP Credit Management in SAP S/4HANA supports companies in structuring and optimizing credit management processes.
The classic SAP GUI transaction VA01 is transitioning to an SAP Fiori app for intuitive user experience with SAP S/4HANA Release 2021. It simplifies the daily work of sales employees and presents all important information on a single screen – including easy navigation and optimized visualization.
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