Tuesday, February 3, 2015

What is SAP S/4HANA

Today SAP announced during event hold at New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) venue a successor of their ERP flag ship product. I followed the event online and within this blog post I want to grab interesting facts about it. It is SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA or shortly as SAP S/4HANA or referred as SAP S4HANA. S stands for “simple”, 4 stands for 4th generation and HANA stands for in-memory platform that can run entire company – a quote from Bill McDermott.

R/2 (1979) -> R/3 (1992) -> ERP (2004) -> S/4HANA (2015)

(Both pictures taken from twitter feeds)

Most interesting part of the event was conducted by Hasso Plattner. He explained like he was lecturing 10 years ago students at University of Potsdam about enterprise software (EnSw). As there was not much development in the EnSw area he wanted to create something new. Together with students they started by sketching of how new future EnSW should look like. They captured few rules like almost zero response time, simple DB model, less effort dedicated to maintenance of such a system, web/mobile like UI/UX etc. The research led to creation of new DB – in-memory, columnar store oriented and capable of processing both type applications (transactional and analytic) database. After two years of such a university research Hasso approached SAP and ask to develop such a DB. SAP started with some components like TREX (search engine), P*TIME (in-memory OLTP database), maxDB (in-memory liveCache engine). HANA was introduced to market first as database (approx. Nov 2010) later as whole platform (2011). Later SAP solutions like BW (BoH) and ERP started to be supported on HANA as on DB and even later SAP started to optimize these for HANA (SuiteOnHANA). Last year a first new part of ERP got optimized for HANA it was SFIN (Smart Financials), later renamed Simple Finance. In that one the FI module’s database module was rewritten just with few tables, removing all aggregates and indices. Today SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA was introduced where more ERP applications (old terminology would be SAP modules) were rewritten in order to be optimized for HANA. Here are its main features.

·        Reduced DB footprint – 1/10 because of simplified data model
·        3-7 higher throughput
·        Up to 1800x faster analytics
·        4x less processing steps
·        No locking, no updates, parallelism for throughput
·        Multitenancy
·        Unlimited workload capacity
·      Capable of running all kinds of the systems (ERP, BW, CRM, SCM, PLM) in one system – will be available as phased availability
·        Fiori UI – responsive for any device
·        Capable of processing all type of data: text, social, geographic, graph processing
·         Deployments possible as (public/managed) cloud, on-premise
·        Guided configuration – reinvented implementation guide (IMG)
·        No anyDB approach any more, it only runs on HANA DB

In short: S/4HANA is Business Suite designed to run on HANA with Fiori UI with focus on simplicity.

There are many questions opened on how the new S/4HANA will affect current SAP customers running e.g. ERP. It is for sure that SAP will support their software running on any DB from long term perspective. On other hand it is obvious that new features and innovations of their solutions will be delivered only for solutions running on HANA.

More information:

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