Enterprise Resource Management


The two terms S/4 HANA and HANA™ are similar. Yet they describe two completely different things. HANA™ is a database. It is based on a new, column-oriented technology. A large part of the data is held directly in the main memory, which means that queries and evaluations can be performed many times faster than is the case with a classic relational database such as DB2, MaxDB or MS-SQL.

But HANA™ can do even more

By combining column orientation with efficient optimization algorithms, the SAP in-memory database HANA™ becomes a real-time database that makes it possible to run both transactional and analytical processes on the same platform. You can thus run classic transactions in the ERP area – with significantly less runtime – and run analysis on the same database that could otherwise only have been run on a separate SAP BW system.

This new database also forms the basis of the new SAP release S/4 HANA. The name combines three components: S stands for “Simple”, the number 4 stands for SAP’s new release (currently the R/3 system is ECC 6.0). And the word HANA makes it clear that the new release is based on the SAP HANA database. Existing databases must consequently be migrated when switching to S/4 HANA. Since 2015, SAP has been in the process of gradually renewing all applications and industry solutions in the existing ECC 6.0 system and porting them to the S/4 HANA release.

With Greenfield or Brownfield to S/4HANA

Even if the time pressure to switch to S/4 has been somewhat relieved: SAP’s course still remains the same. But many questions arise about the changeover.

The top 5 questions from our customers
and our answers:

SAP has now postponed the discontinuation of the existing ECC system from the original end of 2020 to 2027. With “extended” (i.e., higher) maintenance, use is even possible until the end of 2030. A changeover should therefore take place by the end of 2027 if possible, although it should be noted that at the end of such a period, external consultant capacities may of course also become tight.

So sit back and wait? Not necessarily …

At the beginning of a planned changeover, the question of the concrete benefits naturally always arises. In an initial project phase, it helps to roughly analyze the customer’s own coding and processes and to determine individual potential from this. For the analysis, various SAP standard tools can be used in the first step, which also provide an industry benchmark. The setup, analysis as well as the processing of the results regarding the SAP tools are included in a flat-rate consulting package of 5 T€.

This initial analysis phase also results in a tendency toward a project approach: One of the main criteria here is the simple transfer of processes from the old system (tendency toward system relocation – brownfield) or the use of (as many) standard processes as possible (tendency toward new setup – greenfield). However, the greenfield approach may also require changes in the corporate structure and working methods.

The consulting costs depend on the project approach:

  • A purely technical system migration is less expensive, but does not leverage the potential of the new system. In this case, less external effort is to be expected.
  • A rebuild of the system is a complete implementation project in which all processes are also re-examined. The goal is to return to the use of standard SAP processes. A slightly higher external effort can be expected when implementing the usual modules with an approach such as using SAP Best Practices or the SAP Model Company.

The hardware or cloud resources require significantly more performance for the use of S/4HANA. An increase in costs is to be expected here. The fact that S/4HANA only runs on Linux servers must also be taken into account in terms of support (especially for internal resources).
The conversion costs for SAP licenses are calculated individually. Depending on the user types required (the user model is significantly simplified for S/4HANA), license costs may be lower. Customers who previously used a non-SAP database also benefit from the lower maintenance percentages of the HANA database. We would be happy to calculate your license costs together with you.

  • A purely technical system migration is IT-driven. Here, technical and IT factors are the key to the changeover.
  • When the system is rebuilt and standard processes are increasingly used, change management is particularly important in addition to technical skills: employees and organizational changes must be planned and supported. Ultimately, however, the employees benefited from the leaner processes and simplified interfaces after going live.

Enterprise Resource Management

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