SAP HANA is providing a fast in-memory database, which enables decision makers to analyze their data faster and to decrease the time to take decisions and react to new trends. Based on the HANA platform, SAP has released S/4 HANA in 2015, which is SAP’s next generation business suite. The goal is to provide a personalized and simpler user experience and to simplify the business processes.
What are the benefits of implementing SAP S/4 HANA?
SAP S/4 HANA is combining all modules in one system. A separate Business Warehouse becomes obsolete, since the HANA in-memory technology has the performance to conduct complex reports and ad-hoc analytics directly in the system. Furthermore, SAP introduced Fiori Apps, which improve the user experience through a personalized layout, the ability to work on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones and ultimately a reduction of total cost of ownership.
What are the deployment models of S/4 HANA?
Depending on the specific requirements S/4 HANA can be deployed on-premise (traditional licensing with customer control of deployment and maintenance), as a hybrid solution (a combination of on-premise and cloud capabilities to meet specific, modular needs) or in the cloud (subscription licensing with deployment in the private cloud, maintained by SAP). The advantage of an on-premise deployment is the full control over the system and all data is stored internally, whilst with a cloud deployment the costs are clearly predictable and no new infrastructure or software licenses are required. From an investment perspective the on-premise solution, with servers, software licenses etc., can be activated (CAPEX), whereas the cloud solution is handled as an operational expense (OPEX).
What are the risks of implementing S/4 HANA?
Being an early adopter always brings the risk of implementing a premature solution, which is not stable enough or lacks in terms of compatibility with other established applications. Furthermore, the new architecture does not support all available features from previous SAP versions. These include, for example, in the Simple Finance Add-on Joint Venture Accounting (JVA) and Lease Accounting (LAE).
When is the right time to move to S/4 HANA?
It depends… Looking at the latest developments on the market it is worthwhile assessing the status quo and evaluating the different options. Now is the time to start thinking about the roadmap towards a more flexible and simple future. By starting to think about the roadmap in an early stage, future efforts and investments in projects and/or upgrades can be assessed more easily leading to a more cost efficient approach to ERP.
The trend is clear and sooner or later SAP customers will be forced to move towards S/4 HANA. It is always better to think about a roadmap on how to adopt to the new opportunities ahead instead of falling behind the competition and losing initiative.