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What Is SAP S/4HANA: A Primer

Lorenzo Squellati is a Senior Sales Director for the SAP Line of Business at Velocity and has over 15 years of experience in the SAP ecosystem.  As part of Velocity’s SAP Line of Business team, Lorenzo Squellati is responsible for new customer sales of SAP solutions. He can be reached at

SAP S/4HANA: A Primer

SAP S/4HANA is SAP’s real-time ERP suite for digital business. It leverages SAP’s advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA, and offers optimized business processes, performance and end-user experience with SAP Fiori. SAP S/4HANA can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud for companies of all sizes and industries. The goal of this short blog is to shed a little light on what SAP S/4HANA is and the potential impact it may have on your business if you are running SAP today or considering SAP in the future.

What is SAP S/4HANA?

SAP S/4HANA is an abbreviation of SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA. Its name implies that it is the fourth version of SAP Business Suite, but it differs from its predecessors because it is designed to run on SAP HANA.  SAP S/4HANA was designed to be simpler to use and easier to administer while helping users resolve more complex problems and process larger amounts of data than earlier SAP ERP and R/3 releases.

SAP S/4HANA is a big departure compared to the previous version.

  • The ‘S’ stands for simple.   The goal of this software release is to dramatically simplify the business processes of organizations.  

  • The ‘4’ indicates the fourth generation of SAP software.  

This next generation of SAP applications achieves the following:

  • Takes the code base and dramatically reduces the amount of compute and transactions required to support the same business processes as previously supported by R/3.  

  • Takes advantage of a new and improved user interface via SAP Fiori. 

  • Runs massively parallel providing 50 times the throughput of SAP R/3.

What Is New With SAP S/4HANA?

SAP S/4HANA was a massive undertaking, requiring an overhaul of the database concept and the revision of hundreds of millions of lines of code. Simplicity and usability were the driving factors behind SAP S/4HANA, along with more flexibility for developers. Other intended benefits of SAP S/4HANA include:

  • Business Process Optimization allowing customers to take advantage of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the latest analytics.

  • Business Process Modernization which is a major selling point because of the underlying SAP HANA platform that not only allows for the simplification of business processes, but also the ability to process analytics in real-time.

To summarize, SAP S/4HANA further builds upon the business value of in-memory database performance with a simpler, faster, and more efficient application code base.

What Are the Benefits of SAP S/4HANA?

Clients who choose to either undergo an SAP S/4HANA migration or an SAP S/4HANA implementation can hope to achieve some of the following benefits:

  • Clients who choose to either undergo an SAP S/4HANA migration, or an SAP S/4HANA implementation, can hope to achieve:

  • Reduced hardware due to data compression, which is offered by the SAP S/4HANA application suite.

  • Lower software costs through a reduction and elimination of many software products such as ETL, data replication, management, and other middleware software.

  • Faster development time through automation and minimized complexity.

  • Increased productivity for users through a simplified user interface and for administrators through the simplification of the environment with the SAP HANA platform.

Summary of Expected SAP S/4HANA Migration

With the lure of the potential benefits listed above, companies are already beginning explore the business case of making a transition to this latest release from SAP. The option of running SAP S/4HANA on-premise or in the cloud gives customers the flexibility of choosing a model that best matches their IT strategy and business needs. In order to prepare for SAP S/4HANA, companies may wish to employ a certified SAP hosting provider or an SAP consulting  firm to assist them with a landscape assessment that objectively evaluates their readiness for upgrade, as well as the best deployment path and model to meet their needs.

To learn more about migrating or implementing SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA, check out our guide: Chart Your Route to SAP HANA.

Guide Highlights:

  • Build a business case for SAP HANA

  • Learn about SAP HANA migration and deployment options

  • Answers to the most frequently asked questions for SAP HANA

  • 5 steps to ensure a successful SAP HANA deployment

Get Answers To The Following Frequently Asked SAP HANA Questions:

  • "Is SAP HANA a database, platform or cloud?"

  • "Do I have to rewrite existing ABAP custom applications in SAP HANA?"

  • "Does SAP HANA only work for companies with SAP BW or SAP ERP?"

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