SAP S4HANA for Intelligent Enterprise and Digital Supply Chain
SAP S/4HANA is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution for substantial enterprises. It represents an innovative improvement over using the previous versions of SAP R/3 with SAP ERP because of the optimization of SAP S/4 for use with SAP HANA. SAP HANA is an in-memory database that improves the ability of large companies to process transactions and analyze informational databases in real-time.
S/4HANA offers the following improvements:
- It is easier to administer and use than SAP ERP.
- It can be used to conduct a more complex analysis.
- It handles a much greater amount of data than SAP ERP.
- It is available in three versions, which are 1) on-premises; 2) hybrid on-premises with cloud support, and 3) the preferred solution, which is a cloud service, S/4HANA Cloud.
Previously, SAP ERP ran as the front-end with HANA as the in-memory back-end database. With S/4HANA the ERP program is written in HANA rather than running on top of it. This creates a vast improvement in real-time process efficiency.
Dynamic enterprise transformation is possible using SAP consulting services to implement SAP enterprise solutions that include the newest SAP S4 and S4/HANA application management services. SAP transformation is best enabled by using S/4HANA cloud services.
S/4HANA does not need to use batch processing. Instead, the processing and analysis of database information happen in real-time. Users get real-time information to use for predictive simulations, resource planning, execution of business strategies, operational monitoring, and data analysis. Data is available at any time from anywhere in the enterprise systems.
New User-Friendly Interface
S/4HANA uses an improved SAP Fiori user interface instead of the old SAP GUI. The Fiori interface is user-friendly. It has a tiled design that displays well on any device, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
S/4HANA uses a modular design that includes solutions for finance, operations, and supply chain management. Here are some popular modules:
- SAP Finance: This module is usually the first choice by enterprises for S/4HANA migration. It allows enterprises to align non-financial data with financial information.
- Materials Management and Operations: This is a logistics module.
- Advanced Available-to-Promise: This is part of the supply chain management solution.
- Inventory Management: This is another part of the supply chain management solution.
- Material Requirements Planning: This is part of the supply chain management solution.
- Extended Warehouse Management: This is part of the supply chain management solution.
- Environment, Health, and Safety: This is an operational management solution.
- Human Capital Management: This is an on-premises separate application that integrates with S/4HANA.
SAP continues to develop new modules that integrate with HANA.
SAP S/4HANA Implementation
SAP S/4HANA implementation can be achieved using an on-premises version or cloud services. There is the ability to run a two-tiered ERP solution by using an on-premises version as the headquarters business suite and then running a S/4HANA Cloud version for divisions or subsidiaries.
SAP S/4HANA Migration
SAP S/4HANA migration is required for any enterprises that currently use the SAP ERP business suite. SAP announced that it will stop supporting SAP ERP in 2025. There is plenty of time to migrate to the new platform that allows enterprises to move forward at a reasonable pace.
Most enterprises are moving quickly to migrate to S/4HANA because of the significant benefits of being able to have insights from the real-time analysis of business information that helps with better decision-making. Users appreciate the Fiori interface, which makes the system easy to utilize from any device.
SAP continues to create more modules that run on HANA for improved ERP that is integrated with CRM. There are also EWM solutions and transportation management modules.
One powerful extension available in HANA is the SAP Leonardo module that is the newest innovation for use with the IoT, data mining of Big Data, and blockchain technology. Continued SAP innovations will only be available on SAP S/4HANA and released first on the S/4HANA Cloud.
Steps to Follow for SAP S/4HANA Migration
SAP S/4HANA migration is a three-step process, which includes 1) assessment; 2) parallel optimization, and; 3) business transformation.
Step One — Assessment
The first step for a S/4HANA migration is to make a full assessment before migration. This assessment identifies challenges for the migration process and sets up a timeline for migration. Migrating to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud is the preferred migration pathway because this reduces installation issues that may cause problems with on-premises systems.
Step Two — Parallel Optimization
The best practices for migration are to copy the current SAP ERP system to a temporary SAP S/4HANA version operating on the cloud and then run the two systems in parallel. This low-risk migration approach allows the new S/4 HANA system to be optimized for the business operations in a test environment before retiring the old SAP ERP system.
Step Three — Business Transformation
After the initial migration to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud is successful, then the innovative modules can be deployed to use the new capabilities for enterprise transformation. Embracing these capabilities allows enterprises to create innovative, value-added solutions that are now becoming possible.
The S/4HANA Cloud is the preferred solution. The S/4HANA Cloud offers next-generation applications that use machine learning and artificial intelligence through a software tool called SAP Clea. There is also a digital assistant AI chatbot called CoPilot.
Using the S/4HANA Cloud is a SaaS service that is automatically updated to the newest versions of all software releases. Many enterprises prefer to migrate completely to the cloud service and thereafter no longer need to maintain an on-premises version.
Many significant advantages of the S/4HANA ERP solution come from embedded analytics. There are prebuilt data models available and virtual data models may be constructed.
The reports that come from the SAP HANA Core Data Services create useful analysis capabilities without requiring that the enterprise maintain a data warehouse. These analytics are part of the S/4HANA software and do not require any extra installation or licenses fees.
Migrating to S/4HANA is a necessity for all SAP ERP enterprise systems. This migration must be accomplished before 2025. Most enterprises are already working on the migration because of the usefulness of this SAP innovation. Brand-new implementations should be made using the SAP S/4HANA Cloud service.
Many advantages come from migrating to the new SAP HANA system. The preferred migration path is to move everything to the SAP S/4HANA Cloud. The biggest advantage of HANA embedded analytics is the ability to conduct real-time analysis. This is a huge improvement over the batch processing of historical data.
The modular design allows a migration path that is additive in a step-by-step process. Most enterprises start with the finance module and then add more modules as they desire. The newest modules for this system are ground-breaking in areas that include IoT support and blockchain technology.
Migration is best accomplished by running parallel systems with a copy of the existing data ported to the S/4HANA Cloud service. The new system gets up and running properly and the results are checked against the older system that continues to run temporarily.
At the appropriate moment, the transfer to the new system is complete and the old system can be retired. This risk-free approach allows the transition and upgrades to occur seamlessly without business interruption.
Enterprises can use the expertise of professional SAP consulting services to implement these new SAP enterprise solutions. These consultants have plenty of experience in S/4HANA that ensures successful migration and implementation.