What is SAP S/4HANA?

SAP S/4HANA is the fourth ERP suite developed by SAP and it is designed for planning, text processing, business analytics, and real-time applications. Conceptually, SAP sees its HANA in-memory database as valuable beyond just data storage. This powerful data home connects to customizable SAP software that can extract data in real-time for more accurate benchmarking, analysis, reporting, and project planning. It is important to understand SAP on HANA as the foundation for which SAP Business Suite applications are based. SAP S/4HANA is available in two editions: On-premise and Cloud.


On-Premise is an ERP Business suite based on the SAP HANA in-memory database. It is an internal platform that runs from the user company’s servers. Companies employ their own IT team to perform SAP software deployment, maintenance, and upgrading tasks. Software upgrades are provided on an annual basis and must be installed by the customer. On-premise provides a full range of functions and is ideal for large companies requiring highly customized monitoring applications for every aspect of their operation (internal and external), including Financing, Accounting, Human Resources, Materials Management, Supply Chain, Sales, and delivery. The database, applications, and networking features are completely customer-operated with SAP S/4HANA on-premise; creating the greatest amount of work opportunities for experienced SAP S/4HANA users within a single company.


SAP S/4HANA Cloud is the Software as a Service (SaaS) version of S/4HANA, with the database running on SAP servers. SAP also provides maintenance and software upgrade services. The Cloud edition’s more standardized solutions offer faster deployment and easier operability for businesses interested in a more limited, readymade set of business applications. Opportunity-wise, companies that use SAP S/4HANA Cloud rely on skilled end-users who can navigate program interfaces and features; creating a path for skilled users to work independently and for multiple companies. Learn more about the evolution of SAP from ECC6 to S/4HANA version 1909.

Key Benefits of SAP S/4HANA

SAP S/4HANA brings simplicity, performance, innovation, usability, and flexibility to data-driven business management.
SAP ERP central component is on-premise enterprise resource planning which integrates digital information data from one area of business to other areas in real-time. For example, sales and purchasing data can be seen side-by-side with business planning models in SAP BPC (Business Planning and Consolidation), rather than through the manual transfer of data between disparate programs.
Additionally, SAP S/4HANA reduces data footprints by eliminating data storage redundancies — essential for Big Data management (Studies predict an estimated 75 billion Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices in the world by 2025.)
Finally, SAP S/4HANA flexible design invites future software to be integrated directly with the ERP system as quickly as new analytical models can be created.
The clearest example of SAP S/4HANA simplicity is its extensive, specifically targeted, and easy-to-use ERP modules.
Commonly Used SAP ERP Modules Included in SAP S/4HANA
SAP S/4 HANA modules are individual components of S/4 HANA implementation and each module specifies the functionality for business purposes.
• Plant Maintenance (PM)
• Human Capital Management (HCM)
• Production Planning (PP)
• Project Systems (PS)
• Finance (FI)
• Controlling (CO)
• Sales and Distribution (SD)
• Investment Management (IM)
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
• Supply Chain Management (SCM)
• Customer Service (CS)
• Materials Management (MM)
• Enterprise Performance Management (EPM)
• Human Resources

Of particular note: SAP improved Finance, previously known as Simple Finance, has found widespread use among major businesses because of its real-time integration with both the HANA database and neighboring SAP software.

Which Industries Benefit from SAP S/4HANA?

Businesses from various industries can benefit from a more efficient ERP process because SAP S/4HANA supports Lines of Business (LoB) processes common to every company.
SAP S/4HANA supported industries include:
• Manufacturing
• Consumer and industrial product sales
• Engineering and Construction
• Oil and gas
• Insurance
• Banking
• Financial Services
• Transportation and Logistics Firms
• Public services and Utilities
• Retail
The list goes on, and it is to the benefit of a skilled SAP S/4HANA user that they are not restricted to a single industry or service. In fact, the more module training that a professional can obtain, the wider their career options become within a company, industry, and even across multiple industries.

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