What is S/4HANA and how is it different from the other HANA products/platforms and business suites?

What is S4HANA and how is it different from other products/platforms and business suites
HANA, S4 HANA, and HANA Cloud Platform. Sometimes I feel SAP is playing a game with HANA as the base word. Just to be clear, I am talking about S4 HANA, the new SAP business suite. It runs on SAP HANA, the new in-memory database. S4 HANA is the ideal business suite which when used right will be the catalyst for digital transformation by providing a high-speed environment for supporting the future digital economy. Currently, there are three versions of HANA enabled business suites running in the world.

Types of HANA Enabled Business Suites

SAP Business Suite on Hana ( SoH )

This is the standard SAP ECC 6 running on top of the HANA database. Here only the database has changed. Nothing else. This change allows for much faster analytics and transaction processing times. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. End customers can control the level of disruption by controlling the number of Fiori apps in use, recoding of ABAP to suit the new database, etc. Considering that SAP is moving ECC suites running on non-HANA database to maintenance mode in 2019, most customers are moving to SoH as a stop-gap measure before moving to S/4HANA.

S/4HANA Finance

In this suite, you will get SoH with an SAP Simple Finance add-on. Here, the finance module is optimized for S/4HANA. All the other modules will be running on ECC.

S/4HANA Enterprise Management

This is one of the most exciting changes to happen in the ERP world in the last 10 years. The entire ERP suite’s processes and data models are simplified to enable faster transactions. Also, from an innovation perspective, this will be the only product which SAP will be investing in the future.

But, why is SAP doing this? Why is SAP going for a radical transition instead of the gradual evolution it is famous for?

SAP is going for this revolution so that it can be more flexible. Something it has been accused of not being since it’s existence.

Flexibility Factors of S/4HANA


SAP is now a cloud-first enterprise software company. SAP has a collection of well-developed LoB cloud solutions such as Ariba and SuccessFactors. The S/4HANA Public Cloud allows SAP to provide a complete ERP suite over the cloud. In addition, S/4HANA also enables Managed Cloud services using S/4HANA and HANA Enterprise Cloud.

User Experience

The SAP GUI has got a lot of complaints regarding the user interface during the last 10 years. FIORI 2 is SAP’s answer to the millennials clamor for a better UI.


Embedded real-time analytics allow users to make decisions on the fly. This is made possible by the combination of Fiori user interface and HANA.

Benefits of S/4HANA

  • Integration of data from multiple sources
  • Speed of deployment
  • Speed to value
  • Flexibility to meet changing business needs
  • Embedded analytics

To understand the various business benefits of S/4HANA, you can go through the content at this link.


Regardless of the SAP HANA suite implementation, you decide you go with, you will have to perform a few key activities:

  1. Understand the difference between SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA
  2. Perform a S/4HANA cost-benefit analysis
  3. Define an SAP HANA adoption strategy
  4. Prepare for the S/4HANA implementation


If you would like a free assessment or consultation to check the requirements and benefits of an S/4HANA implementation for your organization, please provide your contact details at this link and we will get back to you immediately.

Alphonse Raj David

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