Ask Approyo - What is the fundamental difference between the SAP Business Suite and SAP S/4HANA

November 20, 2017

SAP S/4HANA is the semantic evolution of the classic SAP Business Suite. With SAP S/4HANA, SAP has developed a new product that leverages basic data structures and elements of SAP Business Suite for  maximum  compatibility, nondisruptive  conversions,  and  hybrid  scenarios.  However,  SAP  S/4HANA provides new business functionality on top of these data structures, natively built on and optimized for the SAP HANA platform and designed with the SAP Fiori UX principles.


What is the fundamental difference between the SAP Business Suite code line and the new SAP S/4HANA product code line?


The development approach of SAP S/4HANA is to enable customers for the digital economy and deliver a  new  architecture,  designed  for  real-time,  Live Business.  The  SAP  applications  built  on  SAP  HANA  benefit from this market-leading in-memory computing technology.


The  SAP  HANA  in-memory  database stores  data  in  rows  and  columns.  It is  this  combination  of  both  storage approaches that produces the speed, flexibility, and performance of the SAP HANA database. SAP S/4HANA combines standard SAP ERP functionality and industry features in one modern software stack including required data model adoptions such as the field length extension of material number and amount fields to support modern business process requirements.


The  SAP  HANA  database  technology  also  allows  for  the  elimination  of all artifacts  that  have  been  introduced  as  performance  workarounds  for classical  row-based  RDBMS.  These  are  aggregates  and  programmed indexes that contained no semantic value and provided only fast access to sums and data.


These workarounds created interconnections in the application and complexity in how to lock the system to avoid conflicting updates to the aggregates. With SAP  S/4HANA,  these  different  types  of  workarounds,  based  on  technical limitations  of  traditional  databases, are not necessary.


How long will SAP support SAP Business Suite on any database?


SAP  remains  committed  to  protecting SAP Business Suite Customers  investments, including  extending  the  maintenance commitment until at least 2025.  SAP will  also  continue  to  deliver  innovations  without  disruption  (through  enhancement  packages, for example) to customers using SAP Business Suite on any database and on SAP HANA.


However, transformational business and IT simplifications require a transformational platform and this is why SAP S/4HANA runs only on SAP HANA. It is the logical next step for SAP customers.

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