SAP S/4 HANA is an ERP business suite based on the SAP HANA in-memory database that allows companies to perform transactions and analyse business data in real-time. SAP S/4 HANA is short for SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA, meaning that it is the fourth version of SAP Business Suite, but is designed to run only on SAP HANA. It is an in-memory database designed to dramatically accelerate SAP applications and the business processes they support. It is the go-forward foundation for running SAP Business Suite.
SAP S/4 HANA is the simplification and redesign of the ERP modules to provide new business value as in:
New Implementation. The greenfield approach requires a new implementation of SAP S/4 HANA. This can be a tiresome and time-consuming project, especially on the change management side, since everything has to be started from scratch. The upside to this path is that the business processes can be redefined and simplified and full advantage of S/4 HANA capabilities can be taken. This does not guarantee that the new implemented system will actually work on the operational side, but there will be time for adjustment. Going through this re-implementation route can be unnerving because there will be radical changes in the way the system is operated. So, to go down this road, the whole process may be re-engineered.
With all the repercussions of the greenfield approach, there is an alternative way: the brownfield route. This is SAP’s newest recommendation for existing customers who are operating on SAP ECC and want to migrate to S/4 HANA but still keep their investment in the current system. With system conversion, the whole system and business process will move to a new platform of S/4 HANA. This approach can offer a better solution if no changes are wanted in the operations of the existent business process. It essentially allows to run the business with less disruption since it’s more of a technical system conversion. The downside is that possible issues on the technical side can arise, but SAP has provided conversion tools and guidelines for this. Therefore, the risk can be mitigated.
Under this path, a System Merge of multiple source systems into one SAP S/4HANA system happens. It comprises of: