Frequently asked questions about SAP S/4HANA

  1. When was SAP S/4HANA launched?

SAP S/4HANA was launched in February 2015.

  1. What are the different types of modules available in SAP S/4HANA?

S/4HANA Line of Business products includes Finance, Asset Management, Manufacturing, R & D Engineering, Sales & Distribution, Services, Logistics, Sourcing & Procurement, Supply chain management. More modules are being added continuously. Additionally, it also contains industry solutions and compatibility packs.

  1. What are the different deplyoment options available for S/4HANA?

There are three different types of deployment options available for S/4HANA. They are

  • On-premise – customers can host the S/4HANA system using their own data centre or on one of the hyperscalers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, SAP HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud) or Alibaba Cloud.
  • Private Cloud – As part of RISE with SAP, customers will receive one license and one contract for hosting their SAP S/4HANA solution bundled with other solutions like BTP (Business Technology Platform), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) using one of the hyperscalers, Business network starter pack, Business Process Intelligence and much more.
  • Public Cloud – Customers can also choose to subscribe to the S/4HANA public cloud edition which is offered as Software as a Service (SaaS), hence they do not need to worry about hosting or managing the technical operations of the S/4HANA system.
  1. What are the different implementation scenarios available for S/4HANA?

There are three different types of implementation scenarios available for S/4HANA. They are

  • System Conversion – The process of converting an existing ECC system into a S/4HANA system is called System Conversion. This procedure facilitates database migration from any classical DB to SAP HANA, migrates ERP data model into S/4HANA data model, replaces old ECC application code with S/4HANA application code, and does not force you to convert SAP GUI transactions into FIORI apps right away.
  • New Implementation – Implement the S/4HANA system from scratch. This procedure allows businesses to reengineer their business processes to simplify them and also make use of new functionalities available as part of S/4HANA. It facilitates the rapid adoption of new innovations in a standardized manner.
  • Selective Data Transition – Using this procedure, businesses can consolidate multiple ECC systems into one S/4HANA system. It allows them to perform a selective data migration based on legal entities, such as clients or company codes.
  1. What type of tools does SAP offer that can help me build my business case for S/4HANA implementation?

SAP offers various types of tools and reports that can help customers prepare for their S/4HANA implementation or build a business case.

  • SAP Pathfinder report – This report analyses the customer’s ECC system and provides three types of information. Firstly, it provides information on how the current business processes are performing when benchmarked against industry peers. Secondly, it tells them about S/4HANA functionalities when compared to the customer’s current usage in their ECC system and finally, it provides information on the FIORI apps that are available which is also based on the current usage in their ECC system.
  • SAP Process Discovery report – This report helps the customers answer questions like why move to SAP S/4HANA, which new functionlaities in S/4HANA are most relevant for their business, how does S/4HANA support their business goals and what are the current processes that can be automated with the help of S/4HANA.
  • SAP Transformation Navigator – It is a self-service tool that can be accessed using your ‘S’ user id. Once logged in, it automatically picks up information about your organisation’s SAP landscape and provides product recommendation that can be used to determine your future SAP landscape.
  • SAP Readiness Check – This is an extensive report that is run on the customer’s ECC system. It provides information about compatability of add-on’s, custom code, inetgrations when moved to S/4HANA. It also provides guidance on sizing, archiving potential, health state of business process KPI’s. important project activities, FIORI roles and apps.
  1. What tools does SAP offer for installing S/4HANA and data migration purposes?

SAP offers a bunch of tools that helps installing S/4HANA and data migration.

  • Software Provisioning Manager (SWPM) – Software Provisioning Manager offers the execution of many system provisioning tasks and covers a broad range of platforms and products, both on the ABAP and the Java technology. Whether you are going to copy an SAP NetWeaver system, rename an SAP Business Suite system, or install a standalone engine (such as SAP liveCache), you can handle all these tasks with Software Provisioning Manager.
  • SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit – This is a cloud based tool developed by SAP that helps to migrate legacy data into S/4HANA system. It contains standard pre-defined objects which can be used for out of box data migration. It allows customers to enhance the exisiting objects as per their requirement.
  • SAP S/4HANA Migration Object Modeler (MOM) – The standard objects available as part of the Migration Cockpit doesn’t satisfy all the data migration requirements. Hence SAP offers this other tool called Migration Object Modeler using which customers can can create new source structures, manipulate existing ones, change field mappings, add rules to manipulate data and create totally new objects.
  • SAP Data Services – Data Services allows you to cleanse, transform and load data into new SAP systems quickly and safely.
  • SAP Landscape Transformation (SLT) – SLT is an ETL tool that support real-time replication of data from SAP or third-party systems to SAP HANA to run applications and analyse data quickly.
  1. Can S/4HANA run on any database like Oracle or MS SQL Server?

No. S/4HANA runs only on SAP HANA database.

  1. Can you use SAP GUI to access an S/4HANA system?

Yes. Technically, you can use SAP GUI to access a S/4HANA system. But if you would like to use S/4HANA’s advanced functionalities like embedded analytics and Robotic Process Automation, you must use FIORI to access S/4HANA. FIORI also improves user experience by offerings functionalities such as enterprise search, notifications, default values, personalisation and user assistance which does not exist in SAP GUI.

  1. How do i find out what FIORI apps are available for my S/4HANA system?

You can go to the SAP FIORI Apps Reference Library to learn about the FIORI apps that are available for your particular requirements. It is available not just for your S/4HANA system but for all SAP applications.

Alternatively, you can also run a report called FIORI Apps Recommendation Report that uses your current SAP usage information to help identify the most valuable Fiori Apps for your enterprise. This interactive report is available free of charge for all customers on SAP maintenance.

  1. What are the key differences between a S/4HANA on-premise and a S/4HANA public cloud system?
S/4HANA On-premiseS/4HANA Public Cloud
Licensing modelTraditional licensingSubscription licensing
Infrastructure & maintenance modelS/4HANA on-premise system is installed, maintained and operated by the customerSystem infrastructure and operational maintenance are performed by SAP
Speed of innovationPlanning, testing, upgrading and configuration changes within the system are the responsibility of the customerQuarterly release upgrades are applied to the system automatically. The customer is incharge of testing only.
CustomizationThe on-premise edition can be fully customised as per the customer’s requirementsThe cloud edition uses standard out of the box business processes and customization options are limited to a small number of settings.
Functional scopeOn-premise edition supports full ERP scope. It can be integrated with SAP’s cloud products like SuccessFactors, Ariba, FieldGlass, Concur, SAC, CX portfolio of solutions etc. using BTP (SAP Business Technology Platform)Cloud edition supports critical industry solutions and core ERP scenarios. It can also be integrated with other SAP cloud applications.
  1. Can a S/4HANA system be hosted on hyperscalers?

Yes, as of 2020, S/4HANA can be hosted on the following hyperscalers.

  • Microsoft Azure
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Google Cloud
  • Alibaba Cloud Computing
  • Huawei Technologies
  • IBM Cloud
  1. What is the average implementation time for an S/4HANA project?

Implementation times varies on a customer by customer basis as it depends on customer requirements and their digital transformation goals. But according to SAP, on average, S/4HANA system conversion projects take 8 months to implement whereas new implementations take about 11 months.

On average, the system conversion projects are three months faster than the new implementations. The reason being, customers who undertake a system conversion keep their configuration and customizations. A technical conversion of an existing SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA requires low to moderate business process changes and allows the retention of historical data.

  1. Should a S/4HANA system be complemented with other SAP cloud products?

It depends on the type of products a customer uses currently and their requirements for a future product roadmap. Some modules/functionalities that were available in SAP ECC is not available in S/4HANA. For example, S/4HANA doesn’t contain HCM and Payroll functionalities. If a customer is currently using payroll in their ECC system, they may have to consider SAP SuccessFactors for their payroll requirements once they move to S/4HANA.

  1. Is there any S/4HANA trial option available?

Yes, there is a 14-day trial available for S/4HANA Cloud and a 30-day trial available for S/4HANA on-premise. Registration is required and can be done using the following link

  1. Does SAP offer free tutorials and courses for S/4HANA?
  • SAP Help Learning Journeys – SAP has created free learning journeys about both S/4HANA On-premise and S/4HANA Cloud. It can be accessed using the following link
  • OpenSAP courses – Offered for free by SAP, OpenSAP delivers innovative learning for everyone with expert-led content. It can be accessed using the following link
  • SAP Training Shop – Here you can find paid training courses and certification offered directly by SAP. It can be accessed using the following link
  • Apart from these, there are plenty of blogs and YouTube videos available in the internet.
  1. Until when a particular S/4HANA version is supported by SAP?

Each S/4HANA release is supported by SAP for five years. After that SAP will support the product but a solution for new bugs won’t be provided. SAP will also stop offering new functionalities for a particular release after five years. For example, S/4HANA 1709 is supported until 2022. S/4HANA 1809 is supported until 2023, so on and so forth.

  1. What types of S/4HANA certifications does SAP offer?

Certifications offered directly by SAP are divided into three section. They are as follows.

  1. SAP S/4HANA Applications
  • Asset Management
  • Financial Accounting
  • Management Accounting
  • Integration
  • Planning, Manufacturing, Execution
  • Procurement
  • Sales
  • Service
  1. SAP S/4HANA Technology
  • SAP S/4HANA Programming
  • SAP S/4HANA Administration
  • SAP S/4HANA Embedded Analytics
  1. SAP S/4HANA Cloud
  • Finance
  • Sales
  • Procurement

More information is available in the following link

  1. What are the advantages of running an ERP system like S/4HANA on an in-memory database like SAP HANA?

There are plenty. I have listed some of them below.

Data model – A modern in-memory database, like SAP HANA, allows all types of data to be stored in a single system, including structured transactions and unstructured data such as voice, video, free-form documents, and emails – all with the same fast access capability.

Faster processing – In-memory databases are faster than legacy databases because they require fewer CPU instructions to retrieve data. Developers can exploit this benefit by adding more function without the accompanying drag on system response. Also, using parallel processing so that multiple subsets (columns) can be processed simultaneously adds even more speed and capacity.

Combination of OLTP and OLAP – Traditional systems store transaction data in a legacy ERP database that is accessed by online transactional processing (OLTP). Then, to get a view for analytics, the data is often moved to a separate database (data warehouse) where online analytical processing (OLAP) tools can be used to analyze large data sets (or Big Data). Modern, in-memory databases can support both OLAP and OLTP, eliminating the need for redundant storage and the delays between data transfers, which in turn eliminates any concerns about completeness or timeliness of the warehouse data.

Reduced storage size – Traditional databases store a large amount of redundant data. For example, the system creates a copy of each row that is updated, and it adds tables of combined data sets that increase space needs and maintenance requirements. In addition to the redundancy avoided for OLAP/OLTP mentioned above, column-oriented databases save changes as they are applied to the database.

Real time insights – A modern, in-memory database, like SAP HANA, has embedded analytics to provide business insight for real-time alerts and operational reporting on live transactional data.

  1. What are the key benefits of SAP S/4HANA?

Again, there are plenty of business benefits for S/4HANA. I have listed some of them below.

  • Next generation ERP software providing advanced functionalities with in-built technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Internet of Things.
  • Embedded analytics and real time insights
  • Simplified in-memory database
  • Ease of use
  • Improved user experience with the help of FIORI
  • Accessible through mobile
  • Advantages of a Cloud based application
  • Scalable
  1. What is SAP Activate Methodology?

Activate Methodology is the next generation project implementation methodology offered by SAP using which customers and partners can implement SAP solutions, including both on-premise and cloud. It is based on agile methodology, hence involves constant collaboration and working in iterations.

More information about SAP Activate Methodology can be found using this link here

P.S. Check out my course on Udemy – “Introduction to SAP – The Complete Package for Beginners