Application modernisation plays a crucial role in optimising business processes and ensuring peak performance within enterprise IT infrastructure. As the cloud becomes increasingly integrated into these systems, it is essential to realign business applications for optimal functionality. One vital component of any modernisation effort is the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which serves as the lifeblood of a business. In particular, the SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) has a longstanding track record of performance, but in the face of digital evolution, enterprises must refresh their SAP environment to unlock new capabilities and achieve better outcomes.
Currently, SAP ECC is in its sunset phase, and support for it will discontinue in 2027. However, waiting until then to address your business needs is not a viable option. SAP is phasing out ECC and transitioning its customers to S/4HANA, the next-generation ERP system. Recognising the requirements of the new business environment, which values agility, flexibility, simplicity, and optimisation, a significant number of enterprises have already completed the migration to S/4HANA or are in various stages of the process.
One of the most significant differentiators of S/4HANA is its in-memory processing capability, enabling the system to handle large volumes of real-time data directly at the database level. Furthermore, S/4HANA’s built-in capabilities help reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO), improve application performance, and enable the operation of new applications in a real-time environment.
The key differentiators of S/4HANA are as follows:
- Simplified data structure: S/4HANA’s in-memory computing ensures that data remains in the main RAM, enabling faster processing compared to other databases that fetch data from the hard disk.
- New-age technologies:The SAP Solution incorporates Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, embedded real-time predictive analytics, conversational UI, and other capabilities, opening up new opportunities in Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT).
- Mobility: In a fast-paced business environment, employees need easy access to critical data and resources from any location and device. S/4HANA enhances workforce productivity by allowing secure access to the ERP application via mobile devices.
- Intuitive front-end with Fiori apps: S/4HANA offers superior personalisation tools for front-end users, delivering simplified and enhanced user experiences.
- Forward and backward adaptability: S/4HANA seamlessly integrates with existing SAP applications, simplifying ERP setup while improving business processes and providing a competitive advantage.
To reap the numerous benefits of migrating to S/4HANA, enterprises must consider the following:
Power to leverage data: S/4HANA empowers businesses to fully harness their data’s potential. With real-time processing and analysis capabilities, the system provides rich insights that support data-driven decision-making. This ability to make sense of data seamlessly contributes to delivering personalized experiences to customers, a critical factor in today’s customer-centric marketplace.
Greater flexibility and integration: S/4HANA offers compatibility with various databases and seamless integration with existing IT infrastructure and applications. This flexibility enables enterprises to run analytics without phasing out their current ERP components, revamping their systems comprehensively.
Scalability on demand: Markets and customer needs are dynamic and evolve rapidly. A digital environment must be able to respond and adapt quickly to these changes. S/4HANA provides the freedom to scale the ERP environment within predictable timelines, ensuring business continuity. The solution also optimizes storage through dynamic tiering, keeping frequently accessed data in memory while moving seldom-used data to disk automatically, effectively reducing data footprint.
Enabling innovation: Businesses must constantly innovate to keep up with the evolving digital landscape. S/4HANA gives enterprises a competitive edge by enabling the deployment of AI, ML, and various new workloads without impacting the performance of existing applications.
The future lies with HANA: Considering that ECC will become obsolete in 2027, businesses must transition to SAP HANA sooner rather than later to gain advantages in a highly competitive marketplace. A structured migration approach, with holistic planning and the expertise of an SAP-certified partner, is crucial for ensuring a seamless and successful SAP S/4HANA deployment.
Key SAP S/4HANA innovations include:
- Advanced analytics: S/4HANA embraces visual representations and leverages AI and ML techniques to provide actionable insights across various business use cases.
- Process orchestration: S/4HANA introduces Process Orchestration (PO), facilitating real-time connectivity between different technologies and platforms with SAP.
- CFO solutions: Universal Journal and Digital Boardroom bring Finance Analytics into a new realm, empowering financial decision-making and strategic planning.
- Financial Supply Chain Management, Material Requirement Planning, and Detailed Scheduling: These additions enhance SAP’s information analytics capabilities, making it more productive and aligned with business needs.
In conclusion, application modernisation, particularly the migration from SAP ECC to S/4HANA, is critical for enterprises aiming to optimize their business processes and leverage the advantages of a next-generation ERP system. By embracing S/4HANA’s key differentiators, businesses gain access to real-time data processing, new technologies, enhanced mobility, intuitive user experiences, and seamless integration. Migrating to S/4HANA offers numerous benefits, including the ability to unlock the potential of data, achieve greater flexibility and scalability, enable innovation, and stay competitive in a rapidly changing market. It is essential to plan the migration carefully, leverage the expertise of an SAP-certified partner, and embrace the future of SAP HANA.