SAP has been around for a long time; its first ERPs came out in the 1970s, and its first R/ system dealt only with financials. Capacity increased, and SAP released its first R/3 in 1992. Then, with version 5.0 of R/3, SAP renamed the application the ERP Central Component (ECC) in 2004.
As this trajectory indicates, the ad hoc growth of the various R/ systems were combined with the advent of the ECC. It was the apex of ERPs. A lot of businesses still run with ECC, though this choice is becoming more and more suspect. SAP plans to move away from general support of ECC by 2025. By that time, ECC will have been in use over 20 years—multiple lifetimes in the world of technology.
ECC is giving way to the HANA system. SAP HANA uses in-memory databases that are designed to dramatically increase the speed and efficiency of SAP applications and the business processes they support.
Not only does HANA have in-memory operations, it also has a simplified data structure. These design innovations result in overall improved performance. With real-time visibility and better use of analytics, companies are seeing increased productivity. Market conditions change from minute to minute, and SAP Business Suite on HANA allows you to respond appropriately. With everything from design to delivery integrated in HANA, businesses are providing customers immediate and accurate information. Real-time inventory analysis and 24/7 tracked logistics translates into savings and satisfied customers.
HANA and S/4HANA are the present and the future for using SAP Business Suite. S/4HANA came out in February 2015, and it solves many typical problems like data sprawl, batch latency, and manually driven processes. It possesses award-winning user experience with its SAP Fiori.
SAP S/4HANA has unique architecture with data stored in columns; it runs in-memory, meaning near to real-time analytics. It also provides businesses with active decision support in real time. That support emerges from the data and incorporates both internal and external sources of data in the evaluation.
Most importantly, SAP S/4/HANA lets organizations work seamlessly in our digital economy. SAP S/4HANA has been written specifically for the SAP HANA platform and is designed to respond to the continuing development in the field.
To S/4HANA and Beyond
Changing your SAP landscape is a significant business decision. No matter its size, your SAP landscape seriously affects almost every aspect of your business. Yet, organizations need to be ready to take advantage of all the presently unimagined possibilities.
If you’re currently working with ECC, it may be a sound decision to move first to an SAP Suite on HANA and then convert to S/4HANA later. SAP migration is complex. Companies need to balance their return on investment (ROI) and the minimal disruption of an SAP Suite on HANA upgrade against the accelerated transformation, simplification, and easy transition to the cloud version: HANA Cloud Platform (HCP).
SAP S/4HANA is the launching site for future innovation.