Your SAP S/4HANA Questions Answered – Part 2: System Preparation

The second post in this two-part blog series addresses the technical side of adopting SAP S/4HANA. Readying your systems, implementation, and management – you may require guidance in these tasks. Here we advise you by answering commonly asked questions.

NTT DATA Business Solutions answers common questions about the technical set-up of SAP S/4HANA

Read the article or watch our UK thought leaders discuss and answer the most popular SAP S/4HANA questions here.

Often, NTT DATA Business Solutions finds that customers are not sure if their IT infrastructure meets the standards for implementing SAP S/4HANA. Where the first half of this blog series focused on the business side of SAP’s latest ERP management suite, this second part answers your questions on the technical side of the solution.

What are the differences between the varieties of SAP S/4HANA?

SAP S/4HANA is the latest version of SAP’s flagship software that acts as a replacement for SAP R/3 or ECC 6. Based on the in-memory computing platform SAP HANA, the solution comes with the latest SAP Fiori user experience and is available as an on-premise or cloud solution. In line with SAP’s cloud-first approach, the solution is available on an SaaS basis, with new features and capabilities filtering down into the on-premise version. Before moving to SAP S/4HANA, it pays to consider which option is most suitable for your business.

Is reimplementation required?

Reimplementation is not always necessary. NTT DATA Business Solutions recommends that you consider three options for adopting S/4HANA, the first of which requires no reimplementation – the “system conversion” option. This is a one-step technical conversion of an existing SAP system into SAP S/4HANA, supported by prechecks and custom code analysis. With it, you are able to keep many of your existing transactional processes and then adopt innovations at your own pace.

The second option is a new implementation which is targeted at organisations looking for a fresh start with their ERP systems. If your business model has fundamentally changed since implementing SAP ERP, this could be the best option. During reimplementation, master data and open transactional orders are migrated onto the new system.

Finally, larger enterprises with more complicated setups may consider the third option to consolidate their SAP landscapes into one global system or carve out particular processes.

Whatever the type or size of business you are, NTT DATA Business Solutions can support you in finding the best adoption path to SAP S/4HANA.

Do I have to do everything in the cloud?

SAP is focusing on cloud technology, so customers assume cloud is necessary for all SAP solutions – but this is not the case. SAP S/4HANA is available on-premise or in the cloud. However, on-premise functionality may differ as some of the new innovations are cloud-first, or possibly even cloud-only. An example of this is the SAP SuccessFactors Talent Management capability which is cloud only and integrates with SAP S/4HANA in either deployment mode.

Using both cloud and on-premise applications leads to so called “hybrid” environments, which can become confusing without proper management. There are new approaches to application integration, user authentication and identity management that require understanding. At NTT DATA Business Solutions these options are already being adopted into our standard working patterns.

Do I have to re-write all my code?

SAP continues to invest in tools designed to make the transition to SAP S/4HANA as easy as possible. The SAP Readiness Check and Simplification List provide you with a chance to assess your systems and review legacy code. Analysing code provides the opportunity to see if your customizations are now available as standard. It also helps you decide whether you are ready for conversion.

Do I have to adopt SAP Fiori?

The new SAP Fiori user experience is an integral part of SAP S/4HANA but adoption does not have to be immediate. For most customers who take the conversion adoption route it will be possible to continue with many, if not all, of their existing, traditional GUI based transactions. The new SAP Fiori applications offer many great advantages such as embedded analytics, ease of use, cross platform access, and improved workflow – so it makes sense to plan for how and when they can be adopted.

Will SAP S/4HANA resolve my reporting problems that I currently have in my SAP ECC system?

Businesses using SAP ECC for reporting often have to deploy a whole extra system alongside the core system for operational reporting. With the new Embedded Analytics capabilities many, if not all, of these workloads can be run in real time on the S/4HANA system itself. Embedded analytics deliver a tight link between insight and action supporting much improved operational decision making.

It is worth noting that there are times where you might want to go beyond that – with complex analytical workloads and historical, or third party (non-SAP) data. A Modern Data Platform based on an SAP Enterprise Data Warehouse solution such as SAP BW/4HANA can manage these extra workloads. It works closely together with SAP S/4HANA, offering out-of-the-box integration to minimize development and deployment effort.

Are you unsure whether SAP S/4HANA makes sense for your business? Part one answers commonly asked questions on building a business case. Or, view the roundtable discussion here to watch clips of our experts discussing the topic in depth.

Andy Steer
Andy Steer
Chief Technology Officer

I have responsibility for defining and driving the evolution of the business in step with our customers and partners. I spend most of my time listening and learning from 3 sets of people; our customers, our partners and our employees to ensure that we are able to imagine, describe and deliver the innovative solutions that will ensure our customers future success. Before NTT DATA Business Solutions I worked in a variety of Consulting and Management roles in the field of Data Management and Business Intelligence for nearly 20 years and I regularly present at industry events in the UK and beyond. When not at work I spend most of my spare time either drinking wine with my Wife, playing Lego with my sons or getting depressed supporting Tottenham Hotspur.


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