NTT DATA Business Solutions
Martin Grau | 5 října, 2022

New release and maintenance strategy for SAP S/4HANA for innovations and flexibility

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SAP announced an upcoming change in the release and maintenance strategy for SAP S/4HANA. This will provide customers with more opportunities to benefit from ongoing innovation and ensure they have the flexibility they need to move to the cloud.

The economic and operational demands on companies, as well as competitive pressures, are enormous. The change they are facing is occurring at a rapid pace and digitization strategies must be adapted swiftly and comprehensively. Customers must continuously innovate while adapting their business processes and implementing new business models. Cloud technology is already playing a crucial role in keeping pace with this change.

Release 2023 of SAP S/4HANA, which will be available in October 2023, forms a target release for next-generation technology and compatibility with legacy software. Starting with this release, SAP S/4HANA will move to a 2-year release cycle, longer mainstream maintenance per release of seven years, and easier-to-adapt feature packs. To support this major milestone, SAP will offer its customers running releases 1709, 1809 and 1909 of SAP S/4HANA the option for extended maintenance. This will allow them to upgrade directly to version 2023. SAP’s announcement to always offer maintenance for SAP S/4HANA for at least one release until 2040 remains unaffected.

The 2023 release of SAP S/4HANA represents an important step in the evolution of product maturity. It puts SAP in an even better position to offer a growing range of services and best practices, as well as business process optimizations, to help existing and new customers realize their full potential. The flexibility to innovate at their own pace is essential for customers. SAP responds to customers‘ needs by offering the Extended Maintenance option to support them on their journey to the cloud, no matter how far along they are in their transition or whether it has already been planned.

Innovations at the core to support all customers

Since 2015, SAP S/4HANA has been providing customers with innovative solutions and support for regular upgrades to their installations, such as to the upcoming 2022 release of SAP S/4HANA. Next year’s release 2023 of SAP S/4HANA will provide customers with forward-looking technologies and many alternative features of SAP S/4HANA for older solutions in the compatibility scope of SAP’s legacy software. With the introduction of version 2023 of SAP S/4HANA, customers can more easily bring their SAP environment up to date. This updated environment provides better opportunities for continued innovation without disrupting ongoing operations and prepares companies for the desired time to move to the cloud.

To make it easier for customers to stay current, SAP is taking several steps to reduce the number of upgrades and provide even greater value:

  • The product will move to a 2-year release cycle starting with SAP S/4HANA 2023.
  • To meet customer needs, SAP will deliver more application innovations via easily deployable feature packs with minimal disruption to business operations. These are currently scheduled to be delivered every six months for the first two years of a release. The combination of 2-year release cycles and more feature packs should provide more opportunities for joint innovation with customers without requiring an upgrade to the product. This facilitates adoption and reduces overall implementation costs.
  • Starting with SAP S/4HANA 2023, each release will remain in mainstream maintenance for seven years. For previous releases, this was five years.
  • Customers who switch to new releases from SAP early on can use the product productively for longer and benefit from a higher return on investment.
  • SAP S/4HANA 2023 retains the „zero downtime“ features of previous releases.

More flexibility for ERP upgrade

To make it easier for customers on lower releases to upgrade to the 2023 version of SAP S/4HANA, SAP is offering an Extended Maintenance option for older versions of SAP S/4HANA that will soon reach the end of their five-year Mainstream Mainteance. The Extende Mainteance is available from 2023 to 2025 and can be renewed quarterly during this period.

Customers using versions 1709, 1809 and 1909 of SAP S/4HANA in an on-premise environment or as a subscription model can benefit from Extended Maintenance in the following ways:

  • Customers who have purchased a subscription for RISE with SAP or are using older subscription models (for example, a subscription for SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud) benefit from Extended Maintenance at no additional charge. This is also the recommended migration for SAP S/4HANA customers who want to switch from an on-premise version to RISE with SAP. This then only requires a change in infrastructure and provides customers with the same flexibility they already know from their on-premise version.
  • For customers who are running one of these older versions of SAP S/4HANA in an on-premise environment and want to keep it in that environment, Extended Maintenance is an option that requires an additional fee equal to four percent of the maintenance base for their core SAP S/4HANA solution.

SAP recognizes that there are important factors to consider when customers choose to become a smart and sustainable business. SAP supports these factors and therefore offers a solution that can be adapted to the specific requirements of each company.

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