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What is SAP S/4HANA?
S/4 HANA is the next-generation SAP business suite (short for SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA), similar to the transition between R/2 and R/3. It is built on SAP HANA, with modern design principles and user interfaces. It also offers tremendous simplifications and innovations. With
the massive technology improvements provided by HANA, the business suite can now combine many tools and tables that had to be maintained separately in the past. For example, in the past, integration among different systems (e. g., ERP, CRM, SCM) had to be done by replicating data between several systems. Now, they can now all run quickly and easily on the same database. This can help drastically improve an organization’s data footprint.
While many other innovations and simplifications are coming, SAP Simple
Finance was the first step in the new S/4 HANA roadmap. In prior versions of ERP, financial accounting and controlling both had very powerful functionality and capabilities but were treated separately, including separate transactions, reports, and tables. The number of finance tables in a company’s ERP system could number into the hundreds, with different header tables, line item tables, sub-ledger tables, master data tables, and totals tables.
To report or transact on financial data, it would be necessary to combine data from several different tables (not only finance tables, but tables from other modules as well), which can be complicated and have a major impact on system performance (see Figure 3.23). While we may have real-time transactions and financial entries, real-time data analysis and reporting is much more difficult. In ECC, it can take several minutes, if not longer, to run certain reports. Analytics in a BI system usually have to wait for a data load process to run, sometimes overnight.
Figure 3.23: Aggregating tables for finance reporting
In Simple Finance, financial accounting and controlling have been combined, which simplifies many of the concepts that can be confusing about controlling, particularly secondary cost elements and the reconciliation ledger. With Simple Finance, the secondary cost elements become general ledger accounts, and the reconciliation ledger is no longer necessary. By reducing the majority of the tables that were necessary prior to HANA’s innovations, an enterprise can drastically reduce the size of their database.
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This second edition has been enhanced with an overview of the existing SAP product portfolio in addition to SAP ERP. Learn more about the technical side of SAP ERP including industry solutions, ABAP, and enhancement packages (EHP). Get a short introduction to BI, CRM, SRM, SCM, GRC, NetWeaver, SuccessFactors, and HANA. Demystify SAP acronyms and get clarity on the purpose of different SAP products.
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