Many years ago, SAP’s former co-CEO, Jim Hagemann Snabe, announced the renovation of the ECC 6.0 core (ERP 6.0 and Business Suite 7). A year later Bernd Leukert, SAP Board Member for technology, spoke of an all-round renewal of the in-memory-computing conglomerate, Hana. For presenting S/4 with Hana there was solely an ages-old R/3 reference client.
Up until today, neither the SAP core has been reworked nor is there a slimmed-down Hana version, and the greatest of all evils – the ERP meltdown – is S/4! To this day there is no independent, autonomous version, but rather S/4 Finance and Logistics are mere add-ons to old-as-the-hills Business Suite 7 on Hana (SoH, Suite on Hana).
How long will SAP continue to operate and sell an S/4 product development and roadmap as add-ons for the Business Suite 7? It is a grotesque picture: S/4 add-on being used for S/7 on Hana. At the outset, the community had understanding for the fact that not even SAP can conjure a new ERP out of the hat overnight.
Yet characterising Simple Finance and S/4 Logistics as a new ERP system is more than a little impudent. The document, ꞌSimplification List for SAP S/4 Hana, on-premise edition 1511ꞌ, dated 28 January of this year, states the following for S/4: “S/4 Hana is SAPs next-generation business suite […] It is a new product completely built on one of the most advanced in-memory platforms today – SAP Hana – and modern design principles with the SAP Fiori user experience (UX)”.
The extension of the ERP core, ECC 6.0, so as to add functions and business processes, has been under way for many years and is called ꞌEnhancement Packages (EhP)ꞌ. This is going well and is accepted – even if some EhP functions can give rise to follow-up licenses that involve costs. From todayꞌs viewpoint, S/4 is merely one further EhP. Simple Finance and Simple Logistics need the Hana database as a substructure, and yet also need the SAP Business Suite 7 – this makes S/4 Finance and Logistics into mere add-ons and a ꞌspecialꞌ EhP for S/7.
For SAP, the path into the future is the established customersꞌ journey in the familiar Suite 7 vehicle, clamped onto the low-loader vehicle, Hana, and using an engine extension called ꞌSimple Financeꞌ and ꞌSimple Logisticsꞌ respectively.
Why not SAP EhP X? The community is currently at Enhancement Package No. 8 and, in keeping with Microsoft’s precedent, one could have leap-frogged Version 9 and called the new finance functions and logistics functions ꞌEhP Version 10ꞌ – however, in that case the new business processes would need to work together not solely with S/7 but also with every other database Oracle, Microsoft SQL servers and IBM DB2).
If the result is to be consistent with Hasso Plattnerꞌs paradigm, of course, that cannot be and is not permitted to be ꞌHanaꞌ – nevertheless it would have been a nice designation to use, giving ꞌS/4 Finance and Logisticsꞌ the name ꞌEhP X – Hana onlyꞌ. That way, the whole community could recognise straightaway that this storm in a teacup merely amounts to two add-ons for Suite 7.