In order to keep in pace with the rapidly changing technologies in the ERP software world, SAP keeps updating its product. In 2015, SAP came up with its biggest update in over two decades: SAP S4/HANA. This version is the successor of SAP ECC which was released in 2004. Although SAP S/4 HANA is not completely different from SAP ECC (as most of the familiar transactions are still there, the transport system is comparable and the customizing is not so much different), there are some significant changes in important areas. Some of the main changes that characterize SAP S4/HANA compared to SAP ECC are:
- A new in-memory database:
An in-memory database is “a database management system that primarily relies on main memory for computer data storage. It is contrasted with database management systems that employ a disk storage mechanism”. (Rouse, 2012). An in-memory database allows for a much faster processing and analysis of data as opposed to a traditional database where data is fetched from the hard disk, making the process slower. While SAP ECC was designed to run on several database platforms, such as Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, SAP S4/HANA can only run on the SAP HANA database. S4/HANA also uses a different storing technique which makes it easier to store high volumes of data without affecting the processing speed (traditionally, data is stored in form of rows but with S4/HANA it can be stored in form of columns). Moreover, it has OLTP (online transaction processing) and OLAP (Online Analytical Processing) together in one system sharing the same data.
SAP S/4HANA delivers massive simplifications (customer adoption, data model, user experience, decision making, business processes and models) and innovations (Internet of Things, Big Data, business networks, and mobile-first) to help businesses run simple in the digital economy. Through its approach to building S/4HANA, SAP is re-architecting its solution for modern business processes that the ever-increasing digitalization of the world demands.
- Modern design:
With its modern, simplified and familiar design, S4/HANA provides an exceptional personalized user experience. The Fiori UX can be run on any device and automatically adjust to
it. Moreover, it offers user interactive applications that show users only the information they need.
- SAP S4/HANA universal journal
SAP S/4HANA combines data structures of different components such as FI , AA , CO and CO-PA into a single line item table. This table is ACDOCA, also known as the Universal Journal. The presence of the universal journal eliminates several aggregate and index tables. Now, data insertions occur into a single table instead of several tables. Hence reducing the data foot print by a huge margin.
To sum up, SAP S4/HANA is the final product of SAP’s on-going journey of evolution. It is about making the product more compact, easier to use and faster to process data. The end goal for these changes is simply to move towards a better business experience and to adapt to emerging technologies.
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