SAP S/4HANA experts answered user questions during two one-hour live chat sessions. The panelists included members of the SAP Digital Business Services organization and an SAP partner organization leading digital transformation projects with customers. Questions ranged from topics such as building a business case for SAP/4HANA to custom code to BW on HANA. Read the full transcript below.
General Questions (Focused on HANA, SAP S/4HANA, migration paths, and more!)
Comment from Murali: What is the business case for moving to SAP S/4HANA from ECC 6?
Carl Dubler (SAP): There are 2 main categories of benefits. First, is improved business productivity by enabling capabilities never before possible. An example of this is elimination of FI-CO reconciliation in Finance. Second is simplified landscape for IT to manage. An example of this is consolidation of applications back to the core of ERP. There is much more to say on this subject, though, and I’d recommend starting with the S/4HANA in 2 Minutes video series.
Manuel Grueber (SAP): The identification of business cases specific to your organization can be addressed as part of the Value & Implementation Strategy Service offered within the SAP S/4HANA Value Assurance Packages.
Daniel Gomes (SAP): Additionally, SAP offers a free Business Scenario Recommendations report that shows how you can enhance your company's performance and leverage the simplification available with SAP S/4HANA based on your current ECC 6 usage. To take advantage, go to www.s4hana.com, register, and upload your ST03N data from the last month of your ECC 6 usage. You will receive your customized report within 5 days. Last, you can also reach out to your Account Executive for additional information on the SAP S/4HANA Value Discovery Workshop that SAP offers.
Comment from Murali: How many customers have migrated to SAP S/4HANA so far?
Carl Dubler (SAP): Over 4,000 customers have licensed S/4HANA, in 25 industries and 90 countries. We are happy with the SAP S/4HANA adoption. It is actually SAP's fastest-growing product ever.
Comment from Chris: My company is planning an SAP S/4HANA implementation. How can SAP support us throughout our project?
Daniel Gomes (SAP): To support you during your implementation, SAP has designed the SAP S/4HANA Value Assurance service packages to complement both partner and SAP-led projects. Our customizable packages offer a range of support based on customer’s specific needs, from foundational implementation to end-to-end support. This allows a variety of investment and support involvement options to be offered that provide safeguarding, expertise on demand, and best practices to ensure fast and efficient guidance of SAP S/4HANA implementation projects.
Comment from VK: How does HANA compare with other in-memory database options? Is it necessary to use HANA as opposed to another relational database?
Carl Dubler (SAP): Yes, it is SAP S/4HANA, not S/4Oracle! HANA is not only in-memory, but also columnar. We didn't just "lift and shift" the database from AnyDB to HANA. With SAP S/4HANA we also re-architected ERP to take advantage of in-memory columnar technology. This is something none of our competitors do.
What to Consider When Beginning Your Migration
Comment from Blair: What is the version we should move to if we're looking at starting a migration project in the next 6 months?
Manuel Grueber (SAP): If you plan to start your SAP S/4HANA project in the next month, you should consider using SAP S/4HANA 1610 for on-premise deployments.
Comment from SRINI: When we have Ecc 6.0 ehp 0 level, which option is best for fast implementation and cost effective implementation?
Carl Dubler (SAP): If you want to go to SAP S/4HANA for either the 1511 or 1610 release, you can go there from EHP 0 directly. Do a system conversion, and you can even use DMO with SUM to migrate the DB to HANA.
Comment from Shirish Javalkar: Does SAP S/4HANA have an IDES version available?
Manuel Grueber (SAP): Instead of IDES there is a SAP S/4HANA, on-premise edition trial available. You can find more details under the following link:https://blogs.sap.com/2015/07/28/sap-s4hana-on-premise-edition-trial-available-nowSAP S/4HANA Deployment Options and Considerations (on-premise and Cloud)
Comment from Mark: Do we need to deploy Suite on HANA before we deploy SAP S/4HANA?
Carl Dubler (SAP): No! You can go directly from ECC 6 on Unicode (any enhancement pack) to SAP S/4HANA release 1511 or 1610. There is no technical reason to do Suite on HANA first. However, some customers are doing so because they might want the HANA experience first or they have not had a chance to work with the business on process changes. SAP S/4HANA is transformational to business processes, so if the business is not ready for it, maybe that would be a reason to do Suite on HANA.
Comment from Bob: Currently we subscribe to HCP and run Suite on HANA, if we migrate to S/4 HANA, I understand that there are a lot of Fiori Apps running inside the SAP box, what are the pros and cons if we migrate these Fiori Apps from on-premise to our HCP and run these Fiori Apps from HCP instead of SAP box?
Carl Dubler (SAP): Although though we have Fiori Launchpad available as a service on HCP, the apps you can integrate are very limited. So even if you decide to manually configure the required apps on the Fiori Launchpad on HCP, it might not be technically possible. However, once all of the apps are caught up to speed and cover the users’ requirements, having HCP instead of an on-premise gateway server would reduce administrative TCO.
To take a deeper dive into Fiori, I suggest checking out these links - https://uacp.hana.ondemand.com/http.svc/rc/PRODUCTION/pdfa90fd6551ed88809e10000065a441470/1610%20000/en-US/SAPFioriCloud_SAPS4H1610.pdf ,and https://fioriappslibrary.hana.ondemand.com/sap/fix/externalViewer/#/home
Comment from Christina: What is the difference between HEC and SAP S/4HANA private option?
Carl Dubler (SAP): Both are private cloud options for running SAP S/4HANA. HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) allows you to fully customize your system, and you can also run traditional licensing or bring your existing on-premise license to the cloud. The SAP S/4HANA Cloud Private Option is subscription-priced only and the customizations are more limited.
Comment from Suvigya: What are the differences if a customer wants to go to on-premise SAP S/4HANA vs SAP S/4HANA Cloud Edition?
Amol Palsodkar (Wipro): SAP S/4HANA on-premise and SAP S/4HANA cloud editions mainly differ in process coverage, customization possibilities, release cycles, and licensing model. SAP S/4HANA Cloud edition is available as SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Edition, SAP S/4HANA Marketing Cloud, SAP S/4HANA Professional Services Cloud, and SAP S/4HANA Finance Cloud. You can refer to Feature Scope Description documents for on-premise and cloud editions available on the SAP help page at the following locations for details on process coverage difference:
Comment from Murali: What are the precautionary measures that need to be in place for successful implementations?
Daniel Gomes (SAP): First, it's important to understand what is available in SAP S/4HANA. There is a simplification list that shows all transactions that are not available in SAP S/4HANA. Second, the business should be involved from the beginning of the project so they can provide their requirements during the explore phase, and a sandbox system should support it. Lastly, a technical architecture strategy should be in place to address sizing, client and transport strategy, and change management.
Comment from Ryan: For a Hana DB of 6, 12, or even 30TB, what is the best hardware platform? x86 or Power? Why?
Sachin Pokalwar (Wipro): A detailed hardware assessment needs to be done before we recommend target state hardware architecture. The SAP STAR service can help you decide the target state hardware sizing and architecture.
Comment from Mike: What are the requirements for a system conversion — ECC enhancement packs, Unicode, etc.?
Carl Dubler (SAP): You can convert an existing ECC 6 system to SAP S/4HANA 1511 or 1610 edition. ECC 6 can be running any enhancement pack, but must be on Unicode. To run the conversion, use SUM with the DMO option. For more information, see this 2 minute video: “SAP S/4HANA in 2 Minutes: System Conversion” http://s4in2.saps4hanahub.com/system-conversion/sap-s-4hana-in-2-minutes-system-conversion-2
Comment from Misah: I am currently on EHP7. I know we can go to Suite on HANA with this version. Do you think it is worth the effort to go to EHP8 while implementing Suite on HANA?
Ethan Wang (SAP): It is OK to stay with ERP 6.0 EHP7. You may want to refer to what's new for ERP 6.0 EHP8 http://help.sap.com/erp608?current=pcat_erp It is worth it to go to EHP8 if you find any useful improvements there. Of course, upgrading from EHP7 to EHP8 requires additional testing efforts.
Comment from Todd: What is the implementation strategy for multiple instances of SAP?
Sachin Pokalwar (Wipro): You should follow a Landscape Transformation option for the migration of multiple SAP instances to SAP S/4HANA, e.g. consolidating current regional SAP Business Suite Landscape into one global SAP S/4HANA system or selective data migration.
Comment from Sridhar: How can I migrate data from different tables into single table in SAP S/4HANA?
Sachin Pokalwar (SAP): SAP standard utility DMO/SUM will internally take care of the data migration process, and migrate data from different tables into a single table in SAP S/4HANA
Comment from Suvigya: What are the data migration options available if a customer wants to move from any other legacy system to SAP S/4HANA?
Carl Dubler (SAP): If you mean just moving the data from legacy system to SAP S/4HANA, there are many options to migrate data. There are lots of ETL tools you could use, such as Data Services, HCI, etc. Check the SAP S/4HANA Cookbook for more information: https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/ATopics/SAP%20S4HANA%20Cookbook%20-%20What%20is%20SAP%20S4HANA
Comment from UG: I would like to understand how much time and cost can be saved if I perform a migration from AnyDB to the HANA DB and then to SAP S/4HANA, vs. migrating directly from AnyDB to SAP S/4HANA.
Ethan Wang (SAP): The current Software Update Manager supports converting existing ERP to SAP S/4HANA in one step. This can shorten the project time and save testing efforts.
SAP Note 2233962 explains the system requirements for conversion in one step.
Comment from Guest: If I’m running Suite on HANA on-premise, what happens to my HANA investment in a transition to SAP S/4HANA in the cloud?
Carl Dubler (SAP): If you are going to run in HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC), you can take those licenses with you.
Comment from Guest: If we plan to implement Suite on HANA now, and then plan to migrate to SAP S/4HANA in 2-3 years, how can we use or save on HANA licensing costs?
Carl Dubler (SAP): If you reuse HANA for SAP S/4HANA, you could save money that way. But with all licensing questions, it is best to ask your SAP representative since they will know your specific situation.
Comment from Suvigya: What would be the migration path for a customer moving from SAP ERP on-prem any DB to cloud edition for SAP S/4HANA?
Carl Dubler (SAP): First, check the scope of the cloud editions to be sure they do what you need them to do. The scope of the cloud editions is more targeted. If the cloud editions work for you, then you would use HCI (HANA Cloud Integration) to get your data to that version. If you are using the HEC (HANA Enterprise Cloud) for a hosted on-premise version, then the migration path would be part of the setup of HEC.
BW on HANA Migration
Comment from Maureen: Is the BW migration different?
Sachin Pokalwar (Wipro): Yes, the BW migration is different, however; the same DMO/SUM migration tool can be used for BW and ECC Migration.
Comment from Samuel: What is the long term vision/strategy of SAP for BW in the context of SAP S/4HANA? Is it there to stay as a separate instance/system, and how should we prepare our BW instance today to get ready for an SAP S/4HANA migration?
Carl Dubler (SAP): At SAP internally, we still run BW even with SAP S/4HANA because we need to bring in data from outside ERP. For that reason alone, we expect BW to be a viable and useful product for a long time. Where things change with SAP S/4HANA is operational reporting. As for running BW on its own instance or combined, that would be decided based on the system sizing and other requirements.
Comment from Jay: What are your concerns about multi-tenant DB containers for consolidating different BW systems?
Manuel Grueber (SAP): Multi-tenant DB containers are supported for production use in general. You can currently use about 10 tenants per HANA SID (see SAP note 2101244). Using multiple DB containers, however, will not consolidate a BW system from a logical perspective. If this is what you are looking for, an SLO approach might be required.
SAP S/4HANA Migration Questions
Comment from Ajit: What are our options if we have multiple SAP partner modules in ECC and the partners are yet to be certified for SAP S/4HANA?
Sachin Pokalwar (SAP): The SAP standard note 2214409 talks about partner product compatibility with SAP S/4HANA. In case you do not find the add-on you are looking for, please contact SAP Support (under XX-SER-REL) or the specific partner (non SAP-Products).
Comment from Guest: What are the steps to implement an SAP s/4hana greenfield installation option to run a hana installation / gui and console method?
Sachin Pokalwar (SAP): SAP S/4HANA can be accessed with GUI as Fiori in the on-premise version. However, only Fiori-based access is available for the cloud-based version.
Comment from Krushanu: For a new SAP S/4HANA implementation from a 1610 or 17xx roadmap version, is there a direct path for migrating data from ECC 6.0 EHP6 classic GL to SAP S/4HANA new GL? If not, what is the recommended data migration path for that scenario?
Sachin Pokalwar (Wipro): A new GL migration will need to be performed as a separate program from the SAP S/4HANA migration.
Comment from Maureen: If we have added Z fields to standard SAP tables, will those changes migrate to SAP S/4HANA?
Sachin Pokalwar (Wipro): Yes.
Comment from Mike: I would like to know if there would be any impact to our existing Process Orchestration (PO) system if we upgrade our ERP to SAP S/4HANA? We currently run PO 7.4.
Grace Guo (SAP): The connected SAP NetWeaver hub systems (i.e. Enterprise Portal, Business Warehouse, Process Integration), need be on NW 7.31 or higher, so PO 7.4 is acceptable.
Comment from Mike: We are running SAP PI 7.4, our ERP is SAP IS Retail (ECC 6.0 running on HANA database). After we migrate to SAP S/4HANA, will it have any impact to our existing IDocs in ECC as well as our PI server? If yes, will the migration tool take care of them, or else what are the manual changes we need make? Thanks.
Liz Li (SAP): In the SAP S/4HANA 1610 release, sending information via IDoc WP_PLU is available, but defined as "not strategic any more". It is recommended to move to other communication methods, such as Assortment Lists (High Performance Retailing), and enterprise service Merchandise Replication.
Comment from Suvigya: What are the configuration options available when SAP S/4HANA is implemented using SAP CAL on AWS or Azure for POC purpose? Also, what is the number of concurrent users that can be handled at a time while using CAL?
Carl Dubler (SAP): I think your questions are answered here on the site for Cloud Access Library: https://wiki.scn.sap.com/wiki/display/ATopics/SAP%20Cloud%20Appliance%20Library%20-%20FAQ
Custom Code Questions
Comment from Matt: What do we need to know about custom code before deploying SAP S/4HANA?
Carl Dubler (SAP): The first thing you should do is run usage analysis and get rid of all the custom code you no longer use. I bet this will be at least 40-50% of your code. For the rest, you do need to analyze your custom code and look for any changes that need to be done prior to system conversion. This is almost always easier than it sounds! In our experience, many of the custom code changes are data types. We do have a complete toolset for custom code analysis and adaption. See this 2 minute video for more information: “SAP S/4HANA in 2 Minutes: Prepare Custom Code” http://s4in2.saps4hanahub.com/prepare-custom-code-for-s-4hana/sap-s-4hana-in-2-minutes-prepare-custom-code-2
Comment from Misah: If I am just migrating to Suite on HANA, is there any tool that I can use to analyze custom code impact? I am looking for a batch/mass scanning tool rather than a code inspector where I have to do the analysis one object at a time.
Grace Guo (SAP): Yes, SAP Code Inspector (SCI), our recommended tool will scan mass amounts of code, however, the code adjustment needs to be done one-by-one. For more information, please refer to SAP Note 1912445 and "Best Practice Guide - Considerations for Custom ABAP Code During a Migration to SAP HANA" https://archive.sap.com/documents/docs/DOC-46714 We also have 2 minute video for more information: “SAP S/4HANA in 2 Minutes: Prepare Custom Code”. http://s4in2.saps4hanahub.com/prepare-custom-code-for-s-4hana/sap-s-4hana-in-2-minutes-prepare-custom-code-2
Comment from Nasser Alghamdi: Do we need to re-write our custom SAP applications that we developed using ABAP and Oracle once we fully switch from SAP R/3 to SAP S/4HANA?
Carl Dubler (SAP): First, I recommend starting here for custom code resources: http://s4in2.saps4hanahub.com/prepare-custom-code-for-s-4hana But is it really on R/3? There is no direct path to SAP S/4HANA except from ECC 6. From something earlier, you would need to go to ECC 6 first (which would take a lot of time) or do a new installation of SAP S/4HANA and then bring the data over (the recommended path for migrating from older versions).
Comment from Nick: How does the implementation of HANA impact ABAP developers? Are there new ABAP commands to learn?
Sachin Pokalwar (Wipro): Yes, the existing ABAP code needs to undergo changes when implementing HANA. SAP custom code analyzer will help you analyze the impact on your custom code.
Comment from Nick: After we migrate to S/4 HANA, are there any impacts to our existing IDocs in SAP? Do we need to do any changes?
Carl Dubler: There are no impacts to IDocs unless you are using custom ABAP code. In that case, then you would need to scan and code for SAP S/4HANA compatibility.
Comment from Maureen: You say that customizations are limited in SAP S/4HANA. Can you please provide examples of those limitations?
Carl Dubler (SAP): I think this is referring to the question about HEC vs Cloud Private Option (because customizations are not limited in on-premise). One example would be modifying SAP objects. You could still do that in HEC but not in Cloud Private Option. But for most common customizations, there would be no problem either way.
Comment from Guest: I heard that if we are implementing Suite on Hana, all the custom code should work as-is, except for possible performance issues due to different coding structures. Is this true? Is there a way to optimize custom code analysis for Suite on Hana without running each line of code through code inspection?
Grace Guo (SAP): Not exactly. The impact on custom code during a system conversion to SAP S/4HANA could be caused by: (1) the software changes, (2) the database platform change, or (3) the application simplification in SAP S/4HANA, and other factors. You’ll have to do the adjustment accordingly. We have tools in SAP Solution Manager regarding Custom Code Management to support with the impact analysis. See this 2 minute video for more information: “SAP S/4HANA in 2 Minutes: Prepare Custom Code” http://s4in2.saps4hanahub.com/prepare-custom-code-for-s-4hana/sap-s-4hana-in-2-minutes-prepare-custom-code-2
SAP S/4HANA in Your Industry and LoB
Comment from Matt: Does SAP S/4HANA support New GL document splitting?
Carl Dubler (SAP): Yes, SAP S/4HANA supports New GL document splitting.
Comment from Todd: Does SAP S/4HANA support multiple fiscal year variants across parallel ledgers?
Carl Dubler (SAP): Fiscal Year variants in parallel ledgers are a function of New GL, which is supported by SAP S/4HANA. For more information on this topic in New GL, see: http://help.sap.com/saphelp_erp60_sp/helpdata/en/44/48584025233b70e10000000a1550b0/content.htmvia
Comment from Gandhi Kesiboyina: My question is very specific to SAP S/4Hana / SAP S/4 Finance and its impact on CO-PA. As I understood from different forms and SAP documentation, we can achieve 100% FI and CO-PA reconciliation with Simple Finance where we need to activate the account-based CO-PA, but I’m wondering how this can be a new feature of Simple Finance. Without Simple Finance we can still achieve this by using account-based CO-PA.
Carl Dubler (SAP): This can be a complicated discussion. The short answer is that companies can run both account-based and cost-based CO-PA in the same “operating concern” (which is the structure that CO-PA is based on). Many companies don’t realize they can run both. For SAP S/4HANA, the account-based CO-PA is captured in the Universal Journal, because it is based on the G/L accounts. I recommend this excellent article as a good starting point: Account Based COPA – Simplification with Simple Finance https://blogs.sap.com/2015/08/07/account-based-copa-simplification-with-simple-finance/
Comment from Linda Yan: Is IFRS also included in Simple Finance in SAP S/HANA?
Carl Dubler (SAP): IFRS compliance is a bit more complicated than just using the SAP S/4HANA 1610 release. I recommend this as a starting point: “Follow the SAP Roadmap to IFRS Compliance” http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/go/portal/prtroot/docs/library/uuid/907b6b2e-7405-2c10-8493-ebbec09cd1ca?QuickLink=index&overridelayout=true&42477226560368
Comment from Helmut Stark: When will SAP be ready to deliver SAP PP natively on Hana?
Carl Dubler (SAP): PP/DS has been part of SAP S/4HANA for a while now, with a bunch of enhancements also part of the 1610 release last month. Check out the 1610 release details for more information: http://go.sap.com/product/enterprise-management/s4hana-erp/on-premise.html
Comment from Linda Yan: When will SD and MM will be supported by SAP S/HANA?
Daniel Gomes (SAP): Support for these modules has been available since the release of SAP S/4HANA 1511 Enterprise Management (November 2015).
Comment from Mike: Will SAP S/4HANA 1610 support existing IS Retail?
Liz Li (SAP): SAP S/4HANA Retail for merchandise management will be the new core solution for Retail companies. It will be the next generation transactional backbone of retail companies, integrated into the rest of our retail-specific portfolio as well as into generic LoB and cloud solutions. Addressable customers for the 1610 release will be companies in the segments of grocery and drugs, convenience, hard lines, and fashion in case these are running pure retail for their fashion items.
For retail companies who are using IS Retail solution, SAP provides a standard migration tool and methodology for transforming to the S/4HANA Retail platform.
Comment from Kolja Hanke: Is there a plan / roadmap for SAP for Utilities on SAP S/4HANA?
Carl Dubler (SAP): Yes. Utilities is already a supported industry for SAP S/4HANA. There are now 24 industries supported.
Comment from Linda Yan: Is there any authorization concept change in SAP S/HANA?
Carl Dubler (SAP): No. But you might need to set up some infrastructure for Fiori UX (depending on how you want to use it). This is not exactly an authorization concept change, but close.
Comment from Matt: I am a partner and I would like know how to leverage the SAP S/4HANA Value Assurance Packages.
Daniel Gomes (SAP): You can find more information on the following links: https://partneredge.sap.com/en/welcome.html?pexpRequestedURL=%2Fen%2Fproducts%2Fs4h%2Fimplement%2Fvalueassurance.html
You can also contact our Global SAP Value Assurance Team at Partner_Value_Assurance@sap.com.
Watch: SAP S/4HANA in 2 Minutes Video Series Gain insights and a deeper understanding about SAP S/4HANA topics in these 2 minute video segments.
Read: Transition to SAP S/4HANA for process and road mapping for the migration to SAP S/4HANA