S/4HANA is currently SAP’s most important product. This is the next generation platform. In combination with SAP HANA (see SAP HANA) in-memory technology, you benefit from greatly accelerated data processing and analysis. The core goal is a seamless user and process experience for companies and their cooperation partners. SAP S/4HANA enables you to create new business models that are able to cope with the speed and data volumes of digital transformation. The platform is also referred to as the “SAP gateway” to a digital and flexible process in the working environment. In this respect, the switch to S/4 not only changes the systemic data handling, but also offers the opportunity for new working methods and structures within companies.

Advantages and goals of SAP S/4HANA

In order to be part of the competition and to remain so in the future, your company is required to have an ever shorter innovation cycle. But this is just one of the many benefits that the SAP platform offers:

  • A basis for complete process automation

  • Mapping all E2E processes along the supply chain

  • High-performance data storage – 50% lower data volume

  • High transparency through, for example, extended real-time analyses

  • Low maintenance intensity

  • S/4HANA enables a scalable system with a needs-based composition through a few predefined core processes

  • Device- and location-independent use, thanks to user-friendly Fiori interfaces

  • Intelligent extensions through SAP Ariba, SAP Leonardo and Success Factors

  • Coupled with SAP HANA database: Processing and combining large amounts of data for ideal big data management. Just right for the use of artificial intelligence, for example.

Operating modes of the SAP S/4HANA platform

There are different ways to operate the platform. The most important three are briefly presented below:

SAP-S/4HANA, S/4HANA Betriebsformen, Cloud, On-Premise, hybrid, S/4, S/4HANA Extended Edition

Conversion to SAP S/4HANA: Greenfield, Brownfield, Bluefield?

Another very individual decision is how to proceed with the introduction. An example of a successful Greenfield approach (see S/4HANA migration: Greenfield) is the company Zalando. The flagship for S/4HANA gave up the existing and grown structures and completely implemented the solution in the summer of 2020. The company is therefore starting from scratch (on a Greenfield site) in terms of data technology. Relevant legacy data will be migrated gradually. The approach has the advantage that a very heterogeneous and possibly individualized IT landscape can be migrated to a standard version in a homogeneous environment. It enables a new beginning and an ideal starting point for future changes. You can also find more information here: SAP S/4HANA migration: Greenfield.

But there are also companies with other priorities. Anyone who has already invested a lot of time in customizing their ERP naturally has the right to adopt certain processes. With the Brownfield approach, the existing systems receive an upgrade to the new version of the Business Suite. They will then gradually be converted to S/4HANA. This means that the previous landscape is largely retained, but at the same time benefits from the advantages of the new software. You can also find more information here: S/4HANA migration: Brownfield.

Of course, a middle ground between Greenfield and Brownfield is also conceivable (Bluefield). Our consultants always recommend: You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. But: new beginnings should be made where they are necessary. At the same time, regardless of the approach, it is always important to ensure structured change management that takes employees along and supports them.

Future SAP S/4HANA

SAP will phase out regular maintenance for ECC 6.0  in 2027. Updates are only available for an additional charge until 2030. Switching too late can have consequences for companies. Errors and vulnerabilities are then no longer eliminated in SAP ERP. This creates risks for system operation and business processes. 20% of existing SAP customers have already started the transition in 2021.

Our recommendation is to be involved with the introduction of SAP S/4 HANA at the earliest possible time. We would be happy to consult and support you during this important step. Our experienced developers know which parts of the custom code need to be adjusted before a migration so that the move runs smoothly. We will firstly examine your system in a migration workshop (see SAP S/4HANA migration workshop) and ensure that all basic requirements for the changeover are met. Dedicated colleagues will help you with all relevant change management processes and support you in choosing the right form of operation and migration strategy.

Questions about SAP S/4HANA?

Contact us to learn more about the transition and how we can support your organization. If you currently have a pressing challenge or questions about the topic, you can reach us on 05119362060 or write an email to sapberatung@inwerken.de. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Further information to our Portfolio


H. Lexow, Director, Inwerken Jena
Holger Lexow
Director | SAP-Consulting

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