SAP S/4HANA – what is scope or coverage of S/4HANA ??

Are you, like many others, confused about what is scope coverage of SAP S/4HANA ?? then this is the article for you. Here I try to throw some light on topic and list reasons that contribute to the question.

But first thing first, I presume that you would be aware about SAP S/4HANA, the newly launched next-generation ERP Business Suite.

If not, no-problem, here is the definition of SAP S/4HANA and link where you can get more info:

SAP S/4HANA is a real-time enterprise resource management suite for digital business. It is built on SAP’s own advanced in-memory platform, SAP HANA, and offers a personalised, consumer-grade user experience with SAP Fiori. Deployable in the cloud or on premise, SAP S/4HANA can drive instant value across all lines of business – no matter your industry or business size.

More details about SAP S/4HANA can be found here

So far so good… the confusion starts when one askes about “what is covered in S/4HANA” Why this Question ??

The reasons are many :

1) Evolving Product : This ERP Suite is still in it’s initial stages of release road-map. As per SAP’s documentation, the journey has just started recently and in few years a full-fledged S/4HANA SUITE (with all expected innovations in Digital Core, Products & S/4HANA Suite products” will become available. The first release of S/4HANA Enterprise Management is 1511 and latest release is 1610. Next release is expected in year 2017, month 09 (1709). So far, the yearly release planned is using the logic (+YYYY-MM) & version named as YYMM when it would be release, i.e. we can expect S/4HANA versions in year 2018 released as 1808 and so on (based on current SAP document, may change in future)

2) Classical Solution & Compatibility-Packs : Due to the eight or nine year long roadmap, to facilitate faster adoption of S/4HANA, the intermediate solution that SAP has provided is to adopt S/4HANA Digital Core with Classical-solutions. Here Functionalities of SAP Suite on HANA (SOH) & SAP ERP are referred to as Classical Solutions. The Classical solutions will eventually get replaced with S/4HANA Suite & SAP S/4HANA solutions. These Classical solutions are part of Compatibility Packs [CPs] with usage right till Dec 2025. one of the example is Customer Service (CS) module which is part of CP, available in S/4HANA 1610.

3) Consolidation of SAP Solution Stack & Introduction of New Solutions : With S/4HANA, many of existing CORE ECC modules/sub-modules/functionalities have been identified as “non-strategic”. If current ECC-users or new business requires these functionalities which are part of a “non-strategic module/functions” then clients have to adopt the “strategic solution” as per S/4HANA roadmap. These “strategic-solutions” can be categorized as (i) new S/4HANA Solutions part of Extended S/4HANA Product or (ii) in some cases existing SAP Products which are being Enhanced/built for S/4HANA.

(a) One of example is SAP SD-FT & MM-FT (Foreign Trade) functionality of ECC. It is not a strategic solution as per SAP S/4HANA’s functionality listing and hence not available in S/4HANA from start release(1511) itself. However Only Intrastate functionality of Foreign trade is available in S/4HANA. For other functionalities like Export, Import etc, Clients are advised to start using and switch to SAP GTS.

(b) Another Example is WM. WM, which is currently available as part of SAP ERP module is going to become obsolete & SAP recommends using SAP EWM as alternate product or use Embedded EWM in S/4HANA.

(c) Another example is ECC’s PP-S&OP functionality – The strategic decision is use cloud-based SAP IBP solution. Well existing clients of SAP using SAP’s SCM solutions APO Demand Planning & APO-SNP, the integration with existing SCM solutions is possible, however SAP is not investing in any future development of these products. SAP IBP is strategic solution for Sales & Operations Planning.

4) The Digital CORE, the LOB PRODUCTs (Extended S/4 Solution) & S/4HANA SUITE Products :

How to read above diagram ? At high level the functionalities are covered as part of S/4HANA Digital Core, S/4HANA Products [sometimes referenced to as Extended SAP S/4HANA Digital-Core] and S/4HANA Suite Products.

Reading from Central CORE (Dark-blue part) to outer areas (white boxes)

  • S/4HANA Digital CORE is DARK BLUE a New Generation ERP with application-component called S4CORE.

As per SAP’s documentation – ‘The dark blue area shows “the digital core” referring to functionality that is technically part of the S/4HANA shipment and included in the S/4HANA Enterprise Management license – e.g. Accounting’

  • S/4HANA Products [Extended S/4HANA Core] is LIGHT BLUE – It contains New Innovations of S/4HANA. It may requires activation of Business-function or initially provided as an add-on. It is licensed item as per SAP’s document, however from time to time & Customer to customer SAP’s licencing may vary, hence I leave that part out of identification.

As per SAP’s documentation – ‘The light blue area shows “S/4HANA products” which are S/4HANA-branded solutions. These solutions are either technically part of S/4HANA (part of the S/4HANA shipment or deployed as an add-on) or they require S/4HANA as their digital core – e.g. Cash Management’

  • S/4HANA Suite products – are Products designed for S/4HANA.

As per SAP’s documentation – ‘The white box signifies non-S/4HANA-branded solutions, which are part of the larger S/4HANA Suite, when talking about a specific shipment, we can limit what we show here by including only components, which have an “out-of-the-box” integration – e.g. Employee Central’

(5) The Scope-Figure [As -on TODAY*]

This figure above shows what is available as scope as on today and subject to change as product evolves. example is – S/4HANA 1610 larger-view, shows SAP Transportation Management (TM) in white space [as S/4 Suite product], however as per SAP’s recent Road-map, one can expect “embedded TM functionality” in S/4HANA CORE. This is expected somewhere two years down the line and at that point in time the “Embedded TM” entry will also be found in Light-blue area of the diagram.

(6) Last but not the lease – Is Embedded Solution right-fit for me?

THE SCOPE and benefits that you can derive out of YOUR S/4HANA adoption will also depends on the choice you make about using Embedded solutions (functionality available as part of in embedded solutions – Products-light-blue) verses the SAP SUITE product

Example – That means that, as the early-adopter of S/4HANA, or existing SAP clients, at a given point in time, one may have to choose between three possible options (i) ECC LE-TR module (which have been identified as ‘non-strategic’) not supported in S/4HANA core, however temporarily in-transit period available as CP item] – definitely not advisable to use (ii) use SAP Transportation Management as SUITE Product (iii) use Embedded TM as part of digital core. Well the functional coverage of functionalities available in SAP TM & expected Embedded TM is likely to remain same, however with usage / business scenario, technical differences and benefits make it important decision to take. Again this info is based on SAP’s various documents available as on today.


Sharing few SAP links for quick ref. – SAP Roadmaps can be viewed here

  • SAP S/4HANA roadmap can be found under CROSS-TOPIC,
  • SAP SCM Products Roadmaps are available under “Line of Business” &
  • Industry Roadmaps are available under “Industry” tab.

SAP S/4HANA 1610 documentation can be viewed here

Looking forward to receive your comments about this blog, what you would like it to include and questions in case any.

NOTE : This article was published on March 3, 2017, on Linkedin by me at

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