SAP has announced ‘S/4Hana’, the successor to S/3 or SAP Business Suite, with an easier-to-use interface, disruption free migration and super-fast data analysis with Hana.
The new ERP announced this afternoon boasts “re-written code (no materialised aggregates)” that make the most of Hana’s speedy data crunching. It uses SAP Fiori’s interface and is available as SaaS and on-premise.
It even has the added bonus, Bernd Leukert demonstrated, of accessibility for certain applications on a smartwatch thanks to the Fiori interface.
During the launch in New York, a demonstration revealed how the speedier Hana-enabled replacement to SAP R/3 – which has been around since 1992 – can crunch data “on the fly”.
Showcasing the financial applications screen for a hypothetical company, Bernd Leukrt analysed data for the last eight financial quarters –245 million line items - for profits and losses in its China division within seconds.
The launch centred on cloud customers. Founder, Hasso Plattner confirmed that the vendor would be chasing the services industry, a perfect candidate for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), which he believes can run much “more easily” than an on-premise model.
He said: “The oil industry is not going to the cloud first, the banks are not going to the cloud first, hospitals in Europe are not allowed to go in the cloud so we have a focus on the market where we have the highest market potential, like the services industry.”
But Plattner did take the time to discuss options for the cloud shy. He said that SAP will follow Salesforce’s lead and develop cloud products that can be configured for on-premise customers.
“Customers can have the same cosy feeling that their data is at home”, he added.
While SAP’s cloud revenue has mostly been generated from recent acquisitions of Fieldglass, Ariba, Concur and SuccessFactors; its on-premise customers – the license and maintenance fee payers, still make up its core SAP user base revenue.
Previously the vendor put a deadline on on-premise support for its ERP. But at the end of last year the vendor softened its cloud-first stance and announced, albeit very quietly, that it would extend on-premise maintenance for customers. But only if they run on ECC 6.0.
Large organisations who want to move to the new ERP, on the cloud or off, will benefit from parallel rollouts, Plattner added. This means that the new system will be installed with the old SAP graphical user interface (GUI) until employees are comfortable with the new software and ready to work in the SAP Fiori interface.
Commenting on the launch, principcal at Deloitte Consulting’s Jan Waals said: “ “Deloitte has been delivering SAP HANA since some of the first clients adopted the platform, and working closely with clients on the adoption of SAP Simple Finance. As an in-memory technology, SAP HANA removes the latency of decision-making and is foundational to the future of real-time business. SAP S/4HANA is a game-changer for ERP and provides an entirely new way for our clients to simplify their business and provide a better customer experience in a digital, networked and complex world.”
SAP did not disclose whether there would be any cost incentives to get customer's to upgrade. Tech Market View analyst Angela Eager said: "We don’t know if there will be any financial incentives to encourage adoption but they would help SAP reach its cloud subscription goal of $3.5bn-$3.6bn revenue in 2017 and the ambitious $7.5bn-$8bn targeted for 2020, although at what cost in terms of profitability remains unknown. The level of change S/4HANA represents and the ‘cloud first’ commitment, are both necessary, major statements of direction."