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At TechEd in Las Vegas I have been digging into what we can expect to be in the next release of S/4HANA (called the 1511 release) which is due in November.

This is the first release of S/4HANA that will start to impact functional areas other than Finance and I think it is a significant release that will put some clear blue functional water between SAP Business Suite on SAP HANA (SoH) and SAP Business Suite for HANA (S/4HANA).

No Simple Logistics

The first thing I was very pleased to hear is that the word Simple is being dropped from the product names so we will not see Simple Logistics. I think this is good as the businesses processes that run on these systems are far from Simple. However this does not mean that Simplification is not still at the heart of what is driving the S/4HANA development teams. This simplification impacts at a number of levels. The obvious one that is talked about a lot is the removal of duplicated and aggregated data in the system – to a certain degree this is the easy part of the job with most of these aggregates being replaced with views that are calculated on the fly. The harder part of simplification is deciding what features should be added to the system, which features should be removed from the system (as they are over complicated or just aren’t used), how those features should be configure / extended (see ACTIVATE) and finally how they should be exposed to the user (see Fiori UI).

See the Wood for the Trees - The Simplification Database

To help customers / partners understand what is changing and where it will impact, a Simplification Database will be released with the 1511 release that will show what has changed and how it has changed. This tool will also be integrated into the Code Check tool that will allow modifications to be scanned to see if they will work in the S/4HANA architecture. This blog by Sven Denecken gives more details on this. This tool should allow technical and functional teams the ability to get down and dirty on the real impacts of the Simplification changes and build the business case required to make the move.

RFRK – FICO – Finance

So if we aren’t getting Simple Logistics, what are we getting ? From what I know, it looks like we are going to go back to the idea of modules within the product. The ones I have seen are :-

  • Finance
  • Human Resource
  • Sourcing and Procurement
  • Supply Chain
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Service
  • Asset Management
  • Research and Development

So once S/4HANA 1511 gets released each functional area can be reviewed to see what has been simplified and how it links to other Line of Business Apps (e.g SuccessFactors, Hybris, Ariba). From this analysis decisions can be made about how they evolve their platforms towards and into S/4HANA.

I am sure we will hear more in Barcelona !.

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