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Today marks the general availability of the SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021 release – the most intelligent and comprehensive ERP to date. In this blog post, I have the pleasure to share with you the key aspects that bring intelligence to our Digital Core along with some of the highlights of the release.

To get an overview of my personal highlights, watch my video below.


Foundation of the Digital Core

Before we start with my top highlights from our SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021 release, let’s find out what the foundation of the Digital Core is. We consider the following four aspects:

  1. An architecture that delivers a scalable foundation to transact at the highest possible automation,

  2. A system of intelligence that supports and steers the business using embedded analytics, simulation, prediction, and decision support to run LIVE business,

  3. An end-to-end experience that can be implemented, consumed, and adapted faster,

  4. And an open architecture to allow connectivity and adoption of micro-services.

What Makes the Digital Core Intelligent?

The foundation to connect your data, automate key functions, and constantly improve your products and services lies in a modernized ERP. In order to successfully modernize your ERP, you need to keep these three aspects in mind:

  1. A digital-age user experience: Conversational UIs and natural language processing allows us to target a hands-free ERP by 2021

  2. Automation of business processes: Automation mainly addresses companies’ bottom lines and helps to reduce costs. We strive for ever increasing automation of more ERP business processes within the next years.

  3. The next generation of business processes: We provide a streamlined architecture and technology never seen before. We aim to increase the top line by providing an infrastructure which allows us to completely rethink value creation and service tasks.


Highlights in SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021

We keep expanding our capabilities with every release, making it possible for our customers to fully benefit from the latest innovations. With SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021, we have always new key innovations. Let me walk you through what this release has in store for you.


Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is becoming a necessity to future-proof any business, and we at SAP are putting all our efforts into benefitting from the latest AI capabilities for our intelligent enterprise. An interesting aspect of AI is Machine Learning, which uses algorithms that use data to make automatic predictions and decisions, automatically improving through each new experience.


Asset Management

In Asset Management, we ship machine-learning-based suggestions for object part code or damage code in notifications for maintenance technicians. In order to ensure an adequate maintenance, a maintenance technician needs to always observe the condition of the technical object. In case of a malfunction, machine learning algorithms and statistical models interpret the short and long text of a maintenance notification to suggest a damage and object part code to facilitate the maintenance and increase data quality.

Public Sector Industry

Another example for the use of machine learning is in the Public Sector, where we ship a new SAP Fiori app, Discover Taxpayer Behavior, to visualize the customer journey, trends, and insights. Here, the user can define and view attributes for entities and events and see related risks more easily – for example, in related scenarios or customer subaccounts. This offers a more personalized collection process and helps with gaining transparency into why a customer is classified in a particular risk score.





With the integration of SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) with Financial Planning in SAP Analytics Cloud, we enable a more accurate and efficient profitability planning by including consensus demand plans from sales and operations planning. We provide an export of a detailed profitability plan and extend sales planning content in SAP Analytics Cloud by integrating data from SAP IBP for sales and operations planning.

Sourcing and Procurement

In Sourcing and Procurement, we enable price-trend analysis for central purchase contracts through a KPI analytics app which includes price trends in central contract line items, ranging from the causes of time down to price-condition levels, a differentiation by plant-independent and plant-specific price conditions, and reasons for price changes on the price-condition level stored within the line-item history of the central contract. This provides improved analytical insights into the price trends in central purchase contracts and increases transparency into price volatility.


Digital Transformation



In the area of Convergent Invoicing, we offer end-to-end monitoring and alerts for real-time intervention through the consolidation of critical, end-to-end process information in an intelligent and comprehensive cockpit. You can monitor key phases in convergent invoicing and contract accounting for real-time alerts and prevent any customer issues by identifying and correcting issues in real time. Find more highlights in this area in this blog post.



In Sales Order Management and Processing we have multiple SAP Fiori apps to reduce manual effort and facilitate operational processes. For example, you can benefit from the automatic creation of sales orders from unstructured data. With the Create Sales Orders – Automated Extraction SAP Fiori app, you can create sales orders from PDF files. After a purchase order file is uploaded, the system automatically extracts data and determines master data. Another example is the creation of sales orders through spreadsheet upload. Here, you can create sales orders by importing Excel files. The app provides preview of the excel data and identifies input errors such as missing values in mandatory fields, format errors, or duplicated data.​


Industry 4.0


Manufacturing and Supply Chain

In Extended Production Operations, the integration with smart equipment allows actions to trigger communication from production engineering and operations (PEO) to equipment with a set of new interfaces for data exchange. Here you can trigger actions for operating activities remotely without any user action. With this, we support the usage of SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP MII) optionally and plan to manage the communication with SAP Plant Connectivity. This automated data collection leads to an improved data accuracy and higher efficiency of workers.


In the field of Extended Warehouse Management, we support staging from SAP Manufacturing Execution and SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud based on operations, providing transparency on the storage bin of the components. Staging tasks are created automatically as soon as there is free capacity in the production supply area and a notification is sent to SAP Manufacturing Execution and SAP Digital Manufacturing Cloud when the assembly process can be started. This leads into a better utilization of space on the production line and a more-efficient utilization of production resources.


Digital-Age User Experience


Supply Chain

A new backward consumption strategy for product allocation increases the options to control quantity consumption during the product allocation process in advanced Available-to-Promise. The additional backward consumption direction “backward with earliest first, then forward” in addition to the existing default direction “backward, then forward” serves as a new setting on the product allocation sequence constraint with a defaulting on the sequence group and sequence-header level.

Product Compliance

In Product Compliance, we deliver various new SAP Fiori apps to maintain data for safety data sheets. For example, a new SAP Fiori app to manage accidental release measures data for unpacked products, a new SAP Fiori app to manage toxicological information for substances, and a new SAP Fiori app to manage ecological information for unpacked products and substances. These apps offer a concept to control when information is ready to be used and provide an option to add notes and attachments for further explanation of the information entered. With this innovation, we enable you to manage your data more easily and provide flexibility to extend and adapt calculated data through expert knowledge.

SAP Product Footprint Management

Now more than ever it is clear that remaining sustainable is a crucial step in keeping our business and environment healthy. Therefore, more and more companies are looking for a holistic solution to take the right steps towards sustainability. With our SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021 release, we now offer integration scenarios to provision business activity and master data for SAP Product Footprint Management. We enable business users to replicate business activity and master data from SAP S/4HANA Cloud as a primary source for product footprint calculation based on a specified set of plants and a time range. With this innovation, you can leverage the preconfigured API from SAP for integration with SAP Product Footprint Management without the need to run complex integration projects with IT.


Zero Downtime Option for SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021

The SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021 release marks the general availability of Zero Downtime Option for SAP S/4HANA, achieving a significant reduction of the overall business downtime. This leads to a built-in zero-downtime maintenance capability and the ability to perform upgrades and updates without technical downtime while supporting release upgrades and feature and support package stack updates.

SAP Activate for SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021

Last but not least, we have released fit-to-standard as part of our SAP Activate Methodology for SAP S/4HANA. This covers all aspects of fit-to-standard in the deliverables, tasks, and related accelerators which help guide users. Additionally, we have created a new accelerator to make it easier for you to follow the “Fit-to-Standard” approach in your implementation project – even remotely. You can join the SAP Activate Community for further information.



Enterprise Management Layer for SAP S/4HANA, the Golden Standard of SAP Best Practices

Accelerate your SAP S/4HANA implementation with the enterprise management layer for SAP S/4HANA!

The enterprise management layer is a global template designed for new and existing customers operating in multiple countries that are looking for a golden template offering standard, preconfigured end-to-end business processes to start their SAP S/4HANA journey.

Don’t miss the latest update here.



This blog covers only selected innovations for selected LoBs and Industries. You can find the entire overview of innovations in the What’s New Document published on the SAP Help Portal.

To get further insights into our SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021 release, watch Yannick Peterschmitt’s deep dive of the release highlights and read his blog post.


For more information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud and SAP S/4HANA 2021, check out the following links: 


Follow us via @Sap and #S4HANA, or myself via @SDenecken