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By Stefan Engelhardt and Dieter Körber

Related to: International SAP Conference for Utilities, Innovation Breakout Track, April 15, 2015

In February 2015, SAP announced the SAP Business Suite 4 on HANA (SAP S/4HANA), the next generation core ERP solution. Built on the design principle of simplicity and connecting state-of-the art business processes in real-time with external networks and the Internet of Things, SAP S/4HANA will become the game changing innovation platform for the next generation Utility Enterprise.

The first important step on the journey to this brand-new Next Generation ERP Platform was the adaptation of SAP’s market leading Utilities Business Suite to SAP HANA in 2013. The integration of analytical and transactional data and processes on one technical platform marked a paradigm shift in the history of business applications: The in-memory technology of HANA enabled the convergence of operational and commercial IT for the first time and paved the ground for a new dimension of business analytics based on real-time information during the process runtime.

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The next logical step was consequently the simplification of the application infrastructure through the reduction of aggregates and tables that are no longer needed in the new real-time world – the S/4HANA vision was born and SAP decided to start the reinvention of the Business Suite with a simplified component for Financials (SAP Simple Finance), which became available already in 2014. The next milestone will be the delivery of a simplified logistics component (SAP Simple Logistics), followed by further components of the Business Suite.

SAP S/4HANA is developed on a completely new codeline and can be consumed either on-premise or via Cloud-services. Thus it creates unique opportunities to not only run your day-to-day business in real-time with industry best practices but also to reinvent business models and drive new revenues through: 

  • Reimagined business models: Simplicity to connect to people, devices and business networks in real-time to deliver new experiences and value to customers. Internet of things and big data become accessible to any business – no more complex business collaboration and interactions 

  • Reimagined business decisions: Simplicity to get any insight on any data from anywhere in real-time: planning, execution, prediction, simulation are now all done on the fly to drive faster business impact – no more complex data consolidation through Excel 

  • Reimagined business processes: Simplicity to focus on the essential tasks in real-time and gain flexibility and agility to change business processes as needed for new efficiencies.

From an IT value perspective, S/4HANA can dramatically simplify the landscape with SAP HANA as the great simplifier through: 

  • Reimagined user experience: Simplicity to get the job done across lines of business with a personalized, responsive and simple user experience available on any device - no more complex and different Uis - minimizing training efforts while increasing productivity. 

  • Reimagined data models: Simplicity to reduce data footprint and work with larger data sets in one system to save costs (hardware and operational) and time - no more indices, aggregates, data redundancies and discrepancies between systems 

  • Reimagined configuration: Simplicity to configure with an intuitive guided configuration for easy adoption

We will explain in our presentation at the 10th International SAP Utilities Conference how Utilities can benefit from S/4HANA already today and how SAP supports the migration from the classical Business Suite to S/4HANA. Furthermore we will describe how existing SAP Cloud Solutions complement S/4HANA and provide finally an outlook on the further evolution of SAP’s industry-specific components on the new platform.