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SAP S/4HANA is the new ERP from SAP. It has been ported to HANA database technology, thereby allowing it to fully tap the strengths of “in-memory” technology. Computationally intensive tasks, such as job accounting, are carried out in S/4 directly in the database, which makes them much faster.

Alongside the technical transformation, S/4HANA also contains a significant enhancement in terms of content compared with the previous ERP system. It delivers information such as clients, orders, products or industries directly from the general ledger account for reports. To do so, it uses something known as an integrated posting document, which links accounting data with information from controlling, logistics or CRM.

Simplification of Profitability Analysis

Thus, all the relevant information is made available in detailed form in one document, which makes the profitability analysis and subsequent statement of operating results considerably simpler. When combined with the clear improvement in the account-based profitability analysis, this means that both accountant and controller work with identical information. Examples of these improvements include the calculation of standard manufacturing costs or cost center and cost unit deviations which can now take place in accounting. The fact that internal and external accounting are now able to coordinate their work means there is no need for complicated bridges for the period closings.

Optimization of Planning and Reporting

In SAP S/4HANA, operative reports are based on all the dimensions of the single document (from the universal ledger) and can also be analyzed accordingly. This makes reporting simpler, faster and more flexible, while at the same time the process path is shorter because reporting can now take place directly from the ERP system and no additional data transfer to a data warehouse is necessary. Moreover, the new user interface “Fiori” makes operating the system more intuitive, while different device types are supported, which also makes reporting as a whole both better and more flexible to use.

The planning function in the HANA database allows the planning department direct access to the master and transaction data of controlling, which eliminates inconsistencies and creates a perfect data pool for simulations and projections.

How to use SAP S/4HANA

Although the use of SAP S/4HANA offers plenty of potential for simplifying operative performance management, a number of prerequisites must be in place before it can be used. The complete utilization of the potentials described here requires a detailed technical concept as the best-possible integration of quantity and value flows is absolutely vital for the quality of the subsequent management information.

As a result, we recommend you always start with a feasibility study which assesses the underlying requirements and conditions and evaluates core processes, reporting, system architecture and possible roll-out scenarios. The result of such a study comes in the form of a clear roadmap for introducing SAP S/4HANA.