“Who’s on First?”: Keeping Score of S/4 HANA Cloud and On-Premise Releases

“With which release of S/4 HANA should we begin our journey?” is a question our clients frequently ask us.

SAP has five editions of S/4 HANA Business Suite, and it’s tough to keep track of them. The easy answer is to ask your SAP Account Representative. If that is not convenient, then here is an easy way to keep track.

S/4 HANA has two core offerings, on-premise (OP) and cloud.  There is one on-premise edition and four cloud editions, one private and three public.

SAP released the first OP edition in February 2015, referred to as S/4 HANA 1502 Enterprise Management. This edition consisted of the functionality that many customers know as ECC. The SAP naming convention for tracking releases is YYMM, i.e. YEAR = 15, MONTH = 02. Release 1511 was the first major on-premise version for SAP, available in November 2015 and contained the simplification of the finance and controlling data structures.

For the on-premise edition, SAP will release a major release annually. The next major release is planned for October 2016, release 1610.

According to SAP Product Development and Co-Innovation Group, minor innovations are released on a periodic basis as a Feature Package Stack (FPS). Up to this point, the FPS’ have been released quarterly, but this is not a commitment by SAP. The most recent FPS released was 1511 FPS 02. The next stack is planned for release in August 2016, 1511 FPS 03.

A customer can begin their S/4 journey from any release, 1511 or 1511 FPS02. Each release contains the simplified data models, enhanced functionality, and industry-specific solutions.

1511 FPS 02 delivered significant functionality in the Supply Chain and Order-to-Cash (OTC) that many customers were anticipating.  Some new functionality that is attracting interest is:

  • Advanced ATP;
  • Material Master and MRP Field Enhancements;
  • SD Pricing and Billing.

There are hundreds of enhancements across all Lines of Business in this FPS that augments current business processes leveraging the HANA technology. For a complete list of the Simplification and Enhancements in 1511 FPS 02, Click Here.

For the Cloud Editions, referred to as “Cloud Enterprise” innovations are released quarterly.  The convention also adheres to YYMM: Release 1603 in March 2016 and most recently 1605 available in May 2016.

The cloud solutions release functionality in advance of the on-premise solution. There isn’t a one-to-one correlation of functionality released in the cloud that will appear in the OP edition. However, there is a relationship between the two editions. We recommend that you review the Simplification List for functionality available in each release.

The following diagram presents the current innovation cycles for cloud and on-premise.

HANA

Which S/4 option is right for you varies depending upon your requirements and roadmap. To gain clarity and predictability of your options and roadmap, clients hire Titan to assess the options and provide an independent, agnostic view of the functional and technical alternatives.

To find out how we, Titan’s Advisory Services, can help build your roadmap, contact Mark Vasinda, mvasinda@titanconsulting.net, 972.977.3100, or contact your Titan Consulting Director. You can see additional information on our Advisory Services page.