What You Need to Know About SAP’s New ERP, S/4HANA

S/4HANA is SAP’s complete cloud ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solution, centered around SAP’s HANA database, which allows you to perform real-time transactions and business data analysis and opens up new possibilities in your cloud infrastructure.

S/4HANA was introduced by SAP in 2015, and, formally, SAP sees S/4HANA as a new product and not as Business Suite’s or ECC’s successor.

To quickly inform you about S/4HANA, we look at the following topics:

Differences Between S/4HANA and Business Suite/ECC

Besides enabling real-time processing, S/4HANA is different from Business Suite/ECC in these ways:

  • With S/4HANA, you no longer need named user licenses to access packages and only need S/4HANA licenses for the Digital Core.
  • S/4HANA only runs on the HANA database, whereas Business Suite runs on third-party databases like Micrsoft SQL Server, Oracle, or IBM DB/2.

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Should You Migrate to S/4HANA?

The short answer: Yes, you should. Simply because SAP ends the support of Business Suite/ECC in 2030, and you don’t want to run your critical systems unsupported.

In addition, SAP will increase maintenance fees for Business Suite/ECC from 2027, which will lead to higher costs for you.

Furthermore, S/4HANA offers you the following features to make your organization future-proof:

  • Real-time processing.
  • Operational and analytical reporting in one system.
  • Simplified and, therefore, faster processing.
  • Better support for data analysis.
  • More flexibility because the user interface runs on any device.


And migrating to S/4HANA enables you to trade in your unused licenses and negotiate an optimized licensing contract. Especially when:

  • Your current contract is so complex that you don’t precisely know what you own.
  • You pay maintenance on unused licenses.
  • Your licensing needs have changed as your SAP landscape evolved.

The Migration Process

Support for Business Suite ends in 2027, so you have time to migrate in the best way that works for you. But don’t wait too long because the migration takes time for your organization to implement and adapt.

You start with mapping what you currently own and what licenses you have. Then you compare this to your gathered licensing requirement and determine the S/4HANA licenses you need. Next, you negotiate a new contract with SAP, and finally, you start to implement S/4HANA.

Contract Conversion Methods

SAP offers you the following contract conversion methods for migrating to S/4HANA:

  • Contract conversion
    With this option, you turn your SAP contract history into credit, and with this credit, you negotiate and purchase a new S/4HANA contract.
  • Product conversion
    With this option, you move your contract from Business Suite/ECC to S/4HANA piece by piece.

Either way, you can run your new S/4HANA and your current Business Suite/ECC side-by-side and migrate at your best pace as long as:

  • You comply with license levels for both Business Suite/ECC and S/4HANA.
  • You keep using your third-party database like Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle.

Also, read our blog post about S/4HANA migration if you need more help deciding whether to move to S/4HANA.

Get Help From a Software Licensing Expert

You can do the requirements gathering and negotiating stages of the migration process yourself or call-in help from your implementation partner. However, practice shows that implementation partners aren’t software licensing experts. As a result, you’ll likely end up with higher licensing costs than needed and a migration contract that isn’t fully tailored to your situation and appears inflexible and suboptimal.

All the more reason to enlist the help of a software licensing expert like Blackbelt XP. We provide you with the optimal number of S/4HANA licenses, the highest discount level, and the best migration approach, as it is our mission to bring your compliance up and your costs down.

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