4 Ways SAP S/4HANA Simplifies Architecture Challenges Faced by ERP Software

Today, ERP implementations often face the challenge of failing to deliver the speed, flexibility, and intelligence needed in the digital era. Companies desire innovative digital approaches to achieve scalability and real organizational success.


SAP has transformed its SAP ERP technology and application architecture to create SAP S/4HANA, which meets modern-day business requirements while retaining the capabilities that made SAP ERP successful.


SAP S/4HANA Architecture

Below is an overview of the features that shape the architecture of SAP S/4HANA.

Stable and Flexible Digital Core

SAP S/4HANA strives to make software updates become nonevents. By keeping the core clean and stable, SAP S/4HANA can be deployed and updated faster. This reduces upgrade projects costs, which also means a reduction in total cost of ownership.

Simplification: The Principle of One

One of the core architecture principles of SAP S/4HANA is the principle of one, or the simplification of features and functionality to reduce overlap and redundancy. Each business process should have one solution. In SAP S/4HANA, this is accomplished through the deprecation of redundant frameworks, data models, UIs, and other elements from SAP ERP, as well as the elimination of non-required components for simplified deployment. To achieve this, the solution was separated into the following elements:

  • Mandatory parts: available in both on-premise and cloud deployments. These parts are developed in a common code line with a common data model to guarantee sustained compatibility over all deployment options.
  • Quarantined parts: not needed or wanted in cloud deployment. These parts can be removed from the cloud version.
  • Deprecated parts: removed in all deployment options.

The foundation of this open architecture and service orientation is a common data layer that makes the application architecture model-driven and enables its capabilities, especially in regards to extensibility. With the introduction of SAP HANA, a pervasive virtual data model became a central building block in SAP S/4HANA to serve transactional, analytical, and other purposes at the same time. It serves as a common integrator and ensures compatibility.


This central concept helps avoid redundancy, and ensures efficiency and consistency across the layers building on top of the virtual data model: analytical queries, UI services, integration services and APIs, search models, and data extraction.


The modularization of SAP S/4HANA is an important precondition to support hybrid scenarios in which enterprises are running parts of their SAP S/4HANA functionality in the cloud and other parts on premise. Hybrid deployments will be the common integration avenue for many ERP implementations for years to come, giving enterprises the flexibility to approach both digitalization and migration to the cloud, with public and private cloud and hybrid approaches.

Semantic Compatibility

The semantic compatibility between SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA data models, and between SAP S/4HANA on-premise and cloud deployments, allows for transition paths that are attainable for enterprises within a reasonable timeframe. With this compatibility, many of SAP ERP’s extension points remain available, which reduces the adoption effort for custom coding when moving to SAP S/4HANA. This means the least possible disruption for your business.


The qualities of SAP S/4HANA’s architecture enable enterprises to run their business processes in an efficient and flexible way. It’s important to understand the system’s foundation in order to leverage its capabilities, so we’ve published SAP S/4HANA Architecture to help you with this!


The SAP S/4HANA Architecture Book

Begin by exploring the foundation of SAP S/4HANA. You’ll get to know the characteristics of a modern ERP system, learn about the principles specific to SAP S/4HANA architecture, and dig into the technical foundation. Next, the book touches upon user experience, specifically SAP Fiori applications and strategies.


Intelligence and analytics are discussed to give readers an understanding about machine learning and intelligent situation handling. Then, dive into key user extensibility and side-by-side extensions. Explore sections on integration, from SAP S/4HANA integration interface technologies to integration middleware and data integration, and learn how to protect your data.



When it comes to application architecture, start off with details on master data, including the product master data model. Get in-depth details on processes like sales, service operations, sourcing and procurement, logistics and manufacturing, EWM, and finance. Then, you’ll gain insight on localization in SAP S/4HANA, including advanced compliance reporting, document compliance, and the localization toolkit for SAP S/4HANA Cloud.  


The book ends by providing readers with information on SAP S/4HANA Cloud-specific architecture and operations. You’ll explore scoping and configuration before learning about output management and identity and access management. Learn about cloud operations and the SAP S/4HANA cloud landscape, along with sizing and performance in the cloud. Finish with details on cloud security and compliance where you’ll gain an understanding of the network and data security architecture, and security processes.


Who Is This Book For?

This book is for technical and functional consultants, architects, administrators, programmers, and IT managers looking to understand the ins and outs of SAP S/4HANA’s architecture. It will help anyone who wants to explore anything from the foundational technical components to the application modules, on-premise and in the cloud.


About the Author

Thomas Saueressig is a member of the executive board of SAP SE. He leads the SAP Product Engineering area and has global responsibility for all business software applications. This includes all functional areas from product strategy and management to product development and innovation as well as product delivery and support. He is also in charge of all development cross-functions at SAP, comprising the overall quality of SAP software products, its user experience, and the underlying global cloud infrastructure.


Tobias Stein is a development senior executive and leads the SAP S/4HANA architecture area. Tobias is a software architecture expert and has more than 22 years of experience with SAP’s ERP (SAP Business Suite and SAP S/4HANA) application and solution architectures. As a member of SAP’s global leadership team, he is heading the central architecture unit in the SAP S/4HANA development organization. He is a TOGAF-certified Enterprise Architect.


Jochen Boeder is vice president of the SAP S/4HANA architecture area. He has more than 15 years of experience in the architecture of SAP business applications. At SAP, he leads a team of senior architects in the SAP S/4HANA engineering organization. He has co-authored several IT books, most prominently, The Architecture of SAP ERP.


Dr. Wolfram Kleis is a software architect in the SAP S/4HANA architecture area. He joined SAP more than 20 years ago and held several positions as developer and architect. Most recently he engineered cloud applications for Internet of Things before joining the central SAP S/4HANA architecture unit. He has a strong passion for describing software architecture and is the author of the SAP HANA chapter in the book The Architecture of SAP ERP.



How to Purchase

If you’re interested in purchasing SAP S/4HANA Architecture, follow this link and choose the format that works best for you: e-book, print edition, or bundle (both e-book and print).


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SAP S/4HANA Architecture
SAP S/4HANA Architecture

Pop the hood on SAP S/4HANA with this guide to its technical and application architecture! Understand the new data and programming models that underpin SAP S/4HANA and see how they differ from SAP ERP. Learn about technology components, like embedded analytics and integration. Then walk through the architecture of individual application areas like finance and logistics to see how they work and interact. Considering SAP S/4HANA Cloud? Explore scoping, compliance, performance, and more. Get the complete blueprint to SAP S/4HANA!

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SAP PRESS is the world's leading SAP publisher, with books on ABAP, SAP S/4HANA, SAP CX, intelligent technologies, SAP Business Technology Platform, and more!