S/4HANA provides a collaborative platform that enables you  to use your core ERP in combination with cloud-based  applications in order to interact and integrate with external  parties such as customers (such as Hybris) and suppliers  (such as Ariba). It also supports a range of user interfaces (including SAP Fiori) and provides the possibility to link your  machines and IoT (e.g. through HANA Cloud Platform).
These cloud applications are not required for S/4HANA and  can also be used in combination with your existing ECC  environment. However, S/4HANA contributes a dedicated  platform to integrate and interact, thus providing a hybrid  enterprise-wide solution.


The starting-point of S/4HANA is the underlying in-memory  database and the possibilities that this technology offers for a different method of storing, processing and using data in transactions and reports (OLTP and OLAP). A key characteristic is that data is stored as much as possible at one location and that there are no separate  copies for various purposes such as multiple index tables in  the existing Finance module, redundant data in ERP and  data warehousing. Storing the data in one location not only  saves storage space; but also provides a “single source of truth,” thereby reducing the risk of data inconsistency. Because of the HANA in-memory technology, your data can  be used in near real-time, e.g. running a real-time MRP run  or performing real-time simulations in Finance


The FINANCIAL function is shifting from its traditional focus on transactional processes and retrospective reports to focusing on financial performance and prospective management insights. Financial back-office processes and period closings are increasingly seen as standard activities that have to be got right first time and are highly automated. This has to be supported by a high-quality, standardized ERP system with minimal complexity. This change is mainly made possible by using the latest technology in the areas of data analytics, in-memory computing (such as SAP HANA and S/4HANA) and various digital technologies >such as the cloud, mobile and Robotics Process Automation (RPA).


The focus of the modern SUPPLY CHAIN function is on developing new methods to further streamline simplify and integrate processes, as well as providing better and real-time insight into the entire supply chain for both the internal and external users, e.g. suppliers. In order to achieve this, the technology has to be integrated into the supply chain model, through e.g. in-memory computing (such as SAP HANA), cloud, mobile and integration with business networks (such as Ariba). Typical examples of developments in the supply chain are improved real-time MRP, real-time insights on stock levels and automated shipping and tracking.


A lot is changing in the field of MANUFACTURING and MAINTENANCE. These changes are driven by new technology within the manufacturing sector (e.g. 3D printing) as well as the underlying manufacturing and maintenance processes. Typical examples show that increased productivity and better control can be achieved by 1) using data analytics for predictive maintenance, 2) using the Internet of Things (IoT) to obtain automated messages when something is broken, or 3) obtaining production data and using in- memory computing (such as SAP HANA) to generate real-time production updates.


The CRM function is rapidly changing mainly because of the latest technological developments. Traditional CRM processes and technologies have been focused on improving the efficiency of operational processes for sales, marketing and customer service users. In future CRM environments, these will be basic activities that are expected out of the box. At present, the focus is on providing better service through improved user experience and supporting the customer during their search for a product or service.Additionally, the focus is also on providing insights into CRM data for a wide group of users both inside and outside of the organization. These developments are made possible by improved functionality, integration of CRM applications and the application of new digital technologies such as in-memory computing (e.g. SAP HANA, the cloud, mobile and the connection to the Internet of Things) through the merging of structured and unstructured data