Understanding your SAP S/4HANA deployment options

  • Date 11 Sep 2023
  • Filed under Insights

SAP S/4HANA is the latest SAP ERP software package which can manage all day-to-day processes of an enterprise. S/4HANA utilises the in-memory SAP HANA database and a state-of-the-art application structure to improve efficiency and productivity within your business processes, giving new flexibility and agility.

Though S/4HANA Cloud is a popular choice, S/4HANA can accommodate multiple deployment options, including cloud, on-premises, and hybrid environments, which depending on your specific needs, come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Here, we take a brief look at the most common SAP S/4HANA deployment options currently available and most commonly considered by our customers:

S/4HANA Public Cloud

The most cost-effective option which can deliver the fastest path to innovation for an organisation. Based on the public cloud, it is hosted and managed by SAP, and based on a pre-set solution delivery and market best practices and next practices. Lengthy implementation projects are replaced by outcome-oriented, fit-to-standard workshops in which the standard delivered processes are configured according to your requirements.

This option is largely preferred by small and medium-sized enterprises, who are driven by a desire for standardisation and cost reduction.

PRO: With this model, your SAP S/4HANA deployment is managed in an SAP data center. You simply pay a subscription fee, and the provider takes care of the rest.

CON: You have reduced control over your environment and have limited options to customise SAP S/4HANA Cloud. However, there is also a bright side to this. With the public cloud option, you will be the first to benefit from new features and capabilities, since updates take place on a regular basis.


S/4HANA Private Cloud

SAP launched this offering which includes full SAP S/4HANA functionality that is more flexible (compared to the public cloud option) and is a cloud version of S/4HANA dedicated solely to an organisation.

One of the key differences from the public cloud is that companies have more flexibility in introducing customisations and enhancements and can apply upgrades as per their timelines and requirements. This approach delivers a cloud-like experience for a company, while retaining the flexibility to adjust the solution as needed or to run a vast variety of partner add-ons on top of the solution.

PRO: With private cloud, you’re combining the best parts of on-premise deployment with the advantages of the cloud – faster innovation, greater flexibility and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

CON: Because you have more flexibility in terms of selecting the cloud environment and making changes to the solution to suit your needs, you may be exposed to a higher cost to run the application (compared to the public cloud option). Any change you make to adjust the solution to your requirements is something that will need to be managed and maintained over time.


SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC)

(S/4HANA Any Premise managed by SAP on HANA Enterprise Cloud)

HEC is an Infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) tool that enables companies to run SAP-based operations in a hosted environment with the advantages of being on cloud. Companies can move their software landscape to a cloud-based subscription model using their choice of Hyperscaler (such as Google, Amazon, or Microsoft) or SAP data centre. The SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud is licensed according to the Bring Your Own License principle or billed according to an infrastructure subscription.

PRO: You are in the driver’s seat, but your provider takes care of all the hardware for you, with the added bonus that you don’t have to worry about maintenance.

CON: While you avoid the high initial outlay of purchasing the technology. IaaS does not always work out as the most cost-effective option.


S/4HANA Any Premise managed by the user or third party

Like the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC), this offering is similar. The only difference is instead of SAP, the company is responsible for the environment management. This can be managed by the company or outsourced to a third party.

Companies can host their SAP environment within their own data centre or at a cloud hyperscaler (including Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Cloud, Alibaba, Huawei, and Open Telekom Cloud).

It is important that companies select one of the above options based on their requirements (size of the company, complexity, and functional scope of their planned S/4HANA environment.

PRO: You maintain full control over your solution and the way in which you deploy and maintain the application. This could be a benefit if for example, you operate in an environment with strict security and data management limitations.

CON: Compared to the other options, this option may require a significant investment to run, manage and maintain the application itself and the environment that supports it.


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