SAP S/4 HANA ERP Independent Review 2024

SAP S/4 HANA ERP Independent Review 2024

SAP S/4 HANA is SAP’s flagship product and one of the few viable options for large enterprises, especially those with the transactional demands of Fortune 500. Compared to its counterpart, ECC, SAP S/4 HANA features a modern architecture that merges best-of-breed capabilities with enterprise-grade SaaS offerings, while maintaining tightly integrated ERP processes at its core. This suite includes leading solutions like SAP SuccessFactors for HCM, SAP Hybris for commerce, SAP EWM for WMS, Ariba for P2P, and also Concur for T&E management. Unlike other market solutions that treat these processes as ERP modules, SAP S/4 HANA ensures seamless adoption and delivers a superior omnichannel experience, particularly important for HR processes across various devices.

SAP S/4 HANA is also favored by enterprise-grade companies for its ability to handle large transaction volumes and meet stringent governance and traceability requirements. It is particularly well-suited for product-centric enterprises needing mature capabilities such as MRP and allocation. Additionally, for enterprises needing advanced eCommerce platforms with components like CDP or CPQ systems, SAP S/4 HANA offers essential functionalities. It is also highly effective for multinational companies needing unified databases for easier reconciliation.

However, SAP S/4 HANA may not be ideal for companies transitioning from smaller ERP systems or QuickBooks, as it requires a certain level of IT maturity for successful implementation. Although it has deep ERP capabilities, the suite experience might fall short compared to prescriptive platforms like Infor LN or QAD. Moreover, reliance on third-party add-ons for integrations can lead to vendor conflicts, increased budgets, and higher implementation risks. Despite its cloud advancements, SAP still trails behind some competitors. Nonetheless, the following sections will delve into the key features, advantages, and drawbacks of SAP S/4 HANA.

SAP S/4 HANA ERP Independent Review 2024

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Key Review Insights of SAP S/4 HANA

1. Pre-integrated Best-of-breed Capabilities

The best-of-breed software, such as SAP Commerce Cloud, Hybris, Concur, SuccessFactors, and EWM, is pre-integrated with SAP S/4 HANA, potentially saving millions of dollars with integration. The best-of-breed architecture can also support the business model of large distributors, irrespective of whether they are a traditional distributor or a combination of 3PL, which typically has a different warehouse and TMS architecture than traditional distributors.

2. Financial Traceability for Large Global Companies

 It is one of the most intuitive ERP products for particularly such complex operations with its transactional maps capabilities built with the products, making debugging complex financial enterprises easier. SAP S/4 HANA is also capable of building end-to-end traceability of SOX compliance workflows with every document and transaction, which is often required by large complex financial organizations.

3. The Power of HANA

Because of the power of HANA, SAP S/4 HANA can process very complex MRP runs with product models containing millions of serial numbers and SKUs and the ability to process millions of costing and scheduling entries much faster than most ERP systems.

4. Superior Financial Control and Governance

Some of the capabilities include several financial hierarchies particularly to support complex, global organizations without requiring ad-hoc arrangements for global traceability or consolidations. Fortune 500 organizations with shared service models spread in multiple countries would appreciate the financial traceability that is built at the document level.

5. Limited Cloud Version Capabilities

The cloud version is behind with development particularly in comparison to the on-prem variant. Equally limited are the marketplace options compared to other competing solutions. Despite advanced financial traceability and technical capabilities, the functional capabilities are not as rich as with its on-prem version.

6. Overwhelming for Smaller Companies

The complex workflows built to support the processes of large, complex organizations may particularly overwhelm organizations seeking simpler solutions without unnecessary processes and approval flows.

7. Adoption Issues for Service-centric Verticals

Unlike product-centric organizations, service-centric verticals don’t have as financially embedded transactions, causing efficiency issues with teams if their workflows were to be managed inside complex ERP systems such as SAP S/4 HANA.

8. Ability to Handle Large Workloads

Our simple test of HANA’s capabilities with 100K serialized goods receipt found it to be faster than most systems out there. SAP S/4 HANA could process it in under 22 seconds, while Oracle cloud ERP took more than 18 mins for the same test. This is especially friendly for businesses with complex products aiming to run their consolidated global MRP runs in one system.

Key Features of SAP S/4 HANA

Financial Management

In this section, we explore and analyze the financial management module of SAP S/4 HANA, shedding light particularly on their features and capabilities.

Financial ManagementFeatures
Overhead Cost AccountingRecords journal entries, tracks costs by cost center, and also defines each center’s output through activity types.
Product Cost ManagementAnalyzes costs at each stage of the value chain using an integrated system, and also aligns quantity flow from logistics with financial values.
Profitability and Cost AnalysisHelps assess the profitability of the market segments and cost objects and also provides real-time contribution margins.
Predictive AccountingUtilizes data from sales orders to forecast future outcomes before actual journal entries are made.
Investment ManagementFacilitates planning, budgeting, commitment tracking, and also monitoring actual costs.
General LedgerPerforms the necessary tasks of financial accounting.
Asset AccountingManages and monitors tangible fixed assets.
Revenue and Cost AccountingIdentifies revenues and also calculates contract liabilities and contract assets.
Inventory AccountingHelps assess and oversee the material and work-in-process inventory according to legal regulations.
Accounts PayableSubmits the invoices created in purchasing.
Accounts ReceivableRecords and manages accounts receivable data of all customers.
Settlement ManagementEncompasses several settlement processes, particularly including those integrated into the order-to-cash cycle or procure-to-pay scenarios.
Human Resources

In this section, we explore and analyze the human resources module of SAP S/4 HANA, shedding light particularly on their features and capabilities.

Human ResourcesFeatures
Organizational Structure ManagementHelps create, maintain, and also restructure organizational structures.
Time Sheet ManagementHelps record and manage time data of all employees.
Integration with External HR SystemSupports integration with SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central to duplicate employee and organizational data.
Manufacturing Management

In this section, we explore and analyze the manufacturing management module of SAP S/4 HANA, shedding light particularly on their features and capabilities.

Manufacturing ManagementFeatures
Just-in-Time Supply to ProductionEnables material replenishment for manufacturing and assembly from either an internal location or an external supplier.
Just-in-Time Supply to CustomerCovers JIT processes from the perspective of the supplier.
Production BOM ManagementManages bills of material, assigns them to the plants, monitors multilevel BOM assignments, and can also find BOM for a component.
Master Recipe/Routing ManagementEnables modeling of the capabilities of the manufacturing equipment and also monitors their performance.
Material Requirements PlanningHelps ensure the availability of materials and perform basic production planning.
Production Scheduling Helps change the production plan particularly according to the capacity shortage, and demands in time and quantity.
Demand-driven ReplenishmentHelps plan and also manage supply chain based on customer demand.
Production Control and ExecutionHelps dispatch production operations and also make all necessary preparations for production execution.
Repetitive ManufacturingHelps plan and organize production particularly in repetitive manufacturing and flow manufacturing environments.
KanbanHelps manage production and also material flow based on physical material stock in
Quality Planning, Inspection, and ImprovementHelps ensure the quality of the products and processes, also prepares and executes quality inspections, and provides tools to improve them.
Maintenance, Repair, and OverhaulSupports processes for particularly maintenance and repair during the product lifecycle.
Pegging and Distribution for Project ManufacturingHelps enhance project manufacturing efficiency in an engineer-to-order setting particularly by utilizing shared common materials across various projects.
Sourcing and Procurement

In this section, we explore and analyze the sourcing and procurement module of SAP S/4 HANA, shedding light particularly on their features and capabilities.

Sourcing and ProcurementFeatures
Real-time Reporting and MonitoringProvides a set of actionable cards: both operational and also analytical which can be navigated to find detailed information and resolve.
Spend VisibilityVisualizes the daily work in different charts and by criteria.
Purchase Contract ManagementHelps manage the long-term purchase contracts with suppliers particularly regarding the supply of materials or performance of services.
Self-service RequisitioningHelps create, manage, and also track the orders.
Requirement ProcessingAssists in acquiring a specific quantity of a material or service particularly to ensure availability at a designated time.
Purchase Order ProcessingAssists in instructing an external supplier to deliver a specific quantity of a material or service particularly to ensure availability at a designated time.
Service Purchasing and RecordingManage and record the purchase orders of external service providers.
Invoice ManagementHelps with processing purchase orders and goods receipt, along with integration with business networks to collaborate with suppliers.
Supplier ManagementHelps with supplier classification, segmentation, and evaluation.
Supply Chain Management

In this section, we explore and analyze the supply chain management module of SAP S/4 HANA, shedding light particularly on their features and capabilities.

Supply Chain ManagementFeatures
Goods MovementHelps in managing goods issues, goods receipt, and reservations.
Inventory Analytics and Control Helps in evaluating and displaying stock information along with checking analytics reports.
Physical Inventory Helps in recording the actual stock levels of materials.
Returnable Packaging LogisticsHelps with the exchange of reusable packaging materials with business partners.
Empties ManagementHelps in mapping the administration and deposit requirements of returnable packages.
Delivery ManagementHelps in managing the inbound and outbound deliveries.
Transportation ManagementHelps in supporting the entire transportation chain.
Warehouse ManagementHelps maintain optimized warehouse operations by supporting and managing real-time transparency into material movements.
Stock Room ManagementProvides capabilities for warehouses with low complexity.
Available to PromiseHelps in configuring, executing, and monitoring the availability checks.
Business Process Scheduling Helps plan dates for different logistics activities involved in various business processes.

Pros and Cons of SAP S/4 HANA

Large complex financial organizations require end-to-end traceability of SOX compliance workflows, also built with each document and transaction with SAP S/4 HANA.The data model is designed for large, complex organizations, and also overwhelming for smaller organizations outgrowing QuickBooks or smaller ERP systems.
The best-of-breed software, such as SAP Commerce Cloud, Hybris, Concur, SuccessFactors, and EWM, is pre-integrated with the SAP S/4 HANA, potentially saving millions of dollars with integration.The pre-baked last-mile capabilities specific to micro-industries might be limited, requiring either development or add-ons on top of the core solution.
Enterprise Product Designed for Product-centric Companies. The item master, product model, and warehouse architecture can accommodate the needs of most manufacturing business models.Despite advanced technical capabilities such as AI, the last mile industry capabilities and operational functionality are limited in their cloud ERP version.
SAP S/4 HANA could process more than 100K serialized goods receipts within 22 secs, while Oracle Cloud ERP took more than 18 mins for the same test.The third-party integration options, such as integration with eCommerce platforms, POS systems, channel connectivity, etc, may require substantial development efforts.


In conclusion, SAP remains a dominant force in the ERP market, particularly favored by enterprise-grade companies due to its robust SAP S/4 HANA offering. This solution integrates leading products like SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Hybris, SAP EWM, Ariba, and Concur, particularly catering to diverse enterprise needs. With strengths in handling large transaction volumes, governance, and traceability requirements, SAP S/4 HANA excels in product-centric enterprises, offering mature capabilities such as MRP and allocation.

However, it may pose challenges for smaller organizations lacking sufficient IT maturity, and SAP’s SMB presence faces uncertainties. Despite notable progress in cloud offerings, SAP trails competitors in this arena. Nevertheless, the key review insights highlight the pre-integrated best-of-breed capabilities, financial traceability, and scalability for large workloads offered by SAP S/4 HANA. While SAP S/4 HANA presents compelling advantages for enterprise-grade companies with complex operational needs, smaller organizations and those prioritizing cloud solutions may find it less suitable. Understanding these pros and cons is crucial for businesses considering SAP S/4 HANA as their ERP solution. Also, companies may benefit from consulting an independent ERP consultant who can provide valuable insights and assessments to determine if SAP S/4 HANA aligns seamlessly with their organizational requirements.


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