SAP S/4HANA vs SAP ECC: Key Similarities and Differences That’ll Help You Decide

October 10, 2022

Companies looking to manage or upgrade their key business processes now have two SAP products available as enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions: SAP S/4HANA and SAP ERP Central Component (often shortened to SAP ECC). When deciding between SAP S/4HANA vs SAP ECC, it’s important to consider their similarities and differences. An assessment of the two products will help you decide which works better for you today—and tomorrow.

As SAP ECC has been around longer, it’s likely to appeal more to the immediate business requirements of today. However, SAP S/4HANA is the newer solution—meaning it can build a solid foundation for tomorrow’s business needs. Moreover, it incorporates artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies. As a result, there’s a long-term reward for migrating to S/4HANA.

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What is SAP ECC?

SAP ECC is the previous enterprise resource planning product by SAP. It remains available while the current product, SAP S/4HANA, develops its customer base. SAP ECC works on-premises: your organization installs and runs it on servers in your own facilities.

With SAP ECC, you can combine data from different business functions. For example, it enables you to store data from sales, marketing, finance, and production—all on the same database. This helps to simplify business processes, as you don’t need to use multiple products.

As with most traditional databases, SAP ECC stores data on a disk. You can also add other products from the SAP Business Suite to expand the database’s functionality—for instance, tools such as supply chain management (SCM) and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Medium-sized and larger companies are currently the main users of SAP ECC.

What is SAP S/4HANA?

SAP S/4HANA is the newest enterprise resource planning product from SAP, and the replacement for SAP ECC. Thanks to a database that is stored in-memory, SAP S/4HANA is considerably quicker. Further, the software is a complete rewrite designed for the similarly named SAP HANA database management system.

SAP S/4HANA can run in the cloud, on-premises, or as a hybrid. This gives you a range of options, from running it in your own facility to hosting it partly or even entirely online. SAP S/4HANA has many of the same features as SAP ECC, and serves a similar market. There are, however, sizable differences in their underlying architectures and performance abilities.

SAP S/4HANA vs SAP ECC: Which One is Right For You?

The choice of SAP S/4HANA vs SAP ECC is one that will affect your present and future operations. Bear in mind that SAP ECC is scheduled to be phased out by 2027. As such, businesses thinking of the future might want to focus more on SAP S/4HANA.

Likewise, companies that are not prior users of SAP software are advised to opt for SAP S/4HANA, as it is the latest and fastest product. On the other hand, if you are already running SAP ECC, it makes sense to do a more gradual transition, because upgrading to SAP S/4 HANA can be somewhat complex.

An expert SAP service provider like Approyo can help make your transition easy.. With over a thousand SAP environments under our management globally, our experience can help you decrease your costs, eliminate risks, and ensure a successful transition.


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Similarities Between SAP S/4HANA and SAP ECC

SAP S/4HANA and SAP ECC have several important features in common. For a start, they both assist companies in performing essential business activities like manufacturing, sales, procurement, distribution, and accounting.

Additionally, both of these solutions centralize an enterprise’s data in one database, rather than dispersing it across various applications’ databases. They also standardize how people read and write data throughout the organization. All of these benefits make it practical for larger companies to maintain stable and accurate records.

Another similarity between SAP S/4HANA and SAP ECC is that they’re both modular. With either of these systems, you can add the components you need. This lets businesses make customizations for their particular requirements.

These similarities encompass the vast majority of the products’ functionality. This means you can technically run a business with either solution. Nonetheless, they also have their share of dissimilarities. As a result, you will not experience the same level of performance across both solution.

Key Differences Between SAP S/4HANA and SAP ECC

The main differences between SAP S/4HANA and SAP ECC have to do with the database. While SAP ECC ran on several types of database management systems—including some from third parties—SAP S/4HANA exclusively runs on SAP HANA.

SAP designed S/4HANA to extract the optimal performance out of SAP HANA. While this reduces the selection of database providers, the outcome is a much faster system. Calculations are generally done in-memory, which is substantially quicker than the disk-based calculations of most other databases. The new system also combines analytical and transactional operations in a single database.

SAP S/4HANA also includes what SAP calls “intelligent technologies,” such as machine learning. These serve to boost your company’s agility in responding to market conditions as well as pushing innovation. As such, you’ll be able to automate a variety of tasks and have access to valuable business intelligence.

There are also some less obvious differences. For instance, while SAP ECC uses separate files for a business partner’s activity as your customer and as your vendor, SAP S/4HANA combines both of those aspects into a single file.

Upgrade to SAP S/4HANA with Approyo

Given the upcoming end-of-life for SAP ECC, companies will be compelled to upgrade to SAP S/4HANA over the next few years, no matter what. Since this newer solution contains key technologies to meet modern business demands, you may well be better off starting the migration sooner rather than later.

SAP S/4HANA is a complete rewrite of the enterprise resource planning system. This allows it to offer some incredible new features, such as artificial intelligence and high-speed, in-memory calculations.

However, it also entails a complex upgrade path. Companies that work with a proven partner will enjoy a smoother upgrade and superior return on investment.

Approyo is the leading SAP service provider for your SAP needs. Whether you are upgrading from SAP ECC or any other database system, they can help you reach and exceed your goals. With its revolutionary design, SAP S/4HANA is able to run fast, offering real-time analytics on big data. Take advantage of the most innovative solution on the market. Talk with Approyo now.

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