What's the difference? SAP ECC vs SAP HANA vs SAP S/4HANA

January 27, 2021

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Understanding the differences between SAP's core offerings will define your roadmap. For those without a technical background, there may be some confusion surrounding the differences between these SAP platforms and applications. So what are the differences between SAP ECC, SAP HANA, and SAP S/4HANA?


SAP ECC was SAP's original Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Business suite, and stands for SAP ERP Central Component. Originally, SAP ECC evolved from SAP R/3, and was later known as SAP ERP and then went on to be called SAP ECC. SAP ECC was designed to operate on third-party databases and is used for finance, HR, logistics, etc. It's main purpose was to be able to utilize web technologies for B2B and B2C operations via the internet and adding on products for data analysis. SAP ECC is the ERP system that is being replaced by SAP S/4HANA, and therefor you'll see that it is the core product, not another business suite. SAP ECC's mainstream support is set to end in 2027, which will require users to move to SAP S/4HANA to avoid unwanted maintenance fees and disruption.


SAP HANA is an in-memory database technology, which acts as the core technology for the SAP Landscape or SAP applications, serving as the backend. SAP HANA stands for High-Performance Analytical Application and is a column-based Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) that serves a platform for many SAP applications. Businesses install applications for specific operations on top of SAP HANA. With its data compression techniques, SAP HANA dramatically reduced your data footprint, as well as having the ability to complete reporting 10 times faster due to online transaction processing (OLTP) and online analytical processing (OLAP) capabilities. Because of this, SAP HANA is often used for operations such as Sales, finance, HR, etc. See a larger list of SAP HANA's benefits here.


SAP S/4HANA is a business suite which runs off of SAP HANA, and SAP HANA only. In fact, the name stands for SAP Business Suite 4 SAP HANA. It is SAP's most recent Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution that runs entirely from SAP, which replaced SAP R/3. It gives users simplified tools and data, ease of use, large scaling capabilities and more complex complications for increased agility. Unlike SAP ECC, S/4HANA gives users deeper functioning capabilities in supply chain management (SCM) and customer relationship management (CRM). With the ability to deploy on-premise, cloud, or hybrid cloud, it is a truly flexible application suite. SAP S/4HANA also makes data retrieval faster, through the use of Internet of Things (IoT) and real-time analytics because it does not use batch processing. With SAP S/4HANA, businesses can rapidly build models to predict the effect of business decisions, which allows for better business decisions in the future. Automate risk and compliance, and improve financial processes while protecting your assets.

We recommend that companies who are using a legacy or non-SAP system, move straight to S/4HANA. For companies who are currently running on SAP ECC or other ERP systems, there may be a need for multiphase projects. But, if your organization wants to avoid large time-consuming IT projects, going straight from ECC to S/4HANA will be the most beneficial option. It all depends on your business, time frame, and end-goals.

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At Approyo, our expertise in SAP and and other cloud solutions will pave your path to success. We can maximize your SAP investment, reduce costs and risks, while allowing your business to flourish. With our ongoing Managed services, we are able to continue the success, while letting you focus on the true purpose of your business. Contact us to learn more about how we can help in your digital transformation journey.

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