As an SAP managed services leader, we see a lot of confusion around SAP’s core offerings. SAP’s complex and rapidly evolving product portfolio combine with inconsistent naming conventions to create a landscape that’s hard for non-technical stakeholders to navigate. Here’s what you need to know about SAP ECC, HANA, S/4HANA and Business Suite.

What is SAP Business Suite?

The SAP Business Suite software is an integrated suite of modular applications designed to perform essential end-to-end business processes across all industries.

The SAP Business Suite supports a broad range of processes for finance, human resources, manufacturing, procurement, product development, marketing, sales, service, supply chain management and IT management.

What is SAP ECC?

SAP ECC (also known as SAP ERP) is SAP’s legacy suite of enterprise applications. ECC was designed to run on a third-party database. It started as a Financial software package called RF in 1973, followed by a Material Management module called RM/1. As SAP added additional components, the package was renamed to R/1.

In 1979, R/2 was released, integrating multiple enterprise functions such as accounting, manufacturing processes, supply chain logistics and HR.

R/3 was released in 1992. It was their first client/server package (it no longer required mainframes), and supported a wide variety of operating systems and databases.

In 2004, SAP renamed its core ERP product to SAP ERP Central Component (ECC.) SAP ERP and ECC are now used interchangeably.

What is SAP HANA?

SAP HANA is an in-memory database designed to dramatically accelerate SAP applications and the business processes they support. It is the go-forward foundation for running SAP Business Suite.

HANA design innovations such as in-memory operation and a simplified data structure improve performance, leading to higher productivity, real-time visibility and better use of analytics. For example, companies can react to market conditions based on up-to-the-minute data, rather than relying on the last quarterly reports.

What is SAP Business Suite on HANA?

When you move SAP Business Suite from a third-party legacy database to HANA, you’re running SAP Business Suite on HANA. Moving to Suite on HANA is the first step in an S/4HANA migration. Customers also have the option of moving to Suite on HANA, and upgrade to S/4HANA later. Dividing S/4HANA migration into two separate projects enables companies to show quick ROI, while minimizing disruption and risk.

What is S/4HANA?

SAP rebuilt their ERP solution (SAP ECC) from the ground up to take advantage of HANA’s performance and innovative data models. S/4HANA provides an award winning UX (SAP Fiori) along with a host of application and use case-specific benefits.

On the technical end, S/4HANA also resolves common issues with traditional ERP systems, such as batch latency, manually driven processes and data sprawl. That means lower IT costs, better stability and less disruption from future upgrades.

What is the Right SAP HANA Migration Path for My Business?

SAP migration is complex. Companies need to balance the quick ROI and low disruption of an SAP Suite on HANA upgrade against the accelerated transformation, technical and functional benefits of moving to S/4HANA.

Your partner’s service level is a key consideration. Even a few less hours of downtime can save hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity, and the benefits of an accelerated migration and smoother go live are even more significant. It’s imperative to choose a partner who can minimize disruption, cost and downtime.