We all heard from SAP that S4 HANA is not the next release of it most ubiquitous offering SAP ECC 6.0. It is a completely new product where everything is dramatically changed starting from presentation layer -user experience enhanced by leaps and bounds with FIORI- to the core database layer powered by HANA
From the very first release of SAP R/1 System RF in 1972 to SAP ECC 6.0 EHP7 in 2013, SAP has incorporated a long list of functionalities to cover all probable business scenarios and wide industry sectors. During this long journey, inadvertently SAP has introduced many overlapping functionalities to realize the same business objective and it creates some confusion among the business and the consulting community. As I understand, one of the objectives of S4 HANA is to get over these redundant functionalities and offer a simple solution to the business.
Along with the big picture of S4 HANA with digital core and enterprise-wide integration, as a functional consultant, I am also very much interested to know and understand the things which have changed in granular detail, hence I decided to explore deeper and put down my understanding as a blog series. I must admit at the very beginning that it will not be a fully exhaustive list of the functionality changes and I will focus mainly in supply chain area.
In this first series of the blog, I will discuss five things which have changed in S4 HANA world.
- Rationalization of inventory posting/displaying business transactions - Due to the historical reasons SAP ECC is still carrying a host of inventory /transfer posting transactions for example MB1A, MB1B, MB1C, MBRL, MBST etc. As a part of simplification initiative, all these transactions have been discontinued and there is only my favorite single transaction MIGO available.
- Production version is made mandatory - There is no other option like 'date validity' selection method type in S4 HANA. During the Bill of material (BOM) explosion, appropriate BOM will be identified via BOM maintained in the production version. This means BOM without valid production version will not be considered during BOM explosion.
EPH6 ECC 6.0
S4 HANA On-Premise
Note: A migration report is available to create new production versions based on existing BOM data. Please refer SAP Note #2215123
- Business partner for customer and supplier data maintenance - SAP has taken the approach of business partners i.e. vendors and customers are managed centrally viz. create, edit and display information using business partners. Due to this IDOC message type DEBMAS and CREMAS is not available in current 1511 on-premise edition of S4HANA. I still need to understand it in more details esp. from migration perspective as businesses have tons of standard and bespoke interfaces dependent on IDOC message type DEBMAS and CREMAS.
- Object dependency 'Actions' discontinued - It is not possible to maintain object dependency of type 'Actions' but the existing configuration models with 'Actions' will continue to work. However, SAP recommends replacing the dependency action with a procedure object dependency in the configuration model. Glad that object dependency types are finally getting harmonized as I always used to think which one to use while modelling business scenarios.
- No more planning horizon concept - Earlier due to the technical constraint related to the database performance SAP came up with the concept of planning within planning horizon i.e. MRP only considers demand within the planning horizon for calculation. With the HANA database technical breakthrough performance is not a challenge anymore, and hence planning with planning horizon is no longer needed. S4 HANA MRP considers the demand of the material in full horizon without any time constraint. As a part of migration the planning run variant with NEPL needs to be deleted as it is not supported anymore.
- Stock overview by characteristics been discontinued - Stock overview by characteristics (transaction MMCL) and Batch Information Cockpit (transaction BMBC) offered overlapping functionality, hence, former is been discontinued and Batch Information Cockpit can be used to meet the business requirement with additional functionality.
- Dispensable old batch management transaction dropped - Old school batch management transaction MSC1 to MSC4 is been discontinued. We now only have the 'enjoy' transaction viz. MSC1N to MSC4N.
Sales support functionality been discontinued - Sales support functionality like a sales call, sales letter, sales prospect etc. is not available in S/4 HANA. It is in-line with SAP's bigger initiative to move the functionalities where it makes logical sense at first place and avoid putting overlapping functionality in multiple application. It is expected that companies should use SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or SAP Cloud for Customer to use sales support features.
Material number field length extended - Material number field is been extended from 18 characters to 40 characters long. As per my understanding, a long material number is a requirement sometimes in automobile industry but apart from that, I am not aware of any other sector where it is needed. I would like to hear whether you all have come across business scenarios where 18 character long - if yes, then in which industry sector ?
NOTE: - DIMP ( Discrete Industries / Mill Products) is packaged within S/4 HANA with the exception of DIMP LAMA ( for long material number), as it is no longer needed with material number length being extended to 40 characters long.
Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) reports - Transaction 'CBIHSR01' to generate SARA reports 311 , 312 Tier I and II are not available in the SAP S/4HANA, on-premise edition 1511. In the future release of S/4 HANA alternate functionality will be available.
Quality Inspection Engine (QIE) fate - Quality Inspection Engine (QIE) will be replaced by new functionality. I am surprised but was at the same time expecting it. The reason I am surprised because QIE is a very new concept which was introduced along with SAP EWM not long back and is still evolving, but at the same I was expecting this because my personal experience of working with QIE is not all that great. There are too many functional and technical settings with few of them are a bit complex in nature. I am hoping that the new plug-in on which SAP is working now will be easier to configure.
In the next part of this blog series, I will discuss data model in the background which have been changed or simplified in S4 HANA .