SAP S/4HANA is the next-generation business suite of SAP designed to help a business run simple in a digital and networked world. This new suite is built around SAP HANA to leverage the unique features of HANA to deliver a solution built on the cornerstones of Agility, Simplicity, Scalability and Openness. The S/4 HANA suite offers a personalized and modern user experience with SAP Fiori.
The benefits of the numerous and some of them include accelerating the ERP core to provide for fast in-memory computing which enables processes to run in seconds or minutes. With these features, S/4 HANA is fast becoming the next logical step in the evolution of the process core at most organizations.
However, typical SAP migrations are complex, regardless of industry. A minor flaw in any area has the potential to alter how the entire business operates. Many such risks exist in the customizations that have been done in the ECC system with regard to usage of Tables, Fields and Data Elements. In order to stay ahead of migration risk, it is mandatory to conduct a functional and technical impact assessment.
One of the areas which will get affected due to the migration to S/4 HANA is the data model or the Data Dictionary. Some of the key Data Dictionary objects have changed in many ways and can be classified under three broad categories.
- Deprecation of Tables (FLAG* tables being merged into one ACDOCA table)
- New fields in tables (Multiple new fields in existing tables like EKKO etc.)
- Material field length change from 18 to 40
S/4 HANA provides for a much-simplified data model that reduces the amount of normalization you would expect from n ECC system. This is because of the database acceleration which eliminates the need for some aggregate tables. The flip side of this is that existing interfaces that use these tables will need to be adjusted because these tables do not exist anymore.
New fields in tables
When tables have been deprecated, the data in them is still relevant for the process behind the same and this results in numerous new fields to the existing tables. This is less of an issue but fouls up interfaces where we have full table replications in place. Also, when writing to these new fields, the key restriction might be different and existing APIs will have to be rewritten. For instance, deprecation of VBUK and VBUP tables resulted in the addition of the Sales Order Status field to VBAK and VBAP tables.
Material field length change
The length of the Material Number in S/4 HANA is increased to 40 from the existing 18. This will impact all the domains and APIs using this field. Since MATNR is one of the most used fields within ECC, this will have a big impact in terms of programs. Since it is an increase, existing programs/function modules should still work but it might also have a bearing on how Material numbers are generated and consumed within the processes.
In further blogs, we will be covering how these changes will impact your BI landscape in terms of replication and data modelling.