SAP Business Suite on HANA or SAP S/4 HANA: Which One Should You Choose


SAP Business Suite on HANA


The release of SAP HANA in 2010  brought a few major changes in the digital landscape. One such visible transformation was SAP’s own ability to develop its innovative databases. This resulted in offering a more flexible and faster customer solution to augment their experience.

As the companies are planning to implement the next generation ERP business suite to reap the benefits of digital transformation, they have to make an important decision when they are moving from SAP ERP Central Component (ECC). They need to decide whether they want to go for the Business Suite on HANA or SAP S/4 HANA.

So, if you want to know which SAP solution is best to cater to your business needs, let’s first throw some light on

  • Suite of HANA: ECC
  • SAP S/4 HANA

Suite of HANA: ECC

Suite on HANA is an ERP Central Component that operates on the SAP HANA database. The ECC simplifies business tasks such as managing the logistics, finance, sales, and warehouse. ECC was developed with the intention that it could run on a wide range of databases such as MS SQL Server, Oracle, ASE, and others.


What is the Business Suite for SAP HANA?

SAP Business Suite for HANA. is a simple process which allows you to migrate to SAP HANA without moving your application to the latest version S/4. You can boost your business performance without the need to restructure the application layer.



To explain in simplified language, SAP HANA is an in-memory relational database management system, which is developed and managed by SAP SE. The key functions of HANA include processing, retrieving, and storing the data for core business activities. It also supports Business Intelligence, Enterprise Resource Planning, and other applications.

The Advantage of In-Memory Database

Since it has an in-memory database, the CPU can get direct access to data rather than searching for it on hard drives. Another benefit of the in-memory database is that it transfers the data at a quick speed in comparison to storing the data on the disk. The disk allows you to only store limited data and the retrieving process is also slower.  

Other Features

  • SAP HANA can only provide the applications for carrying out different tasks such as HR, finance, sales, and logistics. The business enterprise has to take up the call on which is the best software to fit their needs.
  • Ever since the arrival of SAP HANA, the business enterprises have been able to improve their speed drastically when carrying out both Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) and Online Transaction Processing (OLTP).
  • SAP HANA offers a simplified architecture. Relational Database Management Systems has reduced its memory footprint. Online Analytical Processing and Online Transactional Processing are stored and processed in different databases. However, it can lead to bloating of the database footprint.
  • SAP HANA is a column-oriented RBMS that merges OLAP and OLTP as one structure. This allows organizations to curtain out memory usage and enhance performance.

SAP SE has been working on improving the SAP HANA services so that it can handle the database and software more efficiently. It will provide faster speed and flexibility. But older versions of the software will only receive support from SAP SE till 2025 after which the applications need to be updated.

If you have migrated to SAP HANA, you have to use the databases and tables as column structures. Apart from that, you also have to remove unnecessary aggregate tables and indices. In some cases, you are required to evaluate the customer design or rectified application.



SAP S/4 HANA is the next advanced version of the Enterprise Resource Planning business suite. It is based on the SAP HANA in-memory database that helps large organizations to streamline their financial transactions and business data in real-time.

It needs to be seen that SAP S/4 HANA is relatively new and has made its appearance in 2015. But it has shown its potential by disrupting various industries including finance, banking, logistics, retail, and manufacturing.  

As an ERP Central Component user, you have got a couple of options. You can either migrate to the SAP Suite on HANA or move on to SAP S/4 HANA.

The features of SAP HANA have been discussed in the previous paragraph. So, it’s crucial to have a look at SAP S/4 features and benefits.

  • The SAP S/4 HANA in combination with SAP S/4 HANA finance offers a wide range of financial activities such as automation of account processing, streamlining the banking, real-time transaction, and risk management.
  • It can compress huge amounts of data with an efficient speed such as shrinking 593 GB to a mere 42 GB.
  • SAP S/4 HANA supply chain offers unmatched inventory management solutions.
  • It has also fueled the manufacturing sector where the production process has increased incredibly.
  • S/4 HANA logistics allow the business to mobilize well properly through automated invoicing and route planning.


How SAP S/4 HANA Is Better than the SAP Business Suite on HANA

  • SAP S/4 HANA offers more flexibility and supports complex structures. It can quickly develop a model, which you would find difficult if using a traditional database.  It can only perform certain analytics and reporting.
  • Centralizing data, financial compliance and monitoring is also much easier with SAP S/4 HANA. The companies do not have to wait for the financial close to view the Key Performance Indicators.
  • Automation of risk, compliance, and international trade management is better for SAP S/4 HANA in comparison to the Business Suite at HANA.
  • With SAP S/4 HANA, it is easier to detect fraud detection in real-time.
  • Even SAP S/4 HANA Supply Chain is superior and more effective than Business Suite  SAP HANA. It offers advanced inventory management, sales, and procurement of data. For example, you can monitor the condition of trucks through synchronized mobile devices. It helps in reducing costs and time.


SAP S/4 HANA Collaboration with SAP Fiori

SAP Fiori in combination with SAP S/4 HANA helps to personalize and streamline the User Experience of SAP applications.  It simplifies modern UX design principles to increase app visibility across all businesses and devices. User Experience can easily integrate with native solutions with SAP Fiori’s support. S/4 HANA provides more flexibility to the apps.

SAP Fiori can also get along well with the Business Suite on HANA. Fiori offers an optimal performance while running on SAP HANA and can be ported to other databases as well. The importance of SAP Fiori with HANA can be understood from the fact that if the Fiori transactional app is not present with HANA, it will slow down the mobile devices.  It fails to deliver a positive experience.


Planning to Choose SAP S/4 HANA or Business Suite on SAP HANA

Whether you are planning to move to the SAP Business Suite on HANA or S/4HANA, the most important requirement is to make an adjustment at the backend. SAP HANA renders its full support for all ECC functionality. Apart from that, you also need to ensure that several testing and good backup is available for the applications to function properly.

If the organization is using custom applications, legacy systems or multiple environments, it has to go for SAP HANA migration. It will support in your planning for adopting a complicated or customized ERP module.  The HANA functionality can also prevent the company from using custom code.

Another task that the company needs to do is update NetWeaver along with adjusting and tweaking the new applications. It can take advantage of optimizing the ERP environment and combine various SAP HANA Business Suite with HANA.


Sizing in Modern HANA Landscape

Sizing the hardware before migrating to SAP HANA is very important. If you fail to size properly, it may lead to the poor performance of the system with inappropriate response times. You can use the SAP Quick Sizer tool to note down the outcome and make calculations accordingly. This will provide the right hardware configuration.

Usually, the KPIs used in  SAP HANA version of the Quick Sizer comprises of three important elements-

  • Memory –  Memory is the most essential component while sizing environments determined by data footprint in SAP HANA
  • CPU footprint – If you want to improve your response time, it is important to provide sufficient CPU bedroom space, which is measured in terms of SAP Application Performance Standard.
  • Disk Size – SAP HANA also needs disk storage to store the database information. It also preserves the full image size of the business along with the current state of data and logging changes.


Choose the SAP Business Suite on HANA or SAP S/4 HANA

SAP will provide continuous support for updating the ECC and Suite. This will help the company to plan whether it wants to migrate to SAP S/4 HANA or move on to the Business Suite on HANA. Whatever you choose, it will help in business escalation and reduce obstructions.

If you are an SAP ECC user, it is best to go with the SAP Business Suite at the beginning. You can implement S/4 HANA for some other project. SAP Business Suite shares many common features of SAP S/4 HANA such as using innovative technology. It’s a cost-effective approach to usability and others.

The decision to select either SAP Business Suite or SAP S/4 HANA depends upon the industry your company is specializing in. For instance, if you are a manufacturer, or dealing in finance or logistics, it is advisable to go with S/4 HANA for it offers specialized SAP S/4 HANA finance and logistics solution.

Similarly, if the organization had previously been a non-SAP user or used the legacy system, it should give preference to SAP S/4 HANA. It offers them a completely new setup but in case the organization is having a complicated SAP ECC or ERP module,  it will be tough to make a choice. Then the selection depends on multi-phase projects.

Another deciding factor that plays a pivotal role here is whether the organization wants to adopt cloud IT infrastructure. If the company is willing to undertake large IT projects, it would be better to choose SAP Business Suite on HANA and if it’s the other way round, then S/4 HANA will be a better choice.

Making a Choice Depending on Needs

It was indicated earlier that both SAP Business Suite as well as S/4 HANA have their pros and provide a boost to top your business. Thus, the choice depends on what the business needs. You have to take the call after having a thorough discussion with an SAP Expert who will help you on everything from successful SAP HANA migration to running the SAP HANA cloud.