SAP S/4HANA Finance: What's in a Name?

  • by Birgit Starmanns, Senior Director, Solution Marketing, EPM and Finance Solutions, SAP
  • December 28, 2017
SAP S/4HANA Finance has received much attention since it was announced at SapphireNOW in 2014 under the name SAP Simple Finance. In 2015, SAP Simple Finance was renamed to SAP S/4HANA Finance. This article defines the scope of the SAP S/4HANA Finance solution, as well as how the innovations built on SAP HANA fit into that scope. It clarifies the evolution of the naming and definition of what is meant by SAP S/4HANA Finance, a name chosen to better reflect how the offering fits into the reimagined business suite that is SAP S/4HANA.
Learning Objectives

By reading this article, you will:

  • Clarify the scope of SAP S/4HANA Finance
  • Understand the primary innovations that are included in SAP S/4HANA Finance
  • Review the evolution of the naming of SAP S/4HANA Finance, formerly known as SAP Simple Finance
Key Concept
SAP S/4HANA Finance is the overriding term for all solutions for finance, across multiple portfolios, including SAP ERP Financials, SAP enterprise performance management solutions (SAP EPM solutions), and SAP governance, risk, and compliance solutions (SAP GRC solutions). Portions of that finance portfolio have been re-architected to take advantage of the in-memory technology of SAP HANA, which provides additional benefits. That being said, the scope of SAP S/4HANA Finance—formerly SAP Simple Finance—goes beyond only those innovations.

Finance is currently at the forefront of technology innovations within SAP. By being the first line of business to re-architect the core finance and controlling capabilities to leverage the capabilities of SAP S/4HANA, finance professionals can increase their organizations’ efficiency through automation, thereby freeing up their bandwidth to leverage dynamic planning and modeling to provide insight into the financial impact of strategic business decisions.

The solution that enables finance to strategically guide organizations’ continued evolution is SAP S/4HANA Finance, which is part of the next-generation business suite, SAP S/4HANA (which stands for SAP Business Suite for SAP HANA). SAP S/4HANA is the heart of the digital core, which includes finance as well as other core lines of business, such as the extended supply chain. Refer to the sidebar “SAP S/4HANA Finance and the Digital Core” to see how finance fits into that bigger picture.

SAP S/4HANA Finance is a renaming of SAP Simple Finance. Even prior to the adoption of the name SAP Simple Finance, there were other names in play, sometimes with different definitions as to what was included in the scope. Some names, such as the Financials add-on for SAP HANA, referred only to the innovations within finance. Other names, such as SAP S/4HANA Finance (and previously SAP Simple Finance) refer to the entire portfolio. For a detailed look at the naming history, and the scope referenced by each name, see the sidebar “Evolution of the Naming of SAP S/4HANA Finance.”

Because of these frequent changes in naming, we come to the question that is top of mind for many customers: what, exactly, is meant by SAP S/4HANA Finance?

Functional Scope of SAP S/4HANA Finance

SAP S/4HANA Finance refers to the entire portfolio of all SAP solutions for finance. These capabilities go across SAP ERP Financials, SAP enterprise performance management solutions (SAP EPM solutions), and SAP governance, risk, and compliance solutions (SAP GRC solutions). From a process perspective, that refers to the five end-to-end processes of the value map shown in Figure 1, including financial planning and analysis; accounting and financial close; treasury management; financial operations; and governance, risk and compliance for finance.

Figure 1
The value map of SAP S/4HANA Finance comprises five end-to-end processes

Birgit Starmanns

Birgit Starmanns is a senior director in solution marketing at SAP for EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) and Finance solutions. Birgit has more than 20 years of experience across solution marketing, solution management, strategic customer communities, and consulting. Her functional experience is in finance, including core SAP ERP and enterprise performance management, as well as customer relationship management, which has allowed her to focus on the integration of cross-functional business processes. Prior to joining SAP, she was a principal in management consulting organizations, redesigning business processes and implementing SAP R/3 and R/2 for numerous Fortune 500 and SME companies, with a focus on management accounting. Birgit holds a BA and an MBA from the College of William and Mary.

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