As many of our customers running SAP are contemplating or implementing newer SAP solutions, including HANA and S/4HANA, we have been getting a lot of questions around what these solutions are and how Prometheus Group is affected. Maybe you or your organization have some of these same questions, like:
What is SAP HANA, and what benefits will that bring to my SAP implementation?
What is S/4HANA? What is the difference between S/4HANA and just HANA?
How will Prometheus function with these new SAP solutions?
Is Prometheus certified for HANA or S/4HANA?
Can we access Prometheus from an SAP UI5 environment?
Oh, and what is UI5 anyway?
There is definitely a lot of confusion out there around these new SAP systems, and the information out there right now seems to just make things even more confusing. So we’re doing a little a Q and A here to answer these questions in language that everyone can understand. So let’s kick this thing off!
What is SAP HANA?
SAP HANA is an in-memory, column-oriented, relational database management system that was created by SAP. We said we would use easy to read language, so let’s simplify this. HANA is basically SAP’s proprietary database that SAP’s ERP can run on. For SAP versions ECC6 and below you could use many third party databases, including Oracle. SAP thought it would be a good idea to build their own database that would maximize the performance of SAP, as it was built specifically for SAP.
The important part here is the “in-memory” piece. This means that much of the data is accessed much faster by the user as it’s not all being pulled from slower hard drives. A big part of using an ERP like SAP is accessing lots and lots of data, so the idea here is that the performance goes way up. There are also other functions and details around HANA, but at the end of the day it’s all about improved performance.
What is S/4HANA?
This is where a lot of the confusion comes from as there is HANA, and then there is S/4HANA. As we explained earlier, HANA is just the database. S/4HANA is the new version of SAP’s ERP, so you can think about this as SAP’s upgrade from ECC6. S/4HANA will require HANA as the back-end database, so you will no longer be able to use third party databases to run SAP. Again, the idea here is all about performance where the ERP and database are tailor built for each other.
SAP has a few offerings of S/4HANA, mainly their on-premise edition and cloud edition. On-premise is most similar to an ECC6 implementation where the organization implements the system within their network. Cloud edition will be an SAP hosted solution. The current information now indicates that both versions will be offering the same functionality, so it’s really a matter of how its implemented, hosted, and supported.
Prometheus is currently working alongside SAP with one of the lighthouse customers for SAP S/4HANA where the PM module will be implemented and configured, along with Prometheus ERP Advanced (among other Prometheus solutions). This customer is among the very first customers to implement PM with S/4HANA, and it’s been great to get in on the ground level to ensure that our solutions function with the latest and greatest from SAP.
How will Prometheus function with these new SAP systems?
We are happy to say that we are on the cutting edge of SAP technology here at Prometheus. We are a full-fledged partner with SAP, so we have access to all the latest releases from them. We have an S/4HANA system in house here, and our solutions are running just fine in this new environment. There are no differences in functionality from ECC6 over to S/4HANA, other than the benefits of improved performance from SAP’s optimized systems.
As we are working alongside SAP with this lighthouse customer, we will be testing our software alongside them with each new version ensuring that there is no loss in functionality, bugs, or performance issues.
Are Prometheus’s solutions certified with SAP HANA and S/4 HANA?
Yes! Prometheus has certifications for both SAP HANA as the database for ECC6, as well as S/4HANA. We are among the first software companies that have been certified for S/4HANA (the first and only EAM and PM solution to our knowledge), so we are proud to continue to be on the leading edge of SAP’s latest releases.
Is Prometheus an SAP Partner?
Yes! Prometheus is an SAP Partner Edge – Build partner as part of the SAP Partner Edge program. As noted earlier, this partnership grants us access to SAP’s latest releases (which is how we got S/4HANA in house), and allows us to develop within these new environments.
This partnership is specifically for companies like Prometheus Group that are focused on building solutions for SAP, and not reselling SAP’s own products. Partnerships like SAP “Gold” or “Platinum” are reserved only for companies that are reselling SAP products and services, which does not apply to us.
What is UI5?
UI5 is what SAP is calling their next generation of accessing SAP outside of the traditional SAP GUI that most are used to. There is still a SAP GUI that functions for S/4HANA, and it will continue to be updated as S/4HANA adds new modules and functionality. However SAP is really focused on users accessing SAP through other means like their web-based FIORI platform.
What this really amounts to is a whole lot of customization and configuration to build FIORI screens for the functionality that organizations will want to access via the web instead of an old GUI interface. It’s also important to note that since FIORI is web based, it does not function without access to the network, so it is most likely not going to cut it as a mobile solution for most organizations, especially for inside the plant or field services type applications.
Prometheus has spent a lot of time over the last few years developing solutions on the web, as well as for mobile operating systems including Apple iOS, Android, and Windows. We have customers today using Prometheus Mobile to pull and update data directly in SAP while in the field. We have also transitioned our KPI solution out to the web with our Analytics solution, which offers more robust functionality with improved performance. We are also very excited about the Prometheus Web Scheduler, which is offering the functionality that you know and love with our inside of ERP Scheduler out to a web based solution, which obviously brings many of its own benefits that just aren’t possible inside of SAP.
These solutions directly integrate with SAP without the need for lengthy consulting or integration projects, and are fluid with SAP’s UI5 strategy. We will be talking about these solutions more in detail at the 2017 Prometheus Group User Conferences (New Orleans in April and Hamburg for Europe in May), and more importantly, we will have customers presenting on how these solutions have helped them move into the next generation of plant maintenance.
We’re hoping that this will help you and your organization as you discuss moving to new versions of SAP, and we certainly want you to be confident that Prometheus will continue to function in whatever path you choose. If you want more information on anything here, or would like to take a peek at our latest web and mobile solutions, please make sure to contact us. We are looking forward to hearing from you!