True SCM Blog #4

SAP S/4 HANA Versions & Naming Conventions

SAP kicked off its first ERP S/4 HANA (High-Performance Analytics Application) in March 2015 as a finance solution where it was on-premise and SAP oddly named the version 1503. Previously, it was simply named and known as Simple Finance. Simple enough, huh?

So, you’re asking what is 1503? No, it’s not a code name for a newly manufactured Cyborg or iRobot. Well, when SAP came up with the version names in their native Deutschland (Germany), they decided that it was best that the naming convention was based upon whether the solution was on-premise or in the cloud. Sort of…

With on-premise, the naming convention typically follows this path for newer on-premise versions, but they did deviate in versions before 2020. Technically speaking, on-premise utilized both naming conventions by SAP of YYYY (year, year, year, year) & YYMM (year, year, month, month). The new nomenclature began in the 2020 on-premise version, whereas the older versions used YYMM similar to the SAP cloud version naming convention. Are you following me? Good! Finally, for on-premise, releases initially came out twice a year, but since version SAP S/4 HANA — 1709, which came out in September 2017, releases became an annual thing going forward.

  • SAP S/4HANA 1709: September 2017 (YYYY)
  • YYYY — 2020 was released in 2020 as the first annual product release using this updated naming convention.
  • YYMM — 1503 for Finance means March 2015
  • In contrast, the cloud-based version of SAP always follows this naming convention in all releases . For example, 2022, means February 2202, where it is their latest release. Moreover, the SAP cloud-based version of HANA gets released every three months.
  • YYMM (year, year, month, month) — 2202 (February 2022).
  • YYMM (year, year, month, month) — 2111 (November 2021).

SAP S/4 HANA on-premise or in the cloud?

The common misconception today even by SAP technical and business user community is that ALL SAP S/4 HANA implementations are on the cloud. The truth is that it all began as an on-premise solution for SAP. To provide a better illustration, they now offer both on-premise (formerly called Essential Edition, Single-Tenant Edition, and Multi-Tenant Edition) and a cloud-based solution aptly named SAP S/4 HANA Cloud. To make things more confusing on this topic, in 2021, SAP S/4 HANA Cloud came in a private edition while the on-premise edition deployment could be supported by SAP or by a Cloud-Hyperscaler.
Additionally, SAP developed this application for enterprises but it can also be leveraged by mid-market organizations as well today as an upgrade to SAP business one (small to medium businesses).