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A buyer's guide to S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC

S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC is best for companies with a complex environment that are upgrading from an existing SAP system. Learn whether it's the best choice for your company.

S/4HANA Any Premise on HANA Enterprise Cloud could be a good fit for larger companies that want SAP to manage most of their environment.

As SAP's flagship S/4HANA product has evolved, the company has added multiple deployment options, giving users more choices for their ERP software's location and flexibility. The five versions range from highly standardized but relatively straightforward to highly customizable with greater complexity.

The entry-level product is S/4HANA Cloud, a multi-tenant version with limited customization options and a reduced ERP functionality scope. SAP also offers several Any Premise S/4HANA versions for larger users with more complex requirements. These provide the full scope of SAP's ERP functionality with advanced customization and integration options as well as product deployment location flexibility.

S/4HANA Any Premise on HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) is one of these more advanced S/4HANA versions.

What is S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC?

As the name suggests, a user can deploy S/4HANA Cloud Any Premise on their in-house servers or in the cloud using SAP HEC as a foundation. HANA Enterprise Cloud is an infrastructure-as-a-service tool set, plus managed services from SAP. The managed services include backup and restore services, software patches and updates, provisioning new users, software upgrades, disaster recovery and security monitoring. SAP manages the services for the user within a private cloud environment.

HANA Enterprise Cloud should not be confused with the hyperscaler cloud platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. In fact, HEC can sit on top of them, providing a framework for SAP to manage a user's S/4HANA Any Premise deployment. A user can also deploy HEC within a data center or at one of SAP's data centers. 

SAP manages Any Premise on HEC, and this version offers far more flexibility and more customization options than its lower-end counterparts. Unlike some of the lower-end product versions, Any Premise on HEC can serve as an upgrade path from previous SAP ERP product generations -- for example, ERP Central Component or ECC.

Functional scope

S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC includes the complete range of SAP's ERP features, including all industry-specific functionality, languages and localizations. It also fully supports partner add-ons, which is an advantage for companies running third-party applications as part of their SAP landscape.

Users running S/4HANA Any Premise can also take full advantage of ancillary SAP products such as SAP SuccessFactors Employee Central, which offers HR management functions; Fieldglass, which offers vendor management functions; Hybris, which offers e-commerce and CRM functions; and Ariba, which offers procurement and supply chain management functions.

Extensibility

While the entry-level S/4HANA offerings have limited extensibility, Any Premise on HEC users can extend and customize the product as well as make modifications that alter SAP's core functionality. Advanced Business Application Programming extensions and side-by-side development provide ample opportunities to add capabilities.

While some other S/4HANA versions only allow limited partner content or require manual templates deployment, Any Premise on HEC puts virtually no limitations on partner-developed content deployment. However, SAP must approve any applications deployed on HEC to ensure the applications meet security and platform requirements.

Users are most likely to choose S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC if they are upgrading from an existing SAP system to S/4HANA and have a complex environment that includes customization and partner add-ons.

Licensing

S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC is available through a bring-your-own license model in which users can license the software from SAP on a traditional perpetual license model. Users then pay for infrastructure and management services by subscription.

Who manages the environment?

SAP manages the environment regardless of where it's deployed. Users can host S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC within their own data center, at an SAP data center or at an SAP-approved hyperscaler.

Suitable implementation scenarios

Unlike some of the other versions of S/4HANA, which are only suited to new -- or greenfield --implementations, S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC allows for a system conversion or selective data transition from a preexisting SAP environment. Because of this, larger SAP users with significant customizations or partner-developed content should likely opt for one of the S/4HANA Any Premise versions.

The upgrade process

Upgrades for S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC occur annually, and upgrade timing is very flexible. While SAP manages most aspects of the environment, users must take primary responsibility for the upgrade process. SAP leaders likely made this decision because many Any Premise on HEC users will have customized or modified their versions.

Because of this annual update schedule, S/4HANA Any Premise users don't get immediate access to new ERP features and innovations. Users must decide if they are comfortable with this tradeoff.

S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC use cases

Users are most likely to choose S/4HANA Any Premise on HEC if they are upgrading from an existing SAP system to S/4HANA and have a complex environment that includes customization and partner add-ons. Users who prefer to host their SAP systems in-house will likely choose one of the Any Premise versions over S/4HANA Cloud, Extended Edition and Private Edition.

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