SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) provided modules that covered a full range of business applications including logistics, finance and HR. All of these were linked together by a customisable system run through a database of the company’s choice.

However, in 2015 SAP released a new in-memory database platform, called SAP HANA. Delivering faster analytics and removing unnecessary tables, SAP HANA introduced a new digital core and acted as an evolution from SAP ECC.

One of the biggest differences between SAP ECC and HANA is that the architectural changes have created new ways for businesses to work the data they gather. From a financial perspective, it unified accounting ledgers into the single universal journal. This change can help a company’s financial department conduct profitability analysis much quicker.

The introduction of SAP HANA brought with it some major changes to the functional scope. One of the main improvements was the consolidation of the two general ledger architectures. The new accounting architecture was implemented automatically as part of the migration to SAP HANA.

Alongside this, HANA already had Extended Warehouse Management (EWM) functionality included in the core system, meaning that those who adopted the HANA database platform no longer need to have a separate supply chain management system, unlike those who still use SAP ECC.

Another benefit to adopting HANA is the continuous support that SAP provides. Since the new in-memory database was rolled out, new functional capabilities have been released and planned, each one designed to work around SAP HANA.

From Central Finance to SAP BPC (Business Planning and Consolidation), these functions are either designed or optimised for use with HANA. However, they do require extra licenses to use.

While SAP HANA has been positioned as a superior piece of software, there are some SAP ECC functionalities that have no direct replacements. This means businesses will have to assess whether it’s worth switching to HANA as it could render some of their processes obsolete.

The introduction of SAP HANA brought plenty of functional changes that have made it a worthy upgrade from SAP ECC. While there are compatibility packs to allow ECC functions to run on HANA, it’s not going to work at an optimal level. To get the best return on investment and use out of SAP HANA, existing ECC customers need to understand all the functional differences and weigh up the benefits of each system.

After this, the business will be in a knowledgeable place to make an informed decision regarding whether they should stick with SAP ECC or upgrade to SAP HANA.

If you’re looking for a career specialising in any of the products mentioned, then we have plenty of roles available for both SAP HANA and SAP ECC. Alternatively, if you’re a business looking to hire SAP experts, you can speak to one of our consultants today.