With both SAP HANA and SAP S/4 HANA being widely spoken about throughout the industry, getting the two confused is an easy mistake to make. However, while the two are related, they are completely different products. Simply put, SAP HANA is the name given to the in-memory computer platform and SAP S/4HANA is the next generation business suite specifically built to work on SAP HANA.

With the company stopping all mainstream maintenance on SAP ERP by 2025, it’s clear that SAP S/4HANA is their new flagship business suite. Migration needs to start soon and the similarities in the product names can cause confusion throughout SAP-centric businesses.

What is SAP HANA?

SAP HANA is an in-memory database and application development platform. Originally released in 2010, it is SAP’s most prolific product, enabling data analysts to query large quantities of data in real time.

Alongside this, SAP HANA also features a programming component that allows businesses to develop and run bespoke applications on top of the database. HANA is able to run alongside other SAP applications, meaning users can find real-time data without having to wait for daily or weekly reports.

SAP HANA’s approach is to store the data within columnar formats and to deliver real-time transactions and analytics. This allows better access and processing of data than a typical row-based memory format.

What is SAP S/4HANA?

Meanwhile, SAP S/4HANA is the business suite that has been built specifically on the HANA platform. The purpose of this product is to cover the day-to-day process of huge companies such as order-to-cash, plan-to-product and request-to-service.

The introduction of S/4HANA marks a move away from the traditional transactional system and instead looks to give users real-time active decision support based on internal and external data sources.

The next generation business suite was originally released in 2015. Since then, SAP has begun phasing out their old ERP to make S/4HANA their new flagship product. From digitising finances to managing product lifecycles, the new ERP suite allows business to develop industry-specific functionality.


SAP HANA is the in-memory database management system and S/4HANA is the ERP suite that has been designed to work upon it. While the two SAP products aren’t the same, they have been designed to work together. Both have become part of SAP flagship offering as they look to provide the next generation of products to enterprises around the world.

As SAP continues to turn S/4HANA into the main ERP suite, the need for experts who can integrate legacy systems is only going to rise. If you’re looking for a change in your career, then take a look at the SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA roles we have available.