SAP S/4 HANA Technical Overview – Part I

S/4 HANA Overview

Finally, this week, we got an opportunity to look into a real S/4 HANA On-Premise Business Suite. We cannot express the joy we experienced to log into a full-blown S/4 HANA system. As of 27th January 2018, we have 1511, 1610 and 1709 major S/4 HANA Releases. 1511 means November (11) 2015 release while 1709 means September (09) 2017 release. Do we need to say what 1610 means? 🙂

Hope you already know what S/4 HANA stands for.

It is SAP Business Suite 4 HANA.

The first thing we did after logging into the system is to check if it was really S/4 HANA system. The database was HANA for sure as shown below.

SAP HANA System Overview

What is S/4 HANA?

How do you know if it is S/4 HANA System or HANA as Database ECC system?

But it can also be ECC system on HANA Database. How to confirm if it was really S/4 HANA? We read in various HANA blogs that S/4 HANA does not support traditional customer master and vendor master t-codes like XK01 and XD01. We knew, if it was really an S/4 HANA system, it should re-direct us to t-code BP (everything is Business Partner in S/4 HANA).

The moment we hit the t-code XK01, we got the below message.

BP transaction in S4 HANA

Now we were confirmed, we were not tricked. It indeed was S/4 HANA Business Suite. After our excitement calmed down, we checked the Installed Software tab and it showed, 1511 SAP Business Site For HANA On-Premise.

S/4 on Premise HANA

Also Read: Real S/4 HANA Project Open Discussion

How does Data Dictionary Objects look in S/4 HANA?

Having the blood of an ABAPer, we were quick to check how the data dictionary table looked like in S/4 HANA. We have been reading that all the fields in HANA tables act as Keys, so we were curious if all fields are checked as Primary Keys in database or none. To our surprise, nothing had changed. The table still shows Primary and Non-Primary Keys. 🙂

MATNR is 40 Character in S/4 HANA

Did you notice, the MATNR data element has been changed from CHAR18 to CHAR40. If you are one of the ABAPers who did not follow the good practice of using data element in your program (instead of matnr data element, you defined it as char18), you would need to change your code to point to 40 characters instead of 18 characters. Sometimes, listening to your quality reviewers and leads help. 🙂

In the technical setting, we can see Table Storage Type(and it is not S/4 HANA feature. it was also in EhP 7.4) is specifically defined as Column.

Can Indexes be defined in S/4 HANA Transparent Tables?

There might not be any need of indexes and secondary indexes in S/4 HANA as the whole table fields act like the index. But standard sap tables are delivered with indexes and we can define and use secondary indexes as well.

indexes in sap hana

First look at the new kid in the town – MATDOC table.

MATDOC table is said to eliminate more than 26 tables. Look at the number of fields. It is almost 300. Look at the Keys. This table would for sure make the reporting easy for ABAPers as we would find all Material Document related information at one place.

Seems, each INCLUDE covers one area of Material Transactions.

How does the Universal Journal Table ACDOCA look?

SAP has cleverly planned to reduce the data footprint exponentially by inserting data into a single table instead of numerous tables thus making reporting simpler. Look at the fields in the table. It is 333  now. 🙂

universal journal table in sap hana

What happens to the tables which are eliminated by MATDOC and ACDOCA?

They say, MKPF, MSEG etc tables are out of the picture and similarly BKPF, BSEG etc are also not needed. So we were hoping, these tables would not exist in S/4 HANA. But they do exist. And they still hold data there. Does it hold data for new transactions as well? Or is it only for storing data moved from old ECC system? We will do some transactions and update you in subsequent articles.

Some previous data dictionary tables are converted to Views.

BSID and BSAD tables exist as View. So our understanding is, if we had reports pulling data from BSID, BSAD etc, those report would still work with no correction.

Also Read: SAP UI5 explained for ABAPers

Some new tables like BSAD_BCK, BSAD_BAK etc introduced.

Looks like some transparent tables are introduced for backward compatibility (our guess looking at the name). We would have better clarity once we start working on it.

Is BDC the Cockroach of SAP World?

One of the frequently asked questions by ABAPers is, can we do Call Transaction i.e. can we perform BDC in S/4 HANA? The answer is, BDC has survived the S/4 HANA transition. No matter how hard SAP tries to bring other frameworks, at the end of the day, when there is no other way, BDC comes to the rescue. 🙂

T-Code SHDB to record the screen exists in S/4 HANA.

Can BDC be done in S/4 HANA?

We also found the programs where BDC solution is implemented and Call Transaction is being called.


These are some of the quick technical findings found after taking the glimpse of the S/4 HANA System. For ABAPers, there does not look to be a major impact. Business and Process-wise, there is a huge change. But for technical folks, it would be another upgrade project. ABAPers would have to learn to utilize the new concepts like SQL, Code to Data Paradigm shift, AMDP, CDS, ADBC, HANA Procedures. ABAPers need to write optimized programming to make use of the game-changing in-memory concept. But they would just be the new additions to their existing skill armory. The fundamentals remain the same and ABAPers are not being killed so soon.

Click here to Learn AMDP Programming.
Click here to Learn CDS Programming.

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We have organized all our SAP Tutorials on one page. Please visit the below link to find all materials at one convenient place.

Step by Step Tutorials on S/4 HANA

Also, check HANA-ABAP Tutorials


  1. Nice Article and as reference for future ABAP HANAers!
    Thank you for the sharing this Article…we are waiting for the more such realistic (on actual system) articles…Keep sharing.

    Great going !!!

    • Thank you Rajan for stopping by and leaving your thoughts. Our next article in the series is almost ready. It would be published this Wednesday. Please keep visiting.

      Please share our links with your friends, team members and colleagues.

      Team SAPYard.

    • Thank you Srinivas. Glad you liked it. Please keep visiting and sharing your feedback.

      Please share our links with your friends, colleagues and team members.

      Team SAPYard.

  2. Hello SAP Yard.

    This article was so meant for me …It clears some virtual understanding I have on ABAP on HANA and the usual ABAP on the ECC I know. I have gone through the first 2 chapters of the Abap on HANA tutorial on your website and I must say, it’s as good as this article.
    I will like to continue with the tutorials, is there like a test server where i can get practice ?
    Am an Abaper in Nigeria, my company is about to jump into a HANA project soon. Having a feel of the system will surely give me confidence .

    Hope to hear from you soon on the test servers ..

    • Thank you Opeyemi. So glad that our article reached you at Nigeria and you found it useful. Unfortunately, we do not hv any test server as of now. Please try to find some online service providers. They might take some fee and give your access.

      Hopefully, you will get soon in your project.

      Please share our links with your friends, colleagues and team members.

      Team SAPYard.

  3. Nicely explained, would love to read/learn more over Technical (Basis/Security) aspects. What’s in it for Admin team, or is it just another upgrade as mentioned above 🙂

    Rupali S

    • Dear Rupali – Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving your feedback. We are sure, there would be some change wrt Basis/Security. We are not aware yet. Would check from Basis experts and update.

      Please keep visiting.

      Team SAPYard.

  4. HI , Thanks a lot for sharing this article gives a clear insight of the system and answers some of the questions going on in the minds of curious people. I would love to see the following articles. Could you please also mention about the role of Fiori / UI5 in S/4 Hana ( I was reading about UI being simplified with S/4).
    Thanks a lot.

    • Dear Susha – Thank you very much for stopping by and leaving your comment. Sure, we would write subsequent articles. All of us are learning and we would share as and when we get more insight.

      Sure, we would also write about the Simplified UI on S/4 HAHA.

      Team SAPYard.

  5. In the technical setting, we can see Table Storage Type(and it is not S/4 HANA feature. it was also in ECC 7.4) is specifically defined as Column.

    Please correct above line …

    I think ECC 6.0 Ehp8 was kast release of ECC ERP. After that S4 HANA 1511 system released.

  6. Very nicely explained, seems intuitive designing is the flavor now even for tutorials. Very well arranged screenshot and their explanation. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you Mohinder.. Happy that you liked our way of presentation. SAPYard is trying hard to explain the concepts in easy and fluid manner. 🙂 And we are glad, you appreciate it.

      Please share our page with your friends and colleagues and team members.

      Please keep visiting.

      Team SAPYard.

    • Dear Smriti – Thank you so much for your appreciation. Feedback like yours, keep us motivated.

      Please share the link with your friends, colleagues and team members. We would surely continue the series.

      Team SAPYard.

    • Thank you Neelima for correcting us. We were not aware of it. Do you know why these tables (BSAD_BAK,BSAD_BCK) are used?

      Thank you again for updating us with the correct info. Please keep writing your comments.

      Team SAPYard.

  7. Nice Article which is covering the questions from all enthusiastic ABAPers … 🙂 and especially the ground reality of future system ..
    Keep sharing ..

    • Thank you Deep. We are just trying to show the real system to those who do not have access to S/4 HANA yet..

      Please keep visiting and leaving your feedback.

      Team SAPYard.

  8. Wow awesome Article!!! Thank u for the sharing…Waiting for the more such realistic (on actual system) articles…Keep sharing..

    • Thank you Raz. As we play with S/4 HANA box, we would write our experience. It might be simple stuffs, but for those who have no access to system, it might benefit.

      Please keep visiting and providing your feedback.

      Team SAPYard.


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