Key differences between SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA

3 min readNov 2, 2023


SAP specializes in enterprise resource planning (ERP) software. ERP software enhances efficiency and improves customer experience in areas like finance, inventory and asset management, sales, HR, marketing, and product development.

In 2015, SAP launched SAP S/4HANA a new, flagship ERP software. But many businesses are still using its predecessor, SAP ECC. By 2027, SAP will no longer maintain SAP ECC, so companies will need to migrate to SAP S/4HANA.

In this article, we’ll explore the key differences you need to be aware of before you make the move.

1. Architecture:

- SAP ECC (ERP Central Component) is built on a traditional, two-tier client-server architecture, where the application and database run on separate systems.

- SAP S/4HANA, on the other hand, runs on an in-memory computing database called SAP HANA, utilizing a modern three-tier architecture. This allows for real-time data processing and faster analytics.

2. User Interface:

- SAP ECC has a user interface known as SAP GUI (Graphical User Interface), which can appear somewhat outdated and lacks a modern user experience.

- SAP S/4HANA offers a more intuitive and user-friendly interface called SAP Fiori. It provides a consistent and responsive design across different devices and allows users to personalize their dashboard.

3. Data Model:

- SAP ECC uses a traditional row-based data model, which can be inflexible and less efficient for complex data queries and reporting.

- SAP S/4HANA employs a columnar data model, optimized for SAP HANA’s in-memory capabilities. This enables faster data access and processing, resulting in better performance.

4. Reporting and Analytics:

- SAP ECC offers reporting and analytics capabilities through tools like SAP Business Warehouse (BW) and SAP BusinessObjects. However, these tools often require complex configurations and data extraction.

- SAP S/4HANA includes built-in analytics and reporting features powered by SAP HANA. Users can generate real-time reports and leverage pre-defined analytics content without the need for separate tools.

5. Functionalities and Features:

- SAP ECC provides a wide range of functionalities for various business processes like finance, sales, procurement, and production. However, some processes require manual or batch-based processing.

- SAP S/4HANA offers enhanced functionalities and features. It introduces automation and simplification through technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and robotic process automation.

6. Integration and Extensibility:

- SAP ECC requires additional middleware for integrating with third-party systems or cloud applications. Customization and extensions can also be complex.

- SAP S/4HANA includes pre-packaged integration scenarios called SAP Integration Suite, enabling seamless integration with other SAP and non-SAP systems. It also provides tools for easier customization and extension, such as SAP Cloud Platform.

7. Deployment Options:

- SAP ECC is available for on-premises deployment, where the software runs on the company’s own servers. It can also be deployed in a private cloud or a hybrid environment.

- SAP S/4HANA offers more deployment options, including on-premises, cloud, and hybrid deployments. The cloud deployment provides flexibility, scalability, and regular updates from SAP.

It’s important to note that migrating from SAP ECC to SAP S/4HANA requires careful planning and consideration, as it involves data migration and potential process redesign.

I hope this detailed comparison helps you understand the key differences between SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA in a conversational tone without any corporate jargon.

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