SAP S/4 HANA Technical. Part 1 – Overview


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.