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Beyond Standard: Exploring the Extensibility Options in SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud

Beyond Standard: Exploring the Extensibility Options in SAP S/4HANA Public Cloud

By: Kiran Bhat

Extensibility unlocks the SAP S/4HANA Cloud capabilities beyond its preconfigured robust standard out of the box business processes. It empowers the customers with cutting edge tools to create a competitive advantage by customizing their unique business processes and enriching the core ERP. Before considering extensions, customers should foster a cloud mindset and use standard processes and standard products whenever possible.

Why do you need S/4HANA extensions?
You need extensibility when you require unique company processes and functionalities, custom apps & custom reports that standard SAP ERP does not cover it all. Traditionally, extensions were built on SAP ECC or On-prem using an ABAP code and classic developer adaptation possibilities, but they do not enforce clean core concept. Classic extensions are no longer the best options in the cloud era and with the move to SAP S/4HANA Cloud, a more robust and loosely coupled extensibility model is required.

A new approach to extensibility:
The clean core paradigm: SAP S/4HANA introduces a paradigm shift by emphasizing clean separation between SAP core functionalities from customizations and extensions. Extensibility model leverages public APIs and extension points. Extensibility focuses on Key-user extensibility and Developer extensibility. There are three kinds of extensibility offered and they are:

Key User extensibility: it’s an In-app extensibility in the S/4HANA Cloud core. This approach is for low-code/no-code extensions created by key users who have a deep knowledge of the product itself, but not necessarily a very deep technical knowledge. It allows users to adapt standard functionalities to user requirements without the need for any external tools. Whether you want to apply small changes, such as hiding standard fields for specific user groups or including some business logic. Here’s an overview of the things you can do using key user extensibility tools:

  • Change and adapt the UIs for SAP Fiori Apps through Key User Flexibility or classic applications using Screen Personas
  • Create a new custom user interface.
  • Create and extend forms and email templates.
  • Create custom specific CDS (cored data service) Views
  • Enhance the current business process by creating custom business logic.
  • Create custom fields.
  • Create custom business objects.

Developer extensibility: is on-stack extensibility and embedded into s/4HANA Cloud core. This option is for developer extensions implemented directly in ABAP using the S/4HANA Cloud public environment. It allows developers to create custom ABAP code, extension of SAP S/4HANA cloud solutions, partner extensions/solutions. Developer extensibility allows customers to create development projects in an SAP S/4HANA Cloud system. It helps to develop cloud-ready and upgrade-stable custom ABAP code on SAP S/4HANA Cloud. Developers use only SAP released, whitelisted APIs to keep the core clean. It combines the benefits of custom ABAP code, with the required restrictions for cloud-readiness and the SAP S/4HANA programming model to build SAP Fiori apps. This includes:

  • ABAP RESTful Application Programming model (RAP) to build services and SAP Fiori apps
  • SAP Fiori tools for UI developments
  • Eclipse-based IDE (ABAP Development Tools) with debugger, troubleshooting, and testing tool support
  • ABAP software lifecycle support

Side-By-Side extensibility: is a cloud extensibility option for developer extensions using the development environment in SAP business technology platform (BTP). It provides the ABAP platform as a service on BTP and true decoupling between customer extensions and SAP S/4HANA Cloud enables an independent lifecycle that allows to build applications much faster. The SAP Business Technology Platform is the accepted choice for building an extension for any SAP cloud solution. The goal is to develop a loosely coupled, but seamlessly integrated extension.

It allows developers to access business objects through remote public APIs that are published in SAP’s API business Hub. It allows integration with SAP BTP services like AI business services, process automation, data marks and analytics, data science & intelligence, IOT & Big data. Developers can develop custom code, extensions and SaaS solutions in ABAP, Java or Node.js.

For more information or a product demo of S/4HANA Public Cloud and need help with your existing S/4HANA public cloud, please contact Team ASAR!

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