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The release strategy of SAP S/4HANA

Since the introduction of SAP S/4HANA in 2015, there have been some adjustments regarding the SAP S/4HANA release strategy for the on-premise version. What’s new, what’s old – here’s the info at a glance!

Releasestrategie von SAP S/4HANA

The beginnings of the SAP S/4HANA release strategy

Let’s start with the introduction of SAP S/4HANA in 2015. SAP published new releases during the year, where the first two digits stood for the year and the second for the month of the release. This allowed companies to benefit from new features several times a year. But this rapid pace of innovation also came at a price, as it required continuous adaptation and certain effort on the part of companies.

Changes in strategy

In 2018, SAP switched to annual releases in September. This change brought stability to update cycles, but resulted in companies having to wait longer for new features.

In 2020, the naming of releases was changed to align with the year, providing more clarity. But three years later, in 2023, there was another change to a 2-year release cycle. While this cycle promises greater stability and predictability, at the same time innovations could be slower to reach end customers.

In parallel with these changes, SAP delivers enhancement packages several times a year to provide improvements and new functionality.

By and large, SAP S/4HANA’s release strategy represents a balancing act between stability, predictability, and innovation. While some companies may welcome these longer cycles, others may see them as an obstacle to rapid innovation. It remains exciting to see how SAP will manage this balancing act in the future.