A short guide to primary SAP S/4HANA modules and LOBs (2023)


SAP groups S/4HANA modules around lines of business. Here's a quick overview of modules and features for finance, HCM, procurement, manufacturing and more.

SAP software has a well-deserved reputation for complexity. That's not surprising, since many of the largest, most sophisticated companies in the world rely on it for core financials, inventory management and supply chain operations, human resources, sales and marketing, and much more.

That complexity has spawned an alphabet soup of SAP products and modules that can be especially confusing, even to those who are quite familiar with the company's products. To make matters even more challenging, SAP's portfolio is constantly evolving, leading to a near-constant stream of name changes and new acronyms. That has been especially true in recent years, as the company has rolled out a new generation of its flagship ERP, reconfiguring many of the modules from the old SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) product.

SAP has reorganized its concept of ERP modules around "lines of business" (LOBs) within S/4HANA. In this article, I'll provide an overview of the primary SAP S/4HANA modules, organized into the LOB groups defined by SAP. Think of LOBs as logical groupings of SAP modules that correspond to broadly defined business functions within your organization.

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Finance encompasses everything having to do with financial management in the business, including general ledger (GL); accounts payable and accounts receivable; financial planning and analysis, controlling, treasury and risk management; and financial closing and consolidation. The core elements of the Finance LOB are embodied in the Finance (FI) and Controlling (CO) modules, as well as the Treasury Management (TM) module. FI and CO, which comprise the core of most customers' SAP systems, are often referred to as "FICO." This nomenclature dates back to the early days of SAP. FICO is a natural starting point for most customers implementing SAP for the first time. Customers migrating to S/4HANA from ECC may need to transition from SAP's "classic GL" to the so-called "new GL," as S/4HANA only supports the latter.

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The Finance LOB also includes the Investment Management module, which helps guide decisions with respect to investment in fixed assets. This LOB also addresses governance, risk and compliance from a financial perspective.

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Sourcing and Procurement incorporates the Materials Management (MM) and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) modules. As with many of the modules in S/4HANA, MM and SRM are carryovers from SAP's legacy ECC product. This LOB addresses purchasing and procurement processes from start to finish and is tightly integrated with manufacturing and supply chain functions. The functions within this LOB include service agreement management, spend analysis, supplier and category management, sourcing, contract management, operational procurement and invoice management. SAP Ariba, a procurement and supply chain collaboration platform, can operate as a standalone product but is tightly integrated with SAP's Sourcing and Procurement LOB.

Manufacturing encompasses production planning and execution, quality management and anything else having to do with turning raw materials into finished goods. At the heart of the manufacturing LOB is SAP's Production Planning module, another carryover from ECC. Functions include manufacturing engineering and process planning; production planning; bill of materials management; manufacturing execution for discrete and process industries; outsourced manufacturing; quality engineering, inspection and management; maintenance, repair and overhaul; and maintenance operations planning and scheduling. These functions are tightly integrated with the Sourcing and Procurement, Supply Chain Management, Sales and R&D/Engineering LOBs.

Supply Chain is an especially important LOB for manufacturing and distribution companies. Its core module is simply called Supply Chain Management module, which covers everything from high-level business planning to preplanning production to managing optimal stock levels. Another module, Logistics Information Systems, helps companies manage transportation and logistics on a global scale.

Asset Management covers everything having to do with fixed assets, from machinery, equipment and tools to real estate assets such as land and buildings. Asset Management also encompasses plant maintenance, as well as Environment, Health, & Safety management. The core module for this LOB is Enterprise Asset Management. The Plant Maintenance module, familiar to many ECC customers, also plays a prominent role in this area.

Sales addresses all aspects of converting products and services to revenue, from pricing to quoting, customer contracts, returns, order fulfillment, invoicing and revenue recognition. This LOB includes SAP's Sales and Distribution module. CRM and the Customer Service module also play a key role for businesses where post-sales service is important. SAP's Hybris, which began as a flexible e-commerce platform, has evolved to include CRM and marketing automation functions. In 2018, SAP rebranded Hybris under the name C/4HANA. It is tightly integrated with the Sales LOB, and is expected to play an increasingly important role in SAP Sales going forward.

R&D/Engineering is built around SAP's Product Lifecycle Management module. It helps companies manage product development and revisions, bills of materials and costing. In addition, the R&D/Engineering LOB enables businesses to manage their overall product portfolios and comply with product-related health and safety regulations.

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Human Resources offers core HR and payroll, time and attendance management, and employee access to HR data. Many SAP customers migrating from ECC choose to continue running the company's on-premises Human Capital Management (HCM) module as a standalone application, integrated with S/4HANA. Those who prefer a native cloud-based HR application can opt to integrate SAP SuccessFactors with S/4HANA.

Analytics is usually not listed as a module or LOB, but it's a critical piece of the puzzle for virtually any company running SAP's software. For S/4HANA customers, the SAP Analytics Cloud provides a wide range of capabilities, including standard reports, business intelligence, executive dashboards, predictive analytics and planning capabilities. For more expansive analytics that require data warehousing capabilities, SAP offers the SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) or its cloud-based successor, the SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

Technical Modules. In addition to the functional LOBs and modules described above, SAP designates certain technical components as "modules" as well. SAP Basis and the NetWeaver platform, for example, provide the technical foundation upon which SAP's functional modules are built. It's helpful to think of these technical modules as the engine that makes it possible to run all the other components of the SAP ERP machine.

Industry Cloud, although not typically included in a list of standard S/4HANA modules, provides industry-specific capabilities to augment SAP's core ERP. The construction industry, for example, often involves complex progress billing and subcontractor payments that require specialized business processes. SAP's industry cloud solution for the construction industry provides those capabilities as a cloud-based extension that can be deployed alongside SAP ECC or S/4HANA. The list of industry cloud offerings available from SAP continues to grow as the vendor rolls out new innovations every year.

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What are SAP LOB solutions? ›

SAP S/4HANA Logistics is the unofficial name for the collection of supply chain management lines of business (LoBs) that run on the SAP HANA platform. Sometimes referred to as “Logistics with SAP S/4HANA” and “SAP Simple Logistics,” it was built to run on SAP HANA and utilizes the SAP Fiori user interface.

What are the modules of SAP S4 Hana? ›

Overview of SAP S/4HANA Modules
  • Human Capital Management (HCM)
  • Supply Chain Management (SCM)
  • Plant Maintenance (PM)
  • Investment Management (IM)
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Product Life Cycle Management (PLM)
  • Production Planning (PP)
  • Materials Management (MM)
23 May 2019

What is difference between SAP HANA and S 4 Hana? ›

It's easy to be confused about SAP HANA vs S4 HANA–the two sound very similar. To put it simply, SAP HANA is the in-memory database technology that runs the SAP landscape. S4 HANA is the business suite launched as the next-generation ERP designed to run exclusively on the HANA database.

What is SAP simplification list? ›

A Simplification list contains a list of simplification items, which tells about the business and technical impact. Simplification item has a simplification category and provides information about potential impacts for the customer. Based on the Simplification Item custom code, check analysis can be executed.

What is the datatype of LOB? ›

LOB (large objects) data types, such as CLOB, NCLOB, and BLOB, are used to store a large amount of data, such as text documents and images. The BLOB data type is used to store large amounts of binary data.

What are LOB applications? ›

An LOB application refers to one of the sets of critical computer applications that are vital to running an enterprise. LOB applications are usually large programs that contain a number of integrated capabilities and tie into databases and database management systems.

What is SAP s4 Hana in simple terms? ›

SAP S/4HANA is an ERP business suite based on the SAP HANA in-memory database that allows companies to perform transactions and analyze business data in real time.

Which are the 3 main system components of SAP HANA? ›

An SAP HANA system is composed of three main components: the host, the system, and the instance. A host is the operating environment in which the SAP HANA database runs. The host provides all the resources and services (CPU, memory, network, and operating system) that the SAP HANA database requires.

How many modules are in s4 Hana? ›

SAP HANA Modules list: There are 14 types of functional modules available in the SAP HANA; Plant maintenance (PM)

Is SAP's 4 HANA easy to learn? ›

Yes a fresher can learn SAP HANA but at the geeting opportunity will be bit challenging. You should too strong in SAP HANA with SQL & Anlytics as well. If you are well worse with Any Traditional Database & Functionality then it will help you understand HANA.

How many types of SAP modules are there? ›

There are 2 Types of SAP ERP system Modules: Functional Modules and Technical Modules. All SAP Modules integrate with each other with functionality and provide the best solution for a Business.

What is SAP HANA for beginners? ›

SAP HANA is an in-memory data platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance, or in the cloud. It is a revolutionary platform, which is best suited for performing real-time analytics, and developing and deploying real-time applications.

What are the three pillars of SAP activate? ›

The three pillars of the SAP Activate Framework are SAP Best Practices, Guided Configurations, and the SAP Activate Methodology. The framework can be used with all transition scenarios to S/4HANA.

What is R2 and R3 in SAP? ›

R2 was the mainframe version of SAP while R3 is based on client-server(windows gui). 2. R3 is quiet advanced in terms of functionality in terms of technical as well as functional. 3. Technical differences - IDOC/ALE etc is available in R3 while no such facility in R2.

What are the four main use cases of SAP? ›

Business planning and consolidation. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Database and data warehouse management. Enterprise information and performance management.

What is LOB in ERP? ›

The Digital Group provides Line of Business (LOB) solutions that integrate with ERP (Enterprise resource planning), ensuring that your systems are integrated correctly and effectively so you can grow your business more quickly.

What does LOB mean in supply chain? ›

Line of Balance (LOB) is a management control process for collecting, measuring, and presenting facts relating to time (see Schedule Control), cost, and accomplishment – all measured against a specific plan.

What is LOB handle structure in SAP? ›

LOB handle structure. The structure of a special work area to support streaming and locators for LOBs in Open SQL. LOB handle structures have the same components as database tables or views. However, there is at least one component which is assigned to an LOB, which is not a string but a LOB handle component instead.

What are LOB locators? ›

A LOB locator is a reference, or a pointer, to where the LOB value is physically stored. The LOB value is the data stored in the LOB. A LOB locator can be assigned to any LOB instance of the same type, such as BLOB , CLOB , NCLOB , or BFILE .


1. Video 33 - SAP S/4HANA Plant Maintenance (PM) Training : PM tables Overview
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3. SAP S/4HANA Implementation Methodologies & SAP PS integration with SAP PPM & CPM
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4. Introduction to SAP S/4HANA Asset Management Module 1
5. SAP S/4HANA 2020 –Treasury Management
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