SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) is the previous generation of SAP’s enterprise resource planning software. ECC provides modules covering a full range of industry applications, including finance, logistics, HR, product planning and customer service, linked together into a single, customizable system run on a database of the user’s choice. ECC was succeeded by SAP S/4HANA, SAP’s in-memory database.
Expert Insight — Curtis Gaska, Solution Architect
As a modular system, SAP ECC is designed so that businesses can use the pieces they need, configured in a way that makes sense for their landscape. SAP ECC can also work with third-party, or customized applications in a customized technology stack. That flexibility comes at the cost of complexity. All the parts of your landscape interact, which means a change to one part of your landscape can affect how other parts function. As a result, upgrades, Enhancement Packs and third-party products have to be carefully tested before they’re added to your landscape.
SAP ECC vs. R/3
SAP R/3 was a 3-tier ERP system released in the early 1990s. The lowest layer was the database layer, which consisted of the structures that store data, along with the data itself. Above that was the application layer, which consisted of one or (usually) more application servers running business applications (for finance, HR and so on), along with a message server to communicate between the application layers. The presentation layer was the layer users actually interacted with, using the SAP GUI — the user interface.
SAP R/3 was upgraded a number of times. With version 5.0, SAP changed the name to ECC. This was a major upgrade, but ECC is more like an evolution of R/3 than a completely different product.
SAP ECC vs. HANA
SAP HANA and ECC are different types of things. ECC is an application suite that historically ran on a third-party database, while HANA is SAP’s own in-memory database. When ECC is run on HANA, it’s called Suite on HANA. Moving to Suite on HANA provides substantial performance improvements, better reporting and other benefits for SAP users.
SAP ECC vs. S/4HANA
S/4HANA is the successor of ECC, but it’s not just an upgrade. SAP rebuilt its applications from the ground up to take advantage of the power and innovative design of HANA. SAP ECC users need to pass through Suite on HANA, and then undergo further transformations to reach S/4HANA. It’s worth the work. S/4 users get all the benefits of Suite, along with others, like flexible data modeling, real-time reporting, and numerous application-specific benefits.
The Future of SAP ECC
SAP is trying to phase out ECC and move everyone to S/4HANA. The company has announced they’ll discontinue support for SAP ECC after 2025. While that might seem far away, it’s sooner than it sounds. SAP HANA migration can be complex and time consuming, and you need to leave time to get it right.
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