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ERP architecture models

The S/4 conversion is a paradigm shift and not a technical release change. SAP talks about digital transformation and the intelligent enterprise, but conceals the fact that this requires not only Hana and S/4, but also a suitable ERP architecture.
Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine
11 May 2023
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Homeless ERP architects in the SAP community

The topic of enterprise architecture is not immediately comprehensible to SAP managers, because every existing SAP customer probably intuitively assumes that such a function, or one similar to it, should be present and integrated from the outset. On closer inspection, however, R/3 and the current ECC functioned without an architecture model. SAP developed a perfect IT infrastructure and IT architecture with the three-tier client/server model. The CIO was always satisfied with this, and SAP's ERP functioned without complaint for a long time. However, a business-relevant ERP architecture was missing as a counterpart to the IT on the business side, and enterprise architects were also missing.

Aris wallpapers

An ERP system is more than a central database as a single point of truth and a few app servers as well as the clients of the users, see SAP's three-tier client/server model. The business processes are decisive in the organizational and operational structure; Professor August-Wilhelm Scheer tried to capture these 30 years ago with the IT tool Aris. Some members of the SAP community may still remember the endless Aris wallpapers in the business process reengineering workshops of the 1990s. These flowcharts were meant to make it understandable what ERP could do. Even back then, the intention was to provide users with an ERP architecture. Back then, as today, it was important from a business perspective to create a transparent ERP.

Exit: SolMan

Aris by Professor Scheer was not quite the big success. Later, SAP tried to make up for some of the conceptual work with Solution Manager. Operationally, SAP Business Suite stabilized, but the SolMan did not succeed in looking beyond SAP's horizons, so that the view of an enterprise architecture was still denied. SAP failed to provide managers beyond IT with an ERP view. SolMan remained a tool of the SAP base. Managers continued to have no idea what the SAP system and connected IT were doing.

The Enterprise Architect

A new professional group and the company LeanIX grew out of SAP's negligence in recent years. The enterprise architect is not an ERP builder and IT engineer, but a planner, archivist and cartographer who designs, maintains and manages an overall picture of the ERP architecture far beyond SAP's boundaries. With his maps, the enterprise architect shows management the development possibilities, license costs, weak points and performance parameters of its own IT. This is not about cloud computing, virtualization and client/server, but about operational and strategic architecture models that the business can and should use as a guide.

Lifebelt for S/4

A holistic architecture model, such as an enterprise architect can create with LeanIX, will be the lifebelt for S/4 conversion in many cases. The fastest car, the biggest truck, the safest ship and the most comfortable plane are of little help without a map. If you don't know where the road is going, you won't get anywhere even with the technical means of transportation. The S/4 conversion can only succeed with a master plan, a map by an enterprise architect. SAP has overlooked this parameter, but has now chosen LeanIX as a strategic partner. SAP's existing customers should think about these steps.

Peter M. Färbinger, E3 Magazine

Peter M. Färbinger, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief E3 Magazine DE, US and ES (, AG, Freilassing (DE), E-Mail: and Tel. +49(0)8654/77130-21

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.