Skip to content

RISE with SAP vs. S/4HANA Cloud: The Showdown


SAP’s announcement that they would end maintenance on Business Suite 7 by 2027 had all SAP users — even those lagging on modernization plans — thinking about what their next steps would be once the traditional ERP system phased out. Since then, two SAP offerings have taken center stage: RISE with SAP and S/4HANA Cloud.

For many current and potential SAP customers, however, questions exist around exactly what each solution offers, how they’re different, and which one they should consider. In reality, though, RISE with SAP and S/4HANA don’t present an either/or scenario — companies can and do have both.

In this guide, we’ll sort out the confusion by defining both RISE with SAP and S/4HANA cloud, explaining how they’re related, discussing the benefits of each, and offering tips for how to choose the right solution for your business.

Quick Takeaways

  • RISE with SAP was launched in 2021 as a business-transformation-as-a-service solution.
  • S/4HANA is one of the six bundled solutions offered through RISE — along with SAP’s technology platform, business process intelligence, and more.
  • SAP users can also choose to adopt S/4HANA as a standalone solution (sans RISE) to migrate and/or modernize SAP systems on the cloud.
  • SAP certified partners like Protera can help you determine the best strategic SAP solution (including choosing between RISE with SAP vs. S/4HANA) for your business.

RISE with SAP: A New Type of Offering for SAP

Let’s start with RISE with SAP, which launched in January 2021 and marked a new shift for SAP to a subscription business model.

This shift wasn’t totally surprising given the massive emergence of “as-a-service” models across every business sector. As companies move to the cloud and adopt remote modern workspaces at an increasing rate, they’re leveraging -aaS as an increasingly core part of how they operate.

RISE with SAP aligns with this trend, offering what SAP has named “business transformation as a service” (BaaS) and offering 6 bundled solutions to help companies transform:


  • Business Process Intelligence — Tools to enable data-driven decision making that drives greater agility, smarter operations, and higher levels of innovation.
  • SAP Technology Platform — Access to SAP’s platform for building applications and programs as well as database management, analytics, software development tools, and other SAP solutions.
  • Flexibility to Choose Infrastructure Provider — Choose from one of the business world’s top cloud hyperscalers like AWS or Azure.
  • SAP Business Network Starter Pack — Access pilots with carriers, suppliers, and service providers in SAP’s business network to streamline workflows and improve processes.
  • Custom Code Analyzer — Extract data on the use of SAP objects in your custom code and use it to clean up and enhance code.
  • S/4HANA Cloud — Operate SAP on the public or private cloud and run SAP HANA in-memory database.

Protera Blog RISE with SAP Overview

Where does SAP S/4HANA fit in?

SAP S/4HANA is not separate or competitive with RISE with SAP — as outlined above, it’s one of the six primary offerings included in RISE’s bundled solutions.

That said, users can and often do access S/4HANA as a standalone solution and choose one of two platforms:

  • Public Cloud — Multi-tenant cloud environment managed by SAP
  • Private Cloud — Single-tenant environment managed by the IaaS provider

For SAP users, S/4HANA provides the opportunity to migrate and modernize to the cloud and utilize the in-memory database technology. To access other solutions and services, however, (like those included in RISE), users would need to make separate purchases and subscriptions.

RISE with SAP vs. S/4HANA Cloud: How do you choose?

There’s a common misconception that RISE with SAP is for SAP beginners — those that need more guidance on moving and operating their SAP systems in modern environments. While RISE does help enterprises who need guided services, it wasn’t designed exclusively for that purpose.

RISE is meant to expand the value SAP offers beyond ERP functionality to holistic business value. It gives companies streamlined access to a wider range of SAP tools, services, and applications to enhance and modernize their business. SAP S/4HANA Cloud helps users do the same, but in a more singular way — by delivering SAP’s software products in a modern cloud environment.

If you’re looking to execute a full-scale modernization that includes the S/4HANA cloud but also aims to transform applications, processes, workflows, and culture, then RISE can be a valuable resource to help you do it. If your main focus is getting your current SAP systems onto the cloud, starting with S/4HANA may be the best route.

In the end there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding between RISE with SAP vs. S/4HANA — it’s all about deciding which solutions your business needs, and what fits within your strategy and budget.

How Protera Can Help You Modernize with SAP

Protera can help you evaluate your current SAP capabilities alongside your business needs and goals, then decide on the right next steps — including deciding between RISE with SAP vs. S/4HANA Cloud and other SAP solutions. And no matter which route you choose, Protera will be there with the SAP expertise, strategic guidance, and operational support you need to make the most out of your investment.


Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your business transform.