What is Multi Tenancy?

According to Gartner

Multitenancy is a reference to the mode of operation of software where multiple independent instances of one or multiple applications operate in a shared environment.

Single-Tenant vs Multi-Tenant?

> Single Tenant Model – Each customer gets a separate instance of the software which runs on a logically isolated hardware environment.
> Multi-Tenant Model – All the customers are served from the same common software instance and hardware infrastructure.

What’s the difference from today environment?

Quoting from Bill Harmer, Gooddata

In the old days, hosted systems were very common. IBM, CGI, and others allocated servers and provisioned software to run systems for customers–meaning one installation of the binary for each customer. Systems were accessed over dedicated connections, and the “server” industry boomed. Now, the public infrastructure (the Internet) is used to access those same systems. The software, in a lot of cases, is legacy on premise software that is being run in the vendor’s data centers and typically uses a VMWare, Xen or other system-level virtualization to manage the deployments. These 20-year-old hosted-style deployments are not only in use today, but are often slapped with the ubiquitous “cloud” moniker.

What does it do with ERP?

with the popularity of salesforce.com, cornerstone on demand, and other multi-tenants. Now we can see the use of multi-tenant everywhere. It’s not all about the trend, it’s the new era of software development where the old definition of ‘Write once and use it everywhere’ change into ‘Write once and use it for everyone’.
Everyone means multiple customer using the same instance of a software, this model would be advantage for the both sides. For Developer we only need to patch the software once for all customer. For customer we don’t need to setup the infrastructure,which means it would save hell of the money for IT implementation.

And for SAP?

You think that SAP are not prepare for this trend? i’ll give you a hint, they are well prepared.
for the last years SAP already acquiring some cloud multi-tenant across the world:
http://www.ariba.com/ -> SD & FI
http://www.successfactors.com/ -> HCM
http://www.workday.com/ -> HR & FI
https://www.concur.com/ -> Travel Expense
http://www.fieldglass.com/ -> Vendor Management Systems (SD)
https://www.hybris.com/en/ -> SD

Those company acquired in the range of 2011-2014.

More over, John Appleby, stated that SAP HANA will support a ‘True Cloud Multi-Tenancy’.

“The Public Cloud version will use database multi-tenancy, which is quasi-multitenant from a cloud perspective. ABAP Code-lines, configuration tables etc. will not be shared yet between customers on one SAP HANA container database. This is expected to come in time, as SAP HANA supports true cloud multi-tenancy.”

With a lot of technology acquired across module by SAP, I think they are pretty serious to join the era of multi-tenant. Although i don’t know how they’re going to integrate all of their ‘New Acquire Product’ into SAP in the future. Either they have a independent module for travel expense, maybe? or they took all of the engine inside and put it into SAP-ABAP-HANA style?
It’s a lot of possibilities what they could do with those technology.
But, according to the history of their acquisition, I strongly believe that they’re going to do the right thing.
For instance, the acquisition of company name Outlooksoft in 2007, which turned out to be SAP BPC nowadays, integrated so well with SAP ecosystem. Now with SAP BPC 10, they have a new look SAPUI5’s style, the program looks more ‘SAPed’. They even create specific BAdI to accommodate the BPC engine so they could integrate logic script – ABAP – package (excel EPM) so well.
You get the idea, right?

So, How strategic is S/4HANA to SAP?

To put this into context, Hasso Plattner, SAP Chairman of the Executive Board, was quoted as saying:

“If this doesn’t work, we’re dead. Dead in the water.”