April 23, 2024

The Importance of Clean Core in Modern SAP Extension Strategies

Traditionally, extending SAP systems involved modifying core code or data. This approach, while effective, presented challenges during upgrades. The arrival of cloud-based solutions like SAP S/4HANA Cloud demanded a new approach to extensions: Clean Core.

Classic Extension Challenges:

  • Upgrade hurdles: Modifications and copied objects could become unstable or obsolete with new software versions.
  • Testing overhead: Extensive testing was needed to ensure extensions continued to function after upgrades.
  • Limited collaboration: Customer-specific changes remained isolated, hindering knowledge sharing.

Clean Core: A New Approach

Clean Core separates extensions from the core SAP application. This ensures:

  • Upgrade simplicity: Extensions don't interfere with core updates, minimizing upgrade disruptions.
  • Improved stability: The separation reduces the risk of extensions introducing errors into the core system.
  • Reduced TCO: Easier upgrades and streamlined maintenance lead to lower total cost of ownership.
  • Enhanced security: A clean core promotes robust system security and data integrity.

Benefits for Everyone

  • Customers: Effortless upgrades, faster innovation adoption, and lower TCO.
  • Partners: Future-proof solutions, easier implementation, and reduced complexity.

Clean Core Extensibility: How It Works

Clean Core extensions leverage well-defined APIs to interact with SAP functionalities. This ensures:

  • Upgrade stability: Extensions remain functional even with core updates.
  • Separation of concerns: Core system and extensions remain distinct, simplifying maintenance.

Key Practices for Clean Core Success

  • Minimize modifications: Avoid unnecessary changes to standard SAP code.
  • Utilize APIs: Leverage officially supported APIs for extension development.
  • Embrace key user extensibility: Take advantage of built-in tools for non-technical users.
  • Explore SAP Business Technology Platform: Build advanced extensions using this platform's capabilities.
  • Integrate with SAP Integration Suite: Connect SAP S/4HANA with external systems seamlessly.

Choosing the Right Path

The optimal Clean Core implementation depends on your specific deployment model:

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud (Public Edition): Focuses on pre-built extensions and leveraging SAP Business Technology Platform.
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud (Private Edition): Offers more customization options, including SAP Integration Suite.
  • On-Premise SAP S/4HANA: Leverages similar principles to the private cloud edition.

Migration Considerations

Existing SAP ERP customers have various migration paths to SAP S/4HANA:

  • New Implementation: A fresh installation of either cloud or on-premise SAP S/4HANA.
  • System Conversion: Transformation of an existing SAP ERP system to the private cloud or on-premise deployment.
  • Landscape Transformation: A hybrid approach combining new implementation and system conversion.


Clean Core is a fundamental concept for extending SAP S/4HANA in the cloud era. By leveraging APIs and maintaining a clean core, businesses can achieve greater flexibility, stability, and agility in their SAP deployments.

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