Extend SAP S/4HANA functionalities
with ABAP development


ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) development is an essential skill for professionals working with SAP S/4HANA ERP. As SAP’s proprietary programming language, ABAP offers many powerful features for customizing, extending and enhancing SAP S/4HANA functionalities. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and opportunities offered by ABAP development for SAP S/4HANA .

What is ABAP ?

ABAP is a scalable, object-oriented programming language (derived from SQL) used to develop applications in the SAP environment. It can be used to create customized programs, reports and user interfaces, and to integrate additional modules into SAP S/4HANA. ABAP also offers interoperability with other programming languages, enabling seamless integration with external systems.



ABAP is integrated with the SAP development environment, called SAP NetWeaver, which provides tools and functionality to facilitate ABAP development. Developers can use SAP’s IDE (Integrated Development Environment) to write, test and debug their ABAP code. 

Characteristics of the ABAP language

Business process customization

The ABAP language enables developers to customize existing business processes in SAP S/4HANA to meet the specific needs of an organization. New functionalities can be added, workflows modified and user screens adapted for a more user-friendly experience. As a result, companies can optimize their business processes and improve operational efficiency.

Integrating and extending functionalities

ABAP offers the possibility of integrating and extending SAP S/4HANA functionalities by developing add-on modules. These modules can be used to integrate external systems, such as CRM solutions or supply chain management tools, to optimize end-to-end processes. Extended functionality can also be used to meet specific business needs not covered by SAP’s standard functionalities. 

Designed for distributed systems

SAP applications are distributed systems, connecting the different databases or applications of one or more companies. This is achieved through Remote Function Calls (RFCs) that link SAP and non-SAP systems. In this way, RFCs establish a bridge between systems that enables data transfer, giving the application flexibility.

Advantages of ABAP

Ease of database operation 

SAP data comes from a variety of sources or databases. SAP makes it easy to define and manage logical databases, using ABAP to create application-internal tables. These internal tables are mapped to more static SAP database tables. 


Reporting and analysis 

ABAP facilitates the creation of customized reports and analyses in SAP S/4HANA. Developers can extract data from a variety of sources, process it and present it in the form of detailed, interactive reports. This functionality is essential for making informed decisions and improving visibility of business performance. 


Ease of maintenance 

ABAP encourages a modular, structured approach to development, which facilitates long-term application maintenance. It offers features such as modularity, encapsulation and inheritance, enabling developers to create well-structured, easy-to-maintain applications. 

What are the responsibilities of an ABAP consultant specializing in SAP S/4HANA?

At AGENTIL, our SAP ABAP experts play an essential role in implementing, customizing and optimizing SAP solutions for our customers.  

Main tasks of an SAP ABAP expert : 


Requirements analysis and technical design 

The SAP expert works closely with customers to understand their specific needs and translate these requirements into technical solutions. He participates in functional and technical analysis, identifying opportunities for improvement and proposing solutions based on best practices. 


ABAP development  

SAP consultants use the ABAP programming language to develop programs, reports, user interfaces and specific extensions for SAP S/4HANA. They design and develop ABAP objects such as classes, methods, screens, forms and workflows, ensuring compliance with coding standards and best practices. 


Customization and extension 

The ABAP expert customizes standard SAP S/4HANA functionality using available extension tools, such as Business Add-Ins (BAdIs), User Exits and Customer Exits. He also develops add-on modules to extend SAP S/4HANA’s capabilities and meet specific customer requirements. 


Systems integration  

He then manages the integration of external systems, such as supply chain management systems or CRM solutions, with SAP S/4HANA, using standard interfaces or developing customized interfaces using the RFC/SOAP/REST protocol. 


Testing and debugging  

The SAP expert carries out unit tests, integration tests and performance tests to check the quality and robustness of ABAP developments.  


Documentation and technical support  

Finally, the SAP consultant’s mission is to document ABAP developments by providing detailed technical specifications, user guides and support documentation. They provide technical support to end-users, resolving problems linked to ABAP developments and providing advice and guidance. 


ABAP continues to be supported in S/4HANA ERP, meaning that developers can use ABAP to develop, customize and extend S/4HANA functionality.  

With S/4HANA, SAP is also encouraging the use of new development paradigms, such as business rule-based development (BOPF/RAP) and the use of Fiori applications based on SAPUI5. 

SAP also provides a range of tools and technologies associated with ABAP for tasks such as data modeling with Core Data Services (CDS), the creation of web services with OData, integration with other systems via SAP Gateway, and much more. Developers prefer to use the Eclipse editor, which is better suited to these new tools. 

The introduction of S/4HANA has also led to an evolution of ABAP itself. SAP has introduced ABAP on SAP HANA (ABAP for HANA), an optimized version of ABAP that takes full advantage of the functionality of the SAP HANA database. ABAP for HANA makes it possible to harness the processing power of In-Memory, perform massive data processing operations faster, and benefit from more efficient programming for S/4HANA applications.