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What is SAP"?

SAP history? SAP is an ERP software package (Enterprise Resource Planning) developed in Germany. SAP is short for: Software, Application, and Data Processing. SAP provides a range of solutions to empower every aspect of the business operations. Companies or Organizations using SAP gain the visibility to pinpoint inefficiencies, and the capabilities to transform them into competitive advantage. They gain the foresight to identify new opportunities, and the agility to respond to changing business realities. And they gain the functionality in the SAP software to optimize operations, and resources to extend best practices to the entire value chain. In short: SAP runs (almost) all aspect in the management and control of modern companies. SAPs perhaps most important benefit, seen from the customer side, is the INTEGRATION. Components or solutions in SAP are real-time integrated. This increases users efficiency significantly, because data only needs to be entered one time, you can re-use data, you have high data validity and so on. SAP was introduced in 1973, and is today the worlds leading ERP software. SAP is actually the worlds third largest IT supplier, next only to Microsoft and Oracle. Today, SAP has about 90,000 installations and 12 million SAP users world wide.

SAP products? SAP is not just SAP. The are a large number of SAP products (solutions), and it is rather confusing and difficult to see the big SAP picture. But here are the main SAP products:

1. SAP R/3: this is the SAP cornerstone, the real SAP if you like. R/3 has many different names, for example: mySAP ERP, mySAP Business Suite, SAP all-in-one, SAP Enterprise. But it is all SAP R/3 . To make it further complicated, these are also the so-called Industry Solutions (IS). This is also SAP R/3, but slightly modified for a particular Industry, for example: Retail, Public Sector. Finally, there is SAP-all-in one. This is also SAP R/3 but in a pre-customized light version targeting smal/medium sized companies.

2. SAP CRM: This is SAPs customer relationsship management solution. CRM is an add-on product to SAP R/3, and it has its own user interface. CRM has some extra features which you don't find in SAPs SD module (sales and distribution).

3. SAP SRM: This is SAPs supplier releationsship management solution. SRM is an add-on product to SAP R/3, and it is browser based. SRM has some extra features which you don't find in SAPs MM module (purchasing).

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4. SAP BW: This is SAPs Business Warehouse, or information warehouse solution. BW is an addon product to SAP R/3, and it is basically a relationship database. BW has its own browser based user interface and it has some extra features which you don't find in the standard SAP R/3 information systems.

5. SAP APO: This is SAPs Advanced Planner and Optimizer solution. APO is an add-on product to SAP R/3, and it is an advanced sales, transport, production and purchasing planner. APO has some extra features which you don't find in SAPs SD, MM and PP modules (sales, distribution, purchasing, inventory, production). APO has its own user interface.

CRM, SRM, BW and APO are all fully integrated with SAP R/3, but they have their own special user interface and technical platform.

6. SAP NetWeaver: This is the technical platform that allows all the separate SAP products to be integrated. NetWeaver also integrates non-SAP products, for example if you have a separate Warehouse or Production Planning system, and wants to have it integrated with SAP.

7. SAP Business One: This is SAPs solution for small companies. It is not SAP R/3, in fact SAP Business One (SBO) is a completely different software, originally not developed by SAP itself.

This figure displays SAPs solutions & applications:

mySAP Business Suite o mySAP Customer Relationship Management o mySAP ERP o mySAP Product Lifecycle Management o mySAP Supply Chain Management o mySAP Supplier Relationship Management

SAP Analytics SAP Manufacturing SAP Service and Asset Management SAP solutions for mobile business

SAP xApps

SAP R/3 modules? SAP R/3 includes a large number of modules, or sub-areas or solutions. Below you will find a short description of the main R/3 modules. Notice, that when you buy SAP, you get all modules. For example, if you don't intend to use SAPs PP production planning module, you get it anyway. But you then simply decide not to use (implement) that part of SAP. 1. SAP FI: financial accounting.

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2. SAP CO: controlling. 3. SAP MM: materials management. 4. SAP SD: sales and distribution. 5. SAP PP: production. 6. SAP HR: human resources.

SAP FI: here SAP handles accounting and finance postings. The main activity is Accounts Receivable (customers) and Accounts Payable (suppliers), and normal General Ledger accounting, for example bank accounts. But also cash management, assets and investments are handled in this SAP module.

SAP CO: here SAP handles the company internal accounting, also called controlling. The main activity is postings to Cost Centers (departments), Internal Order (small projects), and Profit Centers. SAP CO is primarily used for reporting, in order to monitor the financial development of the company. SAP CO and FI are fully integrated.

SAP MM: here SAP handles Purchasing and Inventory. The main activity is purchase orders, and various inventory postings: Goods receipts (in to stock), Goods issue (out of stock), and Stock Transfer (moving stocks). Also vendor invoice receipts can be handled from the MM module.

SAP SD: here SAP handles sales activities and distribution, also called shipping. The main activities are the sales order handling, and the distribution of shipments to customers. Also the billing process, customer invoice, is handled from the SD module.

SAP PP: here SAP handles all aspects of production planning and execution. Main activities are the production order processing, the production MRP planning, Capacity planning and the production information system.

SAP HR: here SAP handles all aspects of human resources. The main activities are personnel administration and development, training, and organization plans. Also payroll (wages) are handled in SAP HR, and this is fully integrated to SAP finance. SAP roles & authorizations SAP End-user roles and authorizations. Different user types in SAP, for example a finance clerk and a production planner, will have different roles in SAP. Each user role has its own user menu, and from this menu, users only have access to exactly the functionality in SAP they need. SAP has a comprehensive authorizations system, that prevents users from accessing subjects they are not supposed to, and which helps users to a better overview of their part of the huge SAP system.

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