Enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications have played a critical role in the digital transformation of businesses across industries. And it’s hard to miss SAP when you think of ERP applications.
SAP is an acronym for Systemanalyse Programmentwicklung, the company’s original German name. It translates to System Analysis Program Development. The company is officially listed as SAP SE, SE being Societas Europaea, an equivalent of the US version of Inc.
The German multinational is one of the leading business management solutions providers. As of October 2021, SAP is one of the top five ERP software providers, with a global market share of 3.57%.
Today, the tech giant provides more than 100 solutions covering almost all business functions. To be a successful SAP professional, you will need to know this massive software ecosystem like the back of your hand.
Let’s see what is it, how it works, what is SAP software used for, and the training you need, among other things.
What Is SAP Software?
As you know already, SAP is an ERP software ecosystem comprising different functional modules that integrate various processes and departments within an enterprise. Each module facilitates productivity and scalability through the effective use of resources.
SAP established a global standard for ERP applications with its original SAP R/2 and SAP R/3 software. Today, SAP S/4HANA, a successor of SAP R/2 and SAP R/3, is helping large enterprises worldwide to create an intelligent business management environment backed by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Since 2015, SAP S/4HANA has attracted 17,500 customers worldwide.
SAP offers a vast portfolio of service modules. You can choose any module that best suits your needs. One of the main benefits of SAP is its compatibility. Whether small or large, established brand or start-up, SAP can work wonders for your business. You can also get ERP solutions tailored to your specific needs.
How Does SAP Work?
SAP ERP software is one of the most complex ERP systems. So, the question is, how does SAP work? And can it offer flexibility and scalability despite its complexity? The short answer is yes.
It’s a three-tier system, compromising the presentation, the application, and the database tier. This design makes SAP ERP solutions user friendly, easy to scale, and highly customizable.
- The Presentation Tier: This tier is the SAP graphical user interface or SAP GUI. This is where users can send the input and see the output. You can install it on a Mac or Windows computer.
- The Application Tier: It’s the connecting link between the user interface and the database. This tier executes business logic, runs processes, and controls access to the database.
- The Database Tier: This is where business (user) and application data get stored. It’s essentially a memory bank of your entire SAP ERP system.
Although the system is complex and requires step-by-step implementation, it offers several advantages. One of the most lauded benefits of SAP includes its ability to integrate with other third-party systems. With effortless third-party integration, you can implement enterprise-wide solutions and improve overall productivity.
Each SAP module also comes with tones of analytical features, flexibility to create customised rules, and the ability to standardise your business processes.
What Is SAP Used for in the Workplace?
SAP facilitates information flow and data processing across all parts of your business. You can find SAP modules designed for different parts of an enterprise, ranging from finance to supply chain management. In other words, SAP clientele reaches far and wide, including local companies and global corporations.
For instance, the well-known German automobile manufacturer Porsche has been using the SAP S/4HANA ERP system to manage its day-to-day processes for a while now. It’s also been an SAP SCM user for decades. In 2019, Porsche partnered with SAP to digitally transform its production, logistics and ordering processes.
On the other hand, Bridgestone achieved a 25% reduction in errors with real-time visibility, thanks to SAP Extended Warehouse Management. Another real-life example of SAP S/4HANA is how Vodafone standardized 85% of its core business processes, including HR, procurement, finance, and more, in 24 different countries.
Yes, SAP S/4HANA is a vastly popular ERP solution. But there are many other equally popular process-specific SAP modules in the market.
Here are five of the most common uses of SAP in a workplace.
SAP in Accounting and Finance
SAP Financial Accounting (FI) module helps you manage financial transactions within your enterprise. Whether it is a small business or a large one, you can leverage this module as you need. It helps you define the real-time financial status of your organization. It also connects with other SAP modules such as sales and distribution, payroll, and human resources, empowering your overall financial management.
SAP in Supply Chain Management
SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM) module allows you to design, build, and manage a resilient and sustainable supply chain. It helps you seamlessly connect with your suppliers, customers, manufacturers, business partners, and retailers. Thanks to this cohesive business intelligent system, it becomes easier to plan your production, assess demand fluctuation, and create market forecasts.
SAP in HR Management
With the SAP Human Capital Management (HCM) module, your HR department will function like a breeze. This module consolidates and facilitates various HR-related processes such as payroll, managing promotions, tracking employee performance, and handling compensations, among others. As this module connects with other SAP modules, you can improve overall work efficiency in your workplace.
SAP in Materials Management
With SAP Materials Management (MM) module, you can control vital aspects of management and production of the material within your enterprise. You can manage different types of procurement processes using this module. Some of the common uses of this SAP module include consumption-based planning, purchasing, inventory management, and invoice verification, among others.
SAP in Sales and Distribution
As the name suggests, SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) module is designed to manage all transactions and processes related to sales and distribution. With this module, you can manage inquiries, proposals, quotations, transportation, billing, credit management, and pricing, and many more.
What SAP Software Training Is Required?
Given the long list of SAP software products, there is no shortage of SAP roles and training courses. However, it’s one of the most competitive industries in the world.
Without the right set of knowledge, tools, and experience, your SAP career may be dead in its tracks. That’s where SAP software training and certification comes in.
You can get module-specific training or certification. Currently, there are over 150 certifications available in nine different languages. All industry-specific training courses come down to the following three types of certifications.
- Associate Certification: It lays the foundation of your SAP software training, helping you hone your basics. It’s a stepping stone for higher-level training. It’s also considered the best place for graduates and inexperienced candidates to begin their SAP career path.
- Specialist Certification: This certification is role-specific. It is suitable for candidates looking for a specific role in the SAP environment.
- Professional Certification: This certification focuses on a more detailed understanding of SAP solutions. You also require practical experience in using various SAP solutions. In other words, only experienced professionals can go for this advanced certification.
The SAP training center regularly updates the list of available and valid certifications. You should check this list before signing up for a course. It’s also better to get insights from industry experts and experienced SAP professionals to help make an informed decision.
SAP is, without a doubt, one of the leading companies in the ERP industry. The ever-evolving SAP environment offers plenty of growth opportunities for graduates and experienced candidates alike. With the right set of skills, training, and recruitment, your SAP career can take off.