Revolutionary!Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) uses a common platform for maintaining all types of data under the same umbrella, which is accessible by all the employees of the organization. SAP makes this process easier, faster, and better.
SAP is the brainchild of a German-based software company that has been the ruling giant in the business since the launch of its first product in 1973. It was developed with combined effort of five former IBM engineers way back in 1972, who worked on this project and eventually segregated from IBM, to establish what we now call SAP.
SAP: definition and meaning
► SAP is the acronym for Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing. Interestingly, it is also the name of the company that has been a monopoly per se, in the world of ERP.
► SAP is a tool that is a part of the concept Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
► ERP is a software that came handy for the ease of integrating multiple process, like to collect, store, manage, and interpret data. This concept is incorporated in all types of business activities, for the smooth running of the business.
What is SAP?: an understanding
► The ERP system is used in various types of businesses, like sales and marketing, accounts, inventory, HR activities such as payroll, manufacture, supply chain management, and the like.
► There are specific functions which are performed by this software tool called SAP. These are usually those list of work activities which need to be performed everyday, like daily reporting of the activities of logistics, finances, HR, etc.
► SAP is one of the many tools of the ERP system.
► A noteworthy point about SAP is that, there are several other tools which run in the market. To name a few: ORACLE ERP, MFG PRO, BAAN, JD EDWARDS, etc. But the distinguishing aspect of SAP from the rest is its inbuilt ability to perform complex activities with accuracy in a limited time span.
► The different versions of SAP include: SAP R/1, SAP R/2, SAP R/3, and SAP ERP
► In the mid nineties, in response to criticism that SAP was expensive and complicated, it came up with the all new ASAP.
►SAP has got several modules which are incorporated in various products. These are functional modules, technical modules, and industry-specific modules.
Products and Modules
CRMCustomer Relationship Management, means a software of SAP which was designed intending to provide business solutions to mid-level and large enterprises. It has got niche modules on which it operates in sales, marketing, analytics, etc. E-commerce is one of the many features it supports.
SCMSupply Chain Management, as is evident from the name, is a feature that powers the large network of communication and coordination, execution, and of course customer service, in the vast network and system of supply services.
SRMSupplier Relationship Management aids the vital process of collaboration with the vast array of suppliers of a business. For flawless supply of the right products from the suppliers' end, it is pivotal to have an effective communication with them. In order to procure and deliver real-time products and services, this software is a must-have.
PLMThis unique product of SAP tracks the entire life-process of products. More specifically, it supervises the tedious and elaborate process of engineering the product and delivery to the target customers. Quite correctly, the name reads Product Lifecycle Management.
ERPEnterprise Resource Planning is a comprehensive software used to ease the cumbersome process of collection of data of all types, store them, manage them, and finally interpret them. It facilitates the entire technology to run a business of any size, smoothly.
This list is not limited to only the above mentioned products. There are many on the list, and they are yet in the pipeline, to set the users in awe!
The process of incorporating the software into the business system of an organization is governed by important methodologies. These guidelines can be very broad, and at times very specific. Also, it is important to know that, introduction of these new technology-based software in the existing system demands sea-change in the process, and also takes quite some time. Not only the technical team of the organization is involved in the whole procedure, but also all the employees from all the departments of the organization are a part of it. This is because, the resultant effects would affect everybody in the same manner. Information will be accessible to all, and communication will be more effective.
ASAPAccelerated SAP is a culmination of many components that are used simultaneously, or even partially, to achieve an implementation that is most accurate in its own right. These components are also referred to as accelerators. This methodology is implemented in a five-step format.
► Project Preparation: This process overlooks the various requirements that are essential to kick-start the operation. It involves identifying the resources, training the employees, planning of the process, and finally the commencement.
► Business Blueprint : This is primarily the process of noting and keeping a record of the various steps and procedures that are a part of the implementation altogether. The steps are recorded in the same order as they are practiced. In a nutshell, it is the list of procedures that are to be adhered to.
► Realization: It wouldn't be wrong to say that this process is the most vital amongst all the processes. It is time to put into practice the list of steps and procedures that were determined and designed in the first stage. The viability of the entire project is understood, and if required, alterations are also done here.
► Final Preparation Here, the final tests and checks are carried out to correct the faults and make the final changes, before the final step. It is here that the important procedure of transmitting the data from the old system to SAP takes place.
►Go-Live! This is the final step, the result of carrying out all the previous ones. From hereon, the functions that were done manually earlier will now be done on SAP. Another significant part of this step is to continuously update the process. Therefore, improvisation and upgradation are part and parcel of this step.
SAP has gained so much of popularity that it is almost indispensable to carry on a business in its absence. There are many institutions that offer courses on it. In fact, there are employers who make it an eligibility criterion to hire new employees, so that they know how to use the SAP software.