Sunday, March 29, 2009

ERP and SAP?? The myth and clarifications!!

It's time now for me to write something about SAP, because being a SAP HR professional and leading a group of SAP professionals from Asia Pacific region, it seems unavoidable on my part, not to write anything about it. Now, any SAP professionals from the region if interested can join the group at Linkedin and the link to the group "Asia Pacific SAP Professionals" is: http://www.linkedin.com/e/vgh/1773625/

Now, to begin with, let me start from ERP, that is, Enterprise Resource Planning. Well, it is a general software, that attempts to integrate all departments and functions across a company onto a single computer system that can serve all those different departments' particular needs. Literally speaking a Business Optimization software. Let's say, in an organization we have various departments starting with finance, human resources, production, marketing, etc. So, now each of them utilize their custom software to process their data and functions. Now, what ERP does is, it combines them all together into a single, integrated software program that runs off a single database so that the various departments can more easily share information and communicate with each other. That integrated approach can have a tremendous payback if companies install the software correctly. 

Well, to make it more lucid, we can go through this simple example: Take a customer order, typically, when a customer places an order, that order begins a mostly paper-based journey from in-basket to in-basket around the company, often being keyed and rekeyed into different departments' computer systems along the way. All that lounging around in in-baskets causes delays and lost orders, and all the keying into different computer system invites errors. Meanwhile, no one in the company truly knows what the status of the order is at any given point because there is no way for the finance department, for example, to get into the warehouse's computer system to see whether the item has been shipped. "You'll have to call the warehouse" is the familiar refrain heard by frustrated customers. With ERP in place, this situation won't happen normally, since all the departments are linked, once the order is placed in the Sales department, it will be noticed automatically to all other concerned departments. If at any point of time someone wants to make an enquiry, the status will be available at the finger tips.

So, that was mostly about the ERP part. Now, lets' come to SAP. Normally, SAP is treated as the largest ERP Software available in the market compared to others like JD Edwards, Oracle, BAAN, Peoplesoft (now Oracle), etc.

SAP was founded in 1972 as Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung by five former IBM engineers (Dietmar Hopp, Hans-Werner Hector, Hasso Plattner,  Klaus Tschira, and Claus Wellenreuther) in Mannheim, Germany. . The acronym was later changed to stand for Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung ("Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing"). 

SAP is the highly integrated software that perform common business functions based on multi-national leading practices. It takes care of any enterprises however diverse it may be in operations, spread over the world geographically. It started with the R/2 package initially, where "R" stands for Real-time and it has got two layers. Then came the R/3 package, an integrated software solution for client/server and distributed open systems. SAP's R/3 is the world's most-used standard business software for client/server computing.  R/3 meets the needs of a customer from the small grocer with 3 users to the multi-billion dollar companies The software is highly customizable using SAP's proprietary programming language, ABAP/4. R/3 is scalable and highly suited for many types and sizes of organizations. 

Now, being a SAP HR Functional Consultant and being not a techie, it is best that I don't go into much technical jargons and architecture. But, for all those people who want to know about SAP and how it transforms your business processes, I would advise to visit: http://www.sap.com/about/index.epx

So, more on this will be updated soon.....

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