Every organization has several business processes and systems that function individually and cohesively to achieve the set targets. With inputs in hand and objectives to be achieved, every system follows a certain defined process to solve a problem and reach its goals. Every department represents a different function and each of them needs to be run efficiently for the overall organizational success. With the advent of technology and rapid globalization, enterprises across the world realized the importance of efficient software to help their businesses run smoothly. From Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and accounting software to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, businesses integrated their existing systems with software applications to run the processes faster and more efficiently. You can get an introduction into how ERP works with insightful course.
SAP (System Analysis and Program Development) is a business application created by the German multi-national software company, SAP AG and is popularly used by enterprises across the globe for end-to-end business solutions. From production planning, materials management, human resources and payroll to corporate finance, accounting, sales and distribution; SAP applications run all the business processes in-line with the functional strategy of the organization. Initially founded with the objective to provide a common database platform to all functions, SAP has evolved over the years to give a whole new meaning to enterprise software. You take a quick intro to ERP
What is SAP?
Simply defined, SAP is a collection of integrated business application modules that have been designed for the client-server environment. These modules have several powerful features that address the needs of the most complex business processes in an organization – be it a small or medium enterprise, large corporations or start-ups. This SAP guide for beginners and end users will give you more insight into this subject.
The SAP business application was released initially in the R/1 version, which over the years, was upgraded to the R/2 and R/3 versions. The R/3 system is based on the client-server architecture rather than the earlier mainframe computing systems and can run on a number of platforms including Windows. It also has a comprehensive internet enabled package and web interface called the mySAP.com. Whether you are a professional, business executive, SAP programmer/ technical consultant or a SAP functional consultant/ user, it would be useful to learn more about the features and benefits of System Analysis and Program Development, discussed in the upcoming sections.
The latest version of SAP software is based on the R/3 client-server model with a three-tier architecture consisting of the Database, Application and Presentation Layers. The ‘R’ stands for real-time and 3 stands for the three layers. All the data is stored in the database layer and it’s processed in the application layer; the presentation layer consists of the GUI interface between the user and the system that is basically an application for displaying the R/3 data graphically. All three layers are interconnected through communication networks and work together as a unit to run the business application program. You can have the desired number of application servers and hosts depending on the volume of your database and other system requirements such as speed, security and performance.
The R/3 model has the ability to store, retrieve, analyse and process data effectively for all your business processes such as production planning, materials management, human resources and payroll to corporate finance, accounting, sales and distribution.
The latest R/3 version with integrated web interfaces and internet enabled options makes it possible to access the R/3 database and applications through web browsers and the internet. Whether you are in marketing or sales, customer service or supply chain management, you can generate work orders, release invoices, follow-up on leads etc. from anywhere in the world. With SAPs innovative features and the latest technological advancements, conducting day-to-day business has never been so easy.
Benefits of R/3 Architecture
The earlier R/1 and R/2 versions ran on mainframe computing systems, which were not suitable for higher demand or speedier processing. The transition to R/3 architecture brought in the 3rd layer – the application server, between the client and server, which helped in streamlining the queries from user to database and the output thereafter. The application server, consisting of several executable applications (programmed in ABAP) helps in distributing the workload across a number of servers thereby increasing the speed and performance compared to the R/2 architecture. There are several benefits of the R/3 client-server model such as:
- The 3-tier architecture makes it possible for any number of users to work on the application without slowing down the system.
- It integrates important modules with other modules thereby leading to faster real-time processing. For example, integration of the finance module with materials management helps faster decision on inventories or material planning etc.
- Enhances cross-application functionality thereby increasing the transparency of the various processes across the enterprise.
- It makes SAP compatible with non-SAP applications and different IT systems
- Far more user-friendly and lower response times leading to greater efficiencies
While SAP implementation requires tremendous efforts and dedicated time from the employees and management, it surely provides a lot of benefits to keep your organization ahead of the competition. It improves productivity, brings in efficient management of global operations, improves processes and integrates resources in a single platform. To learn more about SAP you can this course which takes you through right from beginners to the advanced level.
The success of SAP implementation lies in the fact that the requirements must be clearly defined, the implementation process should be planned and executed properly and employees must be motivated to join hands in the overall process. There are many SAP implementation methods being used by companies across industry verticals. However, the key factor is to communicate with your employees effectively and give them clearly defined goals on the implementation process. So, whether you are a part of the SAP technical team, a process consultant or an end-user, equip yourself with the basics of the application, understand its powerful features and deliver the benefits of SAP to your organization today.