Essential SAP Skills - SAP101

Essential SAP Skills - SAP101

SAP has the largest market share of all ERP systems & commands unparalleled premium in the ERP & IT market. These basic tutorials will introduce the SAP ERP, Business suite, SAP Modules, GUI and process to become a SAP consultant.

Introduction to SAP

What is SAP?

SAP stands for Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing.

SAP by definition is also named of the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software as well the name of the company.

SAP Software was Founded in 1972 by Wellenreuther, Hopp, Hector, Plattner and Tschira.

SAP system consists of a number of fully integrated modules, which covers virtually every aspect of the business management.

SAP is #1 in the ERP market. As of 2010, SAP has more than 140,000 installations worldwide, over 25 industry-specific business solutions and more than 75,000 customers in 120 countries

Other Competitive products of SAP Software in the market are Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics etc.

What is SAP ERP? Why it is Required?

Following Video will explain the need of an ERP software like SAP in an enterprise.

The very basic question to any beginners is why Enterprise Resource Planning also called ERP is required? To answer this, let’s examine this typical business scenario.

Suppose a client approaches sales team asking for a particular product. The sales team contacts to inventory department to check the availability of the product. To their surprise, sales team found out that the product is out of stock. So next time this don’t happen, they have to introduce a SAP ERP tool.

Before we actually see in detail, what ERP is and how ERP can help in your business process, we will understand how different departments are involved in the whole business process, right from the ordering of the raw material — to manufacturing goods — to delivering final goods to the customer.

Here is the whole process that is followed by any business unit.

Client contacts the sales team to check the availability of the product

Sales team approaches the Inventory department to check for the availability of the product

In case the product is out of stock, the sales team approaches the Production Planning Department to manufacture the product

The production planning team checks with inventory department for availability of raw material

If raw material is not available with inventory, the Production Planning team buys the raw material from the Vendors

Then Production Planning forwards the raw materials to the Shop Floor Execution for actual production

Once ready, the Shop Floor Team forwards the goods to the Sales Team

Sales Team who in turn deliver it to the client

The sales team updates the finance with revenue generated by the sale of the product. Production planning team update the finance with payments to be made to different vendors for raw materials.

All departments approach the HR for any Human Resource related issue.

That is a typical business process for any manufacturing company. Some key inferences one could derive from the scenario would be.

It has many departments or business units

These departments or business units continuously communicate and exchange data with each other

The success of any organization lies in effective communication, and data exchange, within these departments, as well as associated third party such as vendors, outsourcers, and customers.

Based on the manner in which communication and data exchanged is managed. Enterprise systems can be broadly classified as

1) Decentralized System

2) Centralized System which are also called as ERP.

Decentralized System

Let’s look at Decentralized system first, in a company with Decentralized System of Data Management, there are two major problems –

Data is maintained locally at the individual departments

Departments do not have access to information or data of other departments

To identify problems arising due to decentralized Enterprise management system lets look at the same business process again. The customer approaches the sales team for a product, but this time around he needs the product, on an urgent basis.

Since it is a decentralized process, the Sales Team do not have any real-time information access to the products availability. So they approach the Inventory department to check the availability of the product. This process takes time and customer chooses another vendor leading to loss of revenue and customer dissatisfaction.

Now, suppose the product is out of stock and the Sales Team approaches the Production Planning team to manufacture the product for future use. Production Planning Team checks the availability of the raw materials required.

In a decentralized system, raw material information is separately stored by Production Planning as well as Inventory Department. Thus, data maintenance cost (in this case Raw Material) goes up.

The raw material information is available in two different departments Inventory as well as Production Planning. When sales team check a particular raw material required to manufacture the product, it shows the raw material is available as per the inventory, but as per the database of the production planning team, the raw material is out of stock.

So, they go ahead and buy the raw material. Thus, material as well inventory cost goes up.

Once the raw material is available, the shop floor department suddenly realizes they are short of workers they approach the HR, who in turn hire temporary employees at higher than market rates. Thus LABOR Cost Increases.

The production planning department fails to update the finance department on the materials they have purchased. The finance department defaults the payment deadline set by the vendor causing the company loss of its reputation and even inviting a possible legal action.

These are just a few of many problems with decentralized systems.

Some Major problems with the decentralized system are –

Numerous disparate information system generates individually over time which are difficult to maintain

Integrating the data is time and money consuming

Inconsistencies and duplication of data

Lack of timely information leads to customer dissatisfaction , loss of revenue and reputation

High Inventory, material, and human resource cost.

These are some major drawbacks for which we need a solution. Well the Solution lies in Centralized Systems i.e. ERP.

Centralized System

In a company, with Centralized System of Information and Data Management.

1) Data is maintained at a central location and is shared with various Departments

2) Departments have access to information or data of other Departments

Let’s look at the same business process again to understand how a Centralized Enterprise System helps to overcome problems posed by a Decentralized Enterprise System.

In this Case, all departments update a Central Information System.

When Customer approaches the sales team to buy a product on an urgent basis. The Sales Team has real-time information access to the products in inventory which is updated by the Inventory Department in the Centralized System

Sales Team respond to customer request on time leading to Increased Revenue and Customer Delight.

In case, manufacturing is required the Sales Team update the Centralized Database, so that all the department remain informed about the product status.

Production Planning Department is auto updated by the Centralized Database for requirements. Production Planning Team checks the availability of the raw materials required via Central Database, which is updated by the Inventory Department.

Thus, Data Duplication is avoided, and accurate data is made available. The Shop Floor Team update their Man Power Status regularly in the Central Database, which can be accessed by the HR department.

In case of shortage of workforce, HR team starts recruitment process with considerable lead time to hire a suitable candidate at market price.Thus labor cost goes down.

While vendors can directly submit their invoices to the Central Enterprise System, which can be accessed by the finance department. Thus, payments are made on time, and possible legal actions are avoided

SAP software is a type of Centralized System. SAP System is most popularly used ERP software.

Key benefits of the centralized system are:

It Eliminates the duplication, discontinuity and redundancy in data

Provides information across departments in real time.

SAP System is Provides control over various business processes

Increases productivity, better inventory management , promotes quality , reduced material cost, effective human resources management, reduced overheads boosts profits

Better customer interaction and increased throughput. It also improves customer service

Hence, a centralized enterprise management system is required.

SAP Software is a centralized enterprise management system also known as Enterprise Resource Planning.

SAP Business Suite

What is SAP Business Suite?

SAP Business Suite is collection of fully integrated applications such as SAP customer relationship management (CRM), SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), SAP product lifecycle management (PLM), SAP supplier relationship management (SRM), and SAP supply chain management (SCM) modules.

Most people relate SAP with its ERP offering. But SAP now offers variety of products to address varied needs of an organization. Lets have a look at them -

SAP HANA:- High Performance Analytic Appliance uses in-memory computing, a breakthrough technology that enables analysis of very large, non-aggregated data at unprecedented speed in local memory (vs. disk-based database) enabling complex analyses, plans and simulations on real-time data.

SAP Convergent Charging :- SAP Convergent Charging provides a rating and charging solution for high-volume processing in service industries. It delivers pricing design capabilities, high performance rating and convergent balance management.

Customer Relationship Management:- Unlike other CRM software, the SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application, part of the SAP Business Suite, not only helps you address your short-term imperatives — to reduce cost and increase your decision-making ability — but can also help your company achieve differentiated capabilities in order to compete effectively over the long term.

Enterprise Resource Planning:- A sound foundation is necessary to compete and win in the global marketplace. The SAP ERP application supports the essential functions of your business processes and operations efficiently and are tailored to specific needs of your industry like SAP ERP Financials, SAP ERP Human capital management,SAP ERP Operations,SAP ERP corporate services.

SAP Environment, Health, and Safety Management :- It supports environmental, occupational and product safety processes, regulatory compliance, and corporate responsibility. This is accomplished by embedding corporate policies, compliance, and environmental, health and safety capabilities with global business processes for human resources, logistics, production and finance.

SAP Global Batch Traceability :- It allows you to completely trace tracked objects, for example, a batch, across both SAP systems and non-SAP systems. In the event of a recall or withdrawal, SAP GBT ensures the timely compliance with legal reporting timelines. Furthermore, it helps you to minimize cost and corporate risk exposure. You can also analyze multiple objects, for example, batches, in one run.

SAP Product Life Cycle Management:- To survive in an ever-changing global environment, creating and delivering innovative and market differentiating products and services is what distinguishes your company from the competition. The SAP Product Lifecycle Management (SAP PLM) application provides you with a 360-degree-support for all product-related processes — from the first product idea, through manufacturing to product service

SAP Supplier Life Cycle Management:- SAP Supplier Lifecycle Management is a holistic approach to managing supplier relationships. It deals with the supply base as a whole to constantly determine the right mix of suppliers. It covers the lifecycle of individual suppliers ? from onboarding to a continuous development.

Supply Chain Management :- You face enormous pressure to reduce costs while increasing innovation and improving customer service and responsiveness. SAP Supply Chain Management (SAP SCM) enables collaboration, planning, execution, and coordination of the entire supply network, empowering you to adapt your supply chain processes to an ever-changing competitive environment.

Supplier Relationship Management:- With SAP SRM you can examine and forecast purchasing behavior, shorten procurement cycles, and work with your partners in real time. This allows you to develop long-term relationships with all those suppliers that have proven themselves to be reliable partners.

Governance, Risk and Compliance:- Risk is unavoidable, but it can be managed. With governance, risk, and compliance (GRC), businesses can strategically balance risk and opportunity.

Sales and operations planning:- SAP Sales and Operations Planning enables you to optimally and profitably meet long-term future demand. Typically, this process repeats every month and involves many participants including Sales, Marketing, Finance, Demand Planning, and Supply Chain Planning.

SAP Transportation Management :- It supports you in all activities connected with the physical transportation of goods from one location to another.

Extended Warehouse Management:- SAP Extended Warehouse Management gives you the option of mapping your entire warehouse complex in detail in the system, down to the storage bin level. Not only does this give you an overview of the total quantity of a product in the warehouse, but you can also always see exactly where a specific product is, at any time, in your warehouse complex. With EWM, you can optimize the use of various storage bins and stock movements, and can combine the storage of stocks from several plants in randomly-managed warehouses.

Mobile Apps:- Mobile devices can also access SAP system.


SAP Modules can be categorized into

  • Functional Modules
  • Technical Modules

These functional and technical modules are tightly coupled. Below is a list of key SAP Modules

  1. SAP Essentials is a great course for beginners. Ready to take a spin?
  2. SAP FI Module — FI stands for Financial Accounting. SAP FI module is very robust and covers almost all financial business process encountered in various industries. It is one of the widely implemented modules in SAP.
  3. SAP CO Module — CO stands for Controlling. Cost Accounting (CO) module of SAP provides information to managers decision makers to understand where the company’s money is being spent. CO helps them to optimize business costs.
  4. SAP HCM Module — HR stands for Human Resources. SAP Human Capital Management (HCM) is also called SAP-HR. SAP HCM consists of sub-modules like Personnel Administration (PA), Organizational Management (OM), Time, Payroll that help in employee management.
  5. SAP MM Module — MM is Materials Management — Materials Management module in SAP consists of several components and sub-components including Master Data, Purchasing, and Inventory.
  6. SAP QM Module — QM stands for Quality Management. SAP QM (Quality Management) is an integral part of several key business processes of SAP like production, sales, procurement, material management, etc.
  7. SAP PP Module — PP is Production Planning — SAP PP ( Production Planning) is a SAP module, specially designed for integrating different department involved in production and manufacturing. It has various components like Data Center, BOM, Work Center, CRP etc.
  8. SAP SD Module — SD is Sales and Distribution — SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) is an important module of SAP ERP consisting of business processes required in selling, shipping, billing of a product. The module is tightly integrated with SAP MM & SAP PP. Key sub-modules of SAP SD are Customer and Vendor Master Data, Sales, Delivery, Billing, Pricing and Credit Management.
  9. SAP BW Module — where BW stands for Business (Data) Warehouse SAP BI (Business Intelligence) or SAP BW is a leading data warehousing and reporting tool. It helps convert raw data into information and insights that help improve business margins.
  10. SAP Basis — SAP Basis is a set of programs and tools that act as an interface with Database, Operating system, communication protocols and other SAP modules like FI,HCM, SD etc.
  11. SAP ABAP — ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) is the default programming language for SAP applications. You can also use Java to code in SAP.
  12. SAP CRM — where CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management SAP CRM is the Market Leader in Customer Relationship Management Software. SAP CRM plays a pivotal role in strengthening customer relationships.
  13. SAP HANA — SAP HANA is an in-memory computing platform that allows real-time data analysis. Its currently the market leader in BI.
  14. SAP EC Module — where EC stands for Enterprise Controlling
  15. SAP TR Module — where TR stands for Treasury
  16. SAP IM Module — where IM stands for Investment Management
  17. SAP IS -where IS stands for Industries Specific Solution
  18. SAP PS Module- and PS is Project Systems
  19. SAP CAC — Cross Application Components
  20. SAP SCM- where SCM stands for Supply Chain Management
  21. SAP PLM- where PLM stands for Product LifeCycle Management
  22. SAP SRM- where SRM stands for Supplier Relationship Management
  23. SAP CS- where CS stands for Customer Service
  25. SAP RE — where RE stands for Real Estate
  26. SAP PM Module- where Plant Maintenance is the PM
  27. SAP Security Learn more about SAP Security
  28. SAP FSCM — where FSCM stands for Financial Supply Chain Management
  29. SAP NetWeaver
  30. SAP IS — where IS stands for Industry Specific Solution
  31. SAP XI — where XI stands for Exchange Infrastructure
  32. SAP Solution Manager — Learn more about Solution Manager
  33. SAP LE — where LE stands for Logistics Execution
  34. SAP APO- where APO stands for Advanced Planning and Optimization
  35. SAP AFS — where AFS stands for Apparel and Footwear Solution
  36. SAP CC — where CC stands for Convergent Charging
  37. SAP ITS — where ITS stands for Internet Transaction Server
  38. SAP ICM — where ICM stands for Incentive and Commission Management
  39. SAP KW — where KW stands for Knowledge Warehouse
  40. SAP MDM — where MDM stands for Master Data Management

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