What is SAP ERP Software? An Essential Guide

Last Updated: October 20th, 2023
Researched and Written by: Lexi Wood

SAP ERP refers to any enterprise resource planning software developed by the SAP company. Responsible for dozens of the most popular ERP products on the market, learn more about SAP ERP software.

What is SAP ERP?

SAP ERP is any ERP product offered by the software developer SAP. Most solutions are scalable, allowing buyers to adjust the package towards their unique needs. The company has been a leader in business applications since the launch of its first ERP system in 1972. Since then, they have developed dozens of ERP solutions for seemingly every size of business and every type of industry.

Today, the company has over 425,000 customers in over 190 countries and employs over 105,000 people worldwide. In addition to ERP, they offer packaged solutions for 26 industries along 12 lines of business. SAP has a worldwide network of over 21,000 partners to build, implement, and support the SAP ERP solution that best fits each business. There are even local partners to help small and midsize (SME) businesses handle local regulations.

How to Use SAP ERP Software

Operating SAP ERP software is fairly straightforward. Navigate the system using menus, tabs, and icons, starting from a customizable dashboard. This home screen can display key performance indicators (KPIs), notifications, and quick links to frequently used functions.

Every user needs valid credentials and access permissions. Users can be assigned specific roles within the system based on their job responsibilities. Although the navigation and tools are intuitive, training is recommended to ensure employees can maximize the system’s benefits.

Examples of SAP ERP Products

The dozens of ERP solutions from SAP give businesses access to tools designed to simplify workflow processes. Top features include integrated financial management, supply chain management, and CRM tools.

A few of SAP’s top ERP products include:

SAP S/4HANA is a modern and versatile ERP software offering a wide range of functionalities that cater to various industries, including logistics, manufacturing, finance, human resources, supply chain, services, and procurement. Its standout feature is the HANA in-memory database, enabling real-time processing and analysis, providing organizations with a comprehensive and up-to-date view of their operations. It is suitable for medium to enterprise-level businesses with complex needs, especially those expanding globally.

SAP S/4HANA: Procurement Overview
SAP S/4HANA: Supplier Evaluation
What We Like
HANA database
Large network of resellers
Strong BI tools
What We Don’t Like
Difficult setup
Lack of pricing transparency
Relatively new and unproven
Price Range: $$$$$
Client OS: Windows, Web
Deployment: Cloud or On-Premises

SAP Business One offers integrated support for various departments, including finance, sales, supply chain management, production, project management, and more. This solution is suitable for a wide range of industries and is specifically designed for SMEs, with a focus on ease of customization and extensibility through third-party add-ons.

SAP Business One: Sales Analysis
SAP Business One: Enterprise Search
SAP Business One: Cash Flow
What We Like
Highly customizable
Improved decision-making capabilities via extensive BI
Multi-currency/multi-language support
What We Don’t Like
Requires phone consult for pricing
Setup usually requires help from a Value Added Reseller (VAR)
No payroll module
Price Range: $$$$
Starting Price: $410/user/year
Client OS: Windows
Deployment: Cloud or On-Premises

SAP Business ByDesign is a cloud-based business solution designed to meet the needs of small and midsize enterprises (SMEs). It provides a comprehensive set of features for various business operations, including finance, customer relationship management (CRM), marketing, sales, service, human resources, project management, supplier relationship management, supply chain management, and more. The solution offers several advantages, including completeness, adaptability, an excellent customer experience, and affordability with predictable ownership costs.

SAP Business ByDesign: Corporate Performance
SAP Business ByDesign: Home Screen
SAP Business ByDesign: Launchpad
What We Like
Advanced reporting capabilities
Extensive user manuals, videos, and articles
Easy integration with other SAP products
What We Don’t Like
May be cost-prohibitive for smaller businesses
Initial learning curve
Price Range: $$$
Starting Price: $22/user/month
Client OS: Web
Deployment: Cloud Hosted

SAP Business All-in-One is an ERP solution tailored for midsize companies, offering a comprehensive and adaptable approach to enterprise resource planning (ERP). This solution caters to the core business software needs of midsize companies, from customer acquisition and product innovation to talent management and financial reconciliation. It streamlines business processes, supports fast deployment with industry-specific solutions, and encourages quick user adoption.

SAP Business All-in-One: Homepage
SAP Business All-in-One: Performance Dashboard
SAP Business All-in-One: Rush Order
SAP Business All-in-One: Document Flow
What We Like
Supported multiple real-time ledgers for local GAAP, IFRS, tax, and US-GAAP processes
Managed multiple processes and reports required for foreign trade
Integrated with CAD systems, geographic information systems (GIS)
What We Don’t Like
Tedious setup
Price Range: $$$$$
Client OS: Windows
Deployment: Cloud or On-Premises

SAP ERP, also known as SAP ECC, also known as SAP ECC, is an on-premise Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system designed for large enterprises. It offers comprehensive solutions across various operational areas, including manufacturing, procurement, sales, finance, and human resources. This versatile ERP system has been adopted by more than 25 different industries and is available in 37 languages.

SAP ERP 6.0: Leave Request
SAP ERP 6.0: Paystubs
SAP ERP 6.0: Timesheet
SAP ERP 6.0: Change Request Details
SAP ERP 6.0: Purchase Order
SAP ERP 6.0: Sales Order
SAP ERP 6.0: Production Order
What We Like
Hybrid deployments
Large network of resellers
Extensive customer and partner community
What We Don’t Like
Complex learning curve
High upfront costs
No longer supported in 2027
Price Range: $$$
Client OS: Windows
Deployment: On-Premises

Key Features of SAP ERP

Most SAP ERP products include:

  • Financial tools: This includes features like a general ledger and accounts payable/receivable.
  • Sales forecasting: Gain insight into potential sales based on historical records.
  • Manufacturing: This can include scheduling, Bill of Materials (BOM), and inventory control.
  • Supply chain management: Track product movement along the supply chain and manage stock in warehouses.

Alternatives to SAP ERP

As popular as SAP is, it’s not always a right fit for businesses seeking ERP software. Some top alternatives include:

  • JD Edwards: JD Edwards ERP solutions, distributed by Oracle, offer an integrated suite of user-friendly business applications to streamline work. Two solutions, EnterpriseOne and World, focus on different industries.
  • NetSuite: NetSuite ERP integrates business accounting, CRM and eCommerce capabilities. Hundreds of third-party add-ons make it highly customizable and suitable for multiple industries.

What is the difference between SAP and ERP?

The difference between SAP and ERP is that SAP is a software development company and ERP is a type of business software.

What does “SAP” mean?

The name “SAP” comes from “Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing”.

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