SAP is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software product capable of integrating multiple business applications, with each application representing a specific business area. These applications update and process transactions in real time mode. It has the ability to be configured to meets the needs of the business.
In a standard SAP project system, it is divided into three environments, Development, Quality Assurance and Production.
The development system is where most of the implementation work takes place. The quality assurance system is where all the final testing is conducted before moving the transports to the production environment. The production system is where all the daily business activities occur. It is also the client that all the end users use to perform their daily job functions.
The main advantage of using SAP as your company ERP system is that SAP have a very high level of integration among its individual applications which guarantee consistency of data throughout the system and the company itself.
The SAP R/3 enterprise application suite for open client/server systems has established a new standards for providing business information management solutions.
SAP/R3 is categorized into 3 core functional areas:
- Sales and Distribution (SD)
- Material Management (MM)
- Warehouse Management (WM)
- Production Planning (PP)
- General Logistics (LO)
- Quality Management (QM)
- Financial Accounting (FI)
- Controlling (CO)
- Enterprise Controlling (EC)
- Investment Management (IM)
- Treasury (TR)
- Human Resources
- Personnel Administration (PA)
- Personnel Development (PD)
SAP is a table drive customization software. It allows businesses to make rapid changes in their business requirements with a common set of programs. User-exits are provided for business to add in additional source code. Tools such as screen variants are provided to let you set fields attributes whether to hide, display and make them mandatory fields.
For complex reports specifications, SAP allows you to write customize ABAP/4 programs.
ABAP/4 (Advanced Business Application Programming 4GL) language is an "event-driven", "top-down", well-structured and powerful programming language. The ABAP/4 processor controls the execution of an event. Because the ABAP/4 language incorporates many "event" keywords and these keywords need not be in any specific order in the code, and companies tend to implement in-house ABAP/4 coding standards.There is no one size fixed all software, with this in mind, SAP allows its users to create their own dialog or reports programs using the language ABAP/4.
The main purpose of using a standard business application software like SAP is to reduce the amount of time and money spend on developing and testing all the programs. Therefore, most companies will try to utilized the available tools provided by SAP.
SAP NetWeaver, the next evolution of mySAP Technology integrates information and business processes across technologies and organisations.It provides comprehensive collaboration tools and services that foster teamwork in a wide range of business processes.
Net Weaver in simple words is an application and Integration platform in which Web Services play a major role and which is open for Non-SAP applications and platform. It is used by organizations to improve productivity and enhance efficiency by making all the resources that are available in an enterprise to work collectively. The SAP customers to bring heterogeneous environments at one platform use SAP NetWeaver. In addition, it enables customers to use the already existing systems without putting in much investment.
Further in the near future, the various corporate sectors and Organizations have to take a decision for some common platform; could be Microsoft .NET, IBM Websphere , J2EE (support for this was announced later at JavaOne,2003) or SAP NetWeaver. Irrespective of the choice that they make, SAP NetWeaver is the one that integrates with all the four technologies.