An Introduction to SAP

SAP was founded in 1972 in Walldorf, Germany. It stands for Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing. Over the years, it has grown and evolved to become the world premier provider of client/server business solutions for which it is so well known today. The SAP R/3 enterprise application suite for open client/server systems has established a new standards for providing business information management solutions.SAP product are consider excellent but not perfect.  The main problems with software product is that it can never be perfect.

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.

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.

To all company, the production system should only contains transport that have passed all the tests.

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.

This is what makes ERP system and SAP in particular so flexible.  The table driven customization are driving the program functionality instead of those old fashioned hard-coded programs.  Therefore, new and changed business requirements can be quickly implemented and tested in the system.

Many other business application software have seen this table driven customization advantage and are now changing their application software based on this table customizing concept.

In order to minimized your upgrading costs, the standard programs and tables should not be changed as far as possible.  The main purpose of using a standard business application software like SAP is to reduced 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.

What is Client? What is the difference between Customization and Configuration?

The difference between cutomizing and configuration is:
– CONFIGURATION: we will configure the system to meet the needs of your business by using the existing data.
– CUSTOMIZING: we will customise or adapt the system to your business requirements, which is the process of mapping SAP to your business process.
– CLIENT: A client is a unique one in organizational structure, can have one or more company codes. Each company code is its own legal entity in finance.

Configuration  vs. Customization
When considering enterprise software of any type, it is important to understand the difference between configuration and customization.The crux of the difference is complexity. Configuration uses the inherent flexibility of the enterprise software to add fields, change field names,modify drop-down lists, or add buttons. Configurations are made using powerful built-in tool sets. Customization involves code changes to create functionality that is not available through configuration. Customization can be costly and can complicate future upgrades to the software because the code changes may not easily migrate to the new version.Wherever possible, governments should avoid customization by using configuration to meet their goals.Governments also should understand their vendor’s particular terminology with regard to this issue since words like “modifications” or “extensions” often mean different things to different vendors.        *– Sivaprasad, Sonali Sardesai

What is SAP R3?
We know that SAP R/3 is software, it particular it is client-server software. This means that the groups/layers
that make up a R/3 System are designed to run simultaneously across several separate computer systems.

When you install Microsoft Excel on your PC, each component of Excel (printing components, graphing components, word processing components, and etc.) is stored, managed, and processed via the hardware of your PC.   When a company installs SAP’s software each component (or “layer” in R/3’s case) is stored, managed, and processed via the hardware of separate and specialized computer systems. Each of the various layers is capable of calling upon the specialty of any of the other installed layers in order to complete a given task.

Those components/layers that are requesting services are called “clients”, those components/layers that are providing services are called “servers”.  Thus the term – “client/server”.


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