What is SAP®?

SAP stands for System Analysis Program Development (Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung). As a company, SAP has been a part of the ERP-evolution (which started in the 1960s) since very early on. In 1972, the SAP founders set out to “create software that integrates all business processes and makes data available in real-time” (SAP History).

SAP is the world leader in enterprise applications in terms of software and software related service revenue. SAP is supporting all kinds of industries and various sizes of organizations. SAP helps them to improve profitability, grow sustainably and stay ahead of the competition in the market. SAP relies on their implementation partners as a system integrator to serve their customers. SAP supports their partners during and after the implementation.

SAP systems have been created in multiple generations. At the moment of creation of this syllabus (Q2 2023), the latest (fourth) generation is SAP S/4HANA® which means “Business Suite 4 – High performance, Analytical Appliance”.

An SAP implementation consists of modules (Line of Business (LoB) and Business Areas), which support transactions to execute key business processes, such as:

  • Financial Accounting (FI)
  • Financial Supply Chain Management (FSCM)
  • Controlling (CO)
  • Materials Management (MM)
  • Sales and Distribution (SD)
  • Logistics Execution (LE)
  • Production Planning (PP)
  • Quality Management (QM)
  • Plant Maintenance (PM)
  • Project System (PS)
  • Human Resources (HR)

And many more.

Apart from ERP software the SAP company supports:

  • Database software and technology (particularly its own brands)
  • Cloud engineered systems, and other ERP software products, such as human capital management (HCM) software
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software (also known as customer experience)
  • Enterprise performance management (EPM) software
  • Product lifecycle management (PLM) software
  • Supplier relationship management (SRM) software
  • Supply chain management (SCM) software
  • Business technology platform (BTP) software
  • Programming environment SAP AppGyver for business

And many more.

SAP supports different types of deployments:

  • On-premises: SAP is deployed internally by the organization. Located on their own servers and managed by the organization.
  • Cloud: where the organizations that use SAP do not manage their own data centers but deploy their solution in the cloud, likeSAP Private Cloud or a Public Cloud (AWS, Azure, Google).
  • Hybrid: combination of On-premises and Cloud to provide flexible options to organizations.

We have covered only the high-level basics about SAP in this chapter, there is a lot more to know about SAP but that is beyond the scope of this training. For more info about SAP, please refer to the following sources: