SAP’s suite of business software is utilised by a significant number of industries globally and it is difficult to come across many employees who have not heard of the word before. However, if asked “What is SAP?”- the plethora of individuals with knowledge of the term drops to mostly those using the software.

By writing this blog, I aim to improve general understanding so you do not have to conduct your own research nor remain in silence over any confusion. From a personal development perspective, having knowledge of other business units and technologies offered will certainly leave good impressions with clients.

I personally came across SAP on my first project where SAP printing was to be integrated as part of the Migration phase. To put simply, SAP is the name of a company that provides enterprise software and other software related services. Offerings include SAP ActiveEmbedded, Ariba, SuccessFactors and SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) – which is the product most people are familiar with. SAP ERP is a system with the ultimate goal of helping organisations manage and control their numerous departments. Whether it is Finance, Procurement, HR or Sales (to name a few) – various iterations of SAP ERP can be used to make managing the department more efficient. Ultimately SAP ERP helps departments integrate more tightly with one another. An example is the purchasing department having a view of forecasted sales so they can plan for the future. Going one step further, tailored solutions are also available for specific industries [1]. An Automotive industry leader manufacturing vehicles will use a specific module of SAP ERP compared to someone managing a Security Firm. SAP’s IS (Industry Solutions) offering supports specialised business processes for particular industries if tailored solutions are needed.

The varied SAP ERP offerings are normally referred to as “modules”. There are many ERP modules – with the most common being SAP Finance (FI), SAP Controlling (CO), SAP Sales & Distribution (SD), Human Resources (HR) and Materials Management (MM).
Capgemini is proud to have a large number of major SAP clients including a luxury British fashion retailer, a multinational DIY and home improvement company, one of the world’s largest brewers, a global consumer goods company, and a pioneering steel company.

Moving away from ERP systems – Capgemini is leading the way in the SAP technology industry as an expert implementation partner of offerings such as SAP HANA. This system allows clients to operate in real time through in-memory computing. The new major release of SAP called SAP S/4HANA is deployable on the cloud or on-premise and will allow any business to access Big Data and the IoT (Internet of Things) [2]. This is possible because SAP S/4HANA is a complete rewrite of the SAP platform including a new user interface, faster analytics and reporting – meaning a smaller data footprint/less data to process. In return businesses will be able to gain insight into any of their data and plan strategies accordingly.

Other savvy SAP platforms include; CAR (Customer Activity Repository) which is SAP’s new platform for retailers and Hybris – SAP’s new front-end web store solution. These integrate and mesh with SAP ERP, but are the primary focus for Capgemini and SAP going forward.

You must now be thinking “What other ERP systems can I use?” Correct, SAP is not the only provider (The market is a very convoluted place). Oracle and Sage are only a few of the many providers/systems that can be used. There is no one system that should be considered far superior over another, nor can it be stated that a certain ERP system is greatly favoured by clients. All have their benefits and drawbacks and it is ultimately the decision of every individual organisation to decide which system will best suit their business goals.

Baber Alam

Baber joined Capgemini in September 2014 as part of the Infrastructure Transformation Services Business Unit. Having studied Mechanical Engineering from King’s College London, Baber is now working on a high profile Migration and Transformation project.

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