SAP is an acronym for Systems Applications and Products in Data Processing. Founded way back in 1972, this system consists of many fully integrated modules that virtually cover every aspect required for managing a business. The SAP service provider thus helps in integrating the processes across various functions in a large or a medium size enterprise.
Today SAP is at number one position in the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) market. Some of the important ERP SAP modules that an organisation uses are FICO (Financials and Controlling) Module, SD (Sales & Distribution), MM (Materials Management) module, HR (Human Resources), SAP security and PP (Production Planning) module.
The SAP Modules are basically classified into two categories: the functional module and the technical module. What is important to understand is how one differs from the other.
SAP functional modules are used to replicate and enable the business process. These modules offer certain predefined functionalities that help the departments where they are implemented in performing the business activities. The functional consultant here just needs to understand the requirement and then make use of the standard functionality that is provided in SAP modules.
The success of any big project depends on how efficiently it is broken down into smaller, but well-defined and manageable activities and then how closely these activities are monitored. This entire exercise of executing a project requires close coordination between the various departments like planning, HR, Quality etc., especially with the finance department. The various SAP functional modules help in achieving it seamlessly and efficiently.
Now, to support these functional modules, SAP technical modules come into play. Some of these are:
- SAP BASIS: This team is basically the system administrator. It is this team’s responsibility to install, update, configure, troubleshoot, and patch any technical problem, which arises in the SAP system, thus ensuring a smooth run.
- SAP ABAP: ABAP is an acronym for Advanced Business Application Programming. While the functional modules of SAP offer a predefined functionality for meeting various business requirements, at times, this predefined functionality does not suffice the business needs and hence customization is required. For this customization, either the existing codes are copied and edited or some new codes are developed. So, ABAP is the programming language that is used to write these codes.
- SAP BI & SAP BW: The top management makes the business decisions based on the data that is generated in an organisation. The problem that comes is this data can be generated across various locations, sources, or it may not be uniform etc. To collect all data at one place, SAP BW (business warehouse) comes to rescue. Here it is collected and then cleaned so that it can be used for generating reports providing full information. This is what BI (Business Intelligence) stands for.
Thus, when we talk of SAP technical modules, there is no direct replication of the actual business activity, but it assists by providing the essential support to the functional modules.