Driven by computer hardware, microelectronics, and software systems, growth of ICT (information and communication technologies) has a significant impact on all computing apps across companies. Business environment becomes very complex and some of its units require more interfunctional data flow to make effective decisions and provide decent accounting, manage inventory and human resources, procure product parts and distribution of services and goods. Here company management is in need of information systems to upgrade their competitiveness. You have definitely heard of hiring a SAP® consultant for organizations, as well as about SAP® and ERP. “What is SAP®”?, – you would ask after reading all these terms. Guru99 defines it as Systems Applications and Products (SAP®), first developed by a German company SAP® Software in 1972. SAP® system consists of integrated modules, covering almost every aspect of the business management. At the same time, ERP refers to enterprise resource planning systems that are implemented in business aiming to improve it. According to the article, as of 2017, SAP software has 251 thousand customers in 188 countries, making SAP® careers of high demand worldwide.
The Evolution of ERP Systems: A Historical Perspective
ERP systems are also defined as a method to gain effective planning in business processes, control of the required resources, production, HR, shipment and accounting of orders from customers in the company that deals with services, manufacturing, or distribution. According to the study, ERP (enterprise resource planning) have evolved in the period between the late 80s and early 90s. They were new software systems implemented among big and sophisticated business organizations to improve market targeting. Erpandmore provides a different view, claiming that MRP (Material requirements planning) appeared before ERP, but it was very simple and clumsy. It first served to plan and schedule materials for manufactured products. It had a few versions, and eventually, ERP was developed from MRPII. In general, ERP History is believed, to begin with, early attempts in the 40s where people tried to calculate using machines. Later in the 60s, J.I. Case who was a manufacturer of construction machines and IBM, developed ERP.
ERP offers expensive, but powerful and complex solutions for businesses requiring consultants to fit them and use them depending on the company’s needs. Mostly, ERP consultant would force the executives to remake their processes in the company to get accommodated to the logic of technology that streamlines data flow in the company. Unlike old-school systems, these new solutions are usually multi-module packages that are integrated into the company’s existing system and can have additional modules if required. Due to rapid continuous changes in the IT industry, ERP products are changing as well: redesigned, improved customized and updated, and spreading to various business spheres, and this process in a never-ending one. Corporations use ERPs to introduce a single integrated system.
History and Overview of SAP® ERP
In the past, organizations used various ERP for its departments. Such ERPs required communication between each other, but the interface between them was not easy, according to the LinkedIn article. So, it resulted in an extra activity performed manually and in general was a waste of time. In other words, ERP couldn’t fit to all the company’s departments at once. The appearance of SAP® solved this problem by providing integration between different modules of ERP. SAP® became a number one in the ERP market.
This article provides a short overview of the history:
SAP® R/1 System appeared in 1973 from RF accounting systems and ran on IBM Servers and the DOS. SAP® R/2 appeared in 1979 was a Mainframe System that was based on real-time data processing in a supply chain, accounting, supply chain, HR and manufacturing. SAP® R/3 was an Enterprise Edition 1.0 (1992), it was designed for enterprises. It was later upgraded to versions 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and ended with version 4.7 in 2003. SAP® ERP Central Component (ECC) in 2004 was the foundation of SAP®’s industry solutions and a springboard to enterprise SOA. It included SAP® ECC and EhP. It was followed by later versions 6.0 in 2006. The same year’s Business All-in-One or SAP® Business One was designed to focus on mid-size enterprises. Business Suite 7 of 2009 was made to help companies reduce IT expenditures and optimize performance. It united ERP, CRM, SRM, SCM, and PLM in one.
Finally, in 2015, SAP® HANA appeared It is an imagined platform combining database, data and in-memory processing, planning libraries text processing, predictive, business, and spatial analytics.
History and Overview of SAP® CRM
CRM is defined by Guru99 as a Customer Relationship Management and is a set of tools and methodologies to manage customer relationship. SAP® CRM is a part of SAP® Business Suite. Customers are the most precious assets of any company, so handling relationships with them are one of the priorities of any organization. SAP® CRM is a suitable software solution to deal with the customers. This software is easy to customize, integrated, flexible and user-friendly. It also makes ‘Single face customer’ scheme possible letting customers receive actual and regular information independent of their chosen communication channel. It is used for various customer interaction channels and has a function of CRM Analytics.
How SAP® Outstands and Compares to Others
SAP® is one of the best performing vendors in ERP software because its suites are already considered to be the Sphere standards. Of course, it is not for every firm, so its competitors offer alternatives for business, as SoftwareAdvise states.
Oracle is the main competitor, it also offers a diversity of ERP platforms. SAP® and Oracle are different in business strategies in product development. Oracle tries to get as many products and vendors as possible, while SAP® can be described as built from the ground up. In general, a debate SAP® vs. Oracle is often compared to the Apple vs. PC debate. SAP® is considered to have a more consistent and cohesive ecosystem at a good price. Logically, Oracle lacks such cohesiveness, so its costs are lower.
Microsoft Dynamics has a platform Dynamics AX that is aimed at large enterprises and growing midsize. Its Dynamics NAV and Dynamics GP are suitable for midsize and small businesses. It has a great approach in catering of segments of different industries by means of partnership with independent software vendors. However, these vendors aren’t able to cover every niche.The Dynamics line is at lower cost and can be implemented faster. But established large businesses in specific industries are better served by SAP® certification products.
According to SAP®overview, there are such SAP® modules:
Logistics: Sales & distribution, Material Management, Quality Management, Service management, Planning & Control, Production, Product Data Management, Plant maintenance, Project systems.
Financial: Treasury, Financial Accounting, Investment Management, Controlling, Enterprise Control.
HR: SAP® training & Event Management, Payroll Accounting, Organizational Management, Time Management, Personnel Management, Personnel Development.
Cross app: SAP Office, Workflow.
SAP® support and community
According to SAP® website, users’ reports are reviewed by the Key User who decides if a problem can be solved locally or needs the support of the SAP® Support Teams. Support Engineers deal with the incidents in terms of priority, support contract and service level agreement with the client. Then the reported incidents are submitted to support teams based on the time zone of the customer and specialization. During an investigation, support agents might require additional info or permissions from the customer. As soon as the solution is found, it is communicated to the client and reflected back in the special incidents view.
How SAP® Helps to Improve the Business
SAP News provides 10 reasons why SAP® is the most effective solution for your business.
- Experience of work with midsize and large firms
- Significant portfolio of solutions for various industries
- Multi-language solutions that support various currencies
- Due to SAP® solutions midsize and small companies meet regulatory demands
- Flexibility in implementation and customization
- Employee efficiency providing access to required data anywhere and anytime
- Credible technologies enabling businesses to operate in a professional manner
- Deep-insight into industry
- 0% financing offer for smaller firms
- Huge worldwide network of partners (over 13,000).
Ways to Hire a SAP® Consultant
When hiring a SAP® consultant, you have a choice, since the SAP® jobs market is huge. You can find a suitable expert on freelance platforms at the lowest cost. But if you are short of time, this idea is not an option, because you will need weeks to find the best candidates and test them, moreover, the chosen one can be busy on another project. You can also hire SAP® experts from the company where you purchase the software. It is effective and 100% credible, but extremely expensive.
If you pay attention to credibility and reliability of your future employee who will be working on the implementation of SAP® systems in your business, and if you are not able to spend large sums of money, look up outstaffing firms. Hiring a SAP® consultant by outstaffing, you will get the best-experienced employee from a credible company and save up your recruiting costs. The expert will be chosen depending on your industry niche and detailed requirements.
Disclaimer: SAP® is the registered trademark of SAP SE in Germany and in several other countries.