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The original SAP idea was to provide customers with the ability to interact with a common corporate database for a comprehensive range of applications. Gradually, the applications have been assembled and today many corporations, including IBM and Microsoft, are using SAP products to run their own businesses.
SAP applications, built around their latest R/3 system, provide the capability to manage financial, asset, and cost accounting, production operations and materials, personnel, plants, and archived documents. The latest version of R/3 includes a comprehensive Internet-enabled package.
What is an SAP- ERP ?
The key benefits of the centralized system are
It Eliminates the duplication, discontinuity and redundancy in data
Provides information across departments in real time.
Provides control over various business processes
Increases productivity, better inventory management , promotes quality ,reduced material cost , effective human resources management, reduced overheads boots profits
Better Customer Interaction, increased throughput. Improves Customer Service
Hence , a Centralized Enterprise Management System is required.
SAP is a Centralized Enterprise Management System also known as Enterprise Resource Planning.
A Short History of SAP BusinessObjects Explorer
SAP BusinessObjects Explorer provides users with a unique but simple and easy to-learn user experience. This tremendous ease of use - for example, any function can be used with a left mouse click (no right mouse click) - resulted in a successful product launch and has positioned it for adoption in a large user base. With SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, users have a solution that delivers the speed and ease of use that both companies - SAP and BusinessObjects - were trying to deliver for a long time
The overall simplicity of SAP Business Objects Explorer is in giving the user the functionality to see the actual data along with the ability to use data visualization technology to identify much faster trends, outliers, or contributions so that they can analyse the data better and faster than ever before
SAP Business Objects Explorer is leveraged by a large portion of the typical information consumer audience. This is one of the main goals of SAP Business Objects Explorer: to provide every person with the needed information to perform his everyday tasks and make required decisions, which was another shortfall of classic business intelligence tools. In the past, only 20%-25% of the users in a company were able to use business intelligence and receive the necessary information.
SAP Business Objects Explorer - One Piece of Your Business Intelligence Puzzle
SAP Business Objects Explorer is created for the casual user who requires the information to reach decisions, especially decisions that cannot wait until the IT department has reviewed the report specifi cations and created the actual report and analysis. In those situations SAP Business Objects Explorer provides a viable alternative to fill the gap of self-service reporting and analysis driven by a typical information consumer (see Figure 1.9).
SAP Business Objects Explorer is a tool designed for the Information Consumer and for the management and leadership team; it is not a tool for the typical power user and Business Analyst. The tool does not offer features that a Business Analyst would look for, such as a typical slice and dice navigation and the capability to navigate between different hierarchies; instead, the tool is designed as the most simple tool to use. For example, the user can perform any function in SAP
Business Objects Explorer with a simple click; the tool does not have any context menus or right mouse click navigation.
With the combination of SAP Business Objects Explorer and SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator and the new option to also accelerate non-SAP data sources by using SAP Business Objects Data Services, the number of opportunities where SAP Business Objects Explorer can help you provide your users with the right information at the right time are now even larger than before.
Overall, the added values of SAP Business Objects Explorer combined with SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator are:
Easy access to the required information that users need to make decisions
Access to a large amount of data and not just a small snapshot
Reduced need for IT involvement for creating reports and analytics
Faster turnaround on critical information
Empowers users by providing access to information on the fl y and allowing them to analyse data and find root causes
In this section, you learned about the value that SAP BusinessObjects Explorer and SAP NetWeaver BW Accelerator can deliver as part of your overall business intelligence strategy.
Business information warehouse (BW) has features like and unlike typical data warehouses. Like most data warehouses, BW is a combination of databases and database management tools that are used to support management decision making. SAP BW is a comprehensive business intelligence product centered around a data warehouse and optimized for SAP's R/3 environment. SAP BW also includes preconfigured data extractors, analysis and report tools and business process models. It is an integral component of the company's mySAP Business Intelligence group of products.
What is SAP?
The SAP software has evolved over the years adding more and more functionality based upon best business practices for each business process. These business processes are offered as 'modules' so for instance the SD module which stands for Sales and Distribution deals with a company's sales cycle from customer order capture to delivery to invoicing. MM or Material Management deals with the movement of stock through a company's supply chain from procuring products from the vendor to stocking and dispatching to its customers and everything in between. The most important thing about these modules is that they are seamlessly integrated with one another to build up a complete and integrated solution. There are many modules (also known as core modules or R/3 modules) in the SAP suite including
SD Sales and Distribution
MM Material Management
PM Plant Maintenance
HR Human Resources
In addition to these R/3 core modules there are 'new dimensional products' which are have been developed to integrate with SAP and non SAP solutions. These include:
BI Business Intelligence
APO Advance Planner and Optimizer
CRM Customer Relationship Management
In addition to modules and new dimensional products, SAP have created 21 industry specific solutions (known as IS solutions) which are designed around the needs of a particular industry e.g.
These industry solution specific offerings can be very different to the standard modules so if a company wants to implement an industry specific solution then they need to employee consultants who know the specific SAP industry solution.
How is SAP implemented?
A company purchases the SAP software and licenses having decided which of the modules/industry/new dimensional products they wish to use.
The software is installed by a system administrator who is trained to install and maintain the SAP software and its communication with the database which holds the underlying data (ie Oracle database)
The SAP solution comes pre-configured meaning that in theory a company needs to merely set up master data (e.g. material, customer, vendor, pricing records etc) in the SAP system and start transacting on the new system. This however rarely happens as all companies are different in some way so normally the standard settings are copied and modified as per need.
The modules are implemented by functional consultants who analyses the requirements of the business and configures the SAP system accordingly. If a requirement cannot be met by the changing the settings of the module such as the need for a new report, new screen layout or interfaces between SAP and existing systems then new code will need to be created.
The SAP code is known as ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) and requires a programmer (commonly referred to as an ABAPer) to make the changes requested. These changes are normally outlined on what's called a functional spec which is usually written by the responsible functional consultant.
If a company is implementing SAP for the first time it normally hires the services of a consultancy firm. The firm then implements the SAP system to meet its customer's requirements in a series of steps.
These steps are normally part of what's call a methodology.
A typical methodology would be:
1) Project preparation
Determine the project team both from the business and from the consultancy firm, its location etc.
2) Business blueprint
Conducting workshops to gather requirements from the business and come up with business blueprint document which outlines what the system will perform once configured. This document should be signed by the relevant parties to ensure that all everyone concerned understands what is to be achieved by the implementation.
Configuring the SAP system as per blueprint including ABAP developments so that there is a working solution.
4) Go-live prep
Loading master data into the system, end user training and final preparations for go-live.
The day the system is switched on.
6) Go-live support
Supporting the system once it's gone live to ensure that any issues which my come up are resolved speedily. These are the general steps of a SAP implementation which would be the case for any major IT implementation project. As you can imagine with the breadth of SAP's offerings and the number of companies which use SAP there is a great deal of demand for those who have knowledge in SAP all across the world.
There are four types of SAP roles:
End user As SAP is business software then there needs to be end users who have been trained In using the software for their day to day business. So for instance a sales clerk would be trained to enter orders into a SAP system, a warehouse person to goods receipt stock sent by a vendor into the SAP system, an accounts person checking that payments made to vendors or to be received by customers are being done in a timely manner.
Consultant A consultant trained in a particular area of SAP may be employed by a consultancy firm or the business itself to implement a SAP solution
Support Support roles are those normally where the SAP solution is has been implemented and there is a need to deal with end user queries about further enhancements, resolving issues preventing an end user from performing their task etc.
Contractor These are individuals who offer their services to end user companies or consultancies that do not have the relevant SAP resource in-house so need to look to the open market for those specific skills.
SAP roles will take place in two types of business environment:
End User These are basically companies which are not consultancy firms whose business model is to go and implement IT solutions. These are companies which has SAP in order to support their business be it manufacturing, retail, services etc.
Consultancy These are companies whose business model is to implement and support SAP implementations