SAP is the world’s largest enterprise applications software company – as measured by software and service-related revenue – with 172,000 customers around the globe.
SAP was started by five former IBM employees in 1972. The company is headquartered out of Walldorf Germany with North America headquarters in Newton Square Pennsylvania.They have over 172,000 customers around the world and host one of the biggest user conferences in the industry – SAP SAPPHIRE – with more than 50,000 in attendance last year.
SAP system comprises of a number of fully integrated modules, which covers virtually every aspect of the business management. Many aspect including in SAP like customer, sales, inventory, production planning, finance, human resource too and other modules are integrated.
SAP advanteges and disadvantages
- Allows easier global integration (barriers of currency exchange rates, language, and culture can be bridged automatically)
- Updates only need to be done once to be implemented company-wide
- Provides real-time information, reducing the possibility of redundancy errors
- May create a more efficient work environment for employees
- Vendors have past knowledge and expertise on how to best build and implement a system
- User interface is completely customizable allowing end users to dictate the operational structure of the product
- For companies of less than 1000 employees, a fully functional SAP ERP system can easily cost much more and take much longer than hiring a consultancy firm to build a custom ERP system from scratch
- Locked into relationship by contract and manageability with vendor – a contract can hold a company to the vendor until it expires and it can be unprofitable to switch vendors if switching costs are too high
- Inflexibility – vendor packages may not fit a company’;s business model well and customization can be expensive
- Return on Investment may take too long to be profitable
- Implementations have a risk of project failure
ABAP is the proprietary programming language of SAP ERP. SAP has developed ABAP to meet the programming requirements of its business solutions. It can be used only on SAP platform. It’s not like C, C++, Java, etc. to develop stand-alone application and SAP installation, which provides the ABAP run-time environment, is required to run ABAP code. SAP has a tool – ABAP Workbench – for carrying out development activities in ABAP.