SAP® ERP, previously known as SAP R/3®, is a leading enterprise resource planning software developed by SAP AG in Germany. As of early 2013, it is used by about corporate 50,000 customers across 25 industries, 37 languages, and 45 localizations.[1]

The strength of SAP is its online integration across key business functions, such as procurement, sales, banking and accounting. As soon as a warehouse clerk confirms a goods receipt from a vendor, it is immediately shown on a general ledger account. And when the vendor's invoice is entered, SAP automatically compares its price and quantity against the ordered and received ones and based on the result, it either releases it or blocks it against payment. One set of master data (e.g., vendor and customer list, catalogue of materials etc.) is used throughout the system, reducing the need for duplicate maintenance. If you are authorized, it is easy for you to "click through" from one object (e.g., accounting document) to all related information (e.g., original vendor invoice, purchase order, goods receipt, vendor and article master, payment document). This in turn implies, that:

  • An error made in one area can easily spread and cause troubles in other areas
  • Due to the size and complexity of the whole SAP ERP "package", it is usual that IT professionals specialize on certain parts of it (called "modules"). For example, an expert on Financial Accounting (FI) may not be able to set up Material Management (MM) and vice versa; however, both should be familiar with the integration points of their modules with others.
  • A successful implementation and operation requires a close cooperation across business departments and among IT professionals. Each should be aware of the whole process flow and understand how their work impacts on others.

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I want to learn more about SAP ERP. Where to start?

  • What type of user are you?
    • Business user - creates master data and enters business transactions as a part of daily operations, but does not change configuration or programs. Reports errors and requests for enhancements to IT specialists.
    • IT specialist - configures the system, designs and develops enhancements as a part of an implementation or production support, based on requirements from business users.

This publication contains references to the products of SAP AG. SAP, R/3, SAP NetWeaver, Duet, PartnerEdge, ByDesign, SAP BusinessObjects Explorer, StreamWork, and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and other countries.
Business Objects and the Business Objects logo, BusinessObjects, Crystal Reports, Crystal Decisions, Web Intelligence, Xcelsius, and other Business Objects products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Business Objects Software Ltd. Business Objects is an SAP company.
Sybase and Adaptive Server, iAnywhere, Sybase 365, SQL Anywhere, and other Sybase products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sybase, Inc. Sybase is an SAP company.
SAP AG is neither the author nor the publisher of this publication and is not responsible for its content. SAP Group shall not be liable for errors or omissions with respect to the materials. The only warranties for SAP Group products and services are those that are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services, if any. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty.

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  1. Enterprise Resource Planning on