SAP synopsis - products and solutions

SAP S/4HANA or SAP Fiori, SAP S/4HANA Cloud or RISE with SAP - we explain the most important current terms of the SAP world in simple terms.

SAP

SAP SE is a listed company from Germany.

SAP was founded in 1972 (initially: systems analysis and programme development) and is now the world's largest provider of business applications and the largest software group in Europe.

Today, SAP's customers generate about 87 percent of the world's trading volume. In addition, around 94 percent of the world's 500 largest companies are SAP customers.

The group itself employs over 100,000 people and currently generates sales of around 27 billion euros per year.

SAP's headquarters are in Walldorf, Baden-Württemberg. Since October 2019, SAP has been led by CEO Christian Klein.

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SAP ERP

The term ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning.

An ERP system is a complex, integrated software solution. Companies use these solutions to plan, control and manage all their resources. Resources here means, for example, capital, operating resources and material.

In recent years, companies have increasingly moved all or part of their ERP systems to the cloud and operate them web-based.

SAP's first software was called SAP R/1, which was not yet an ERP software, but a standard software for financial accounting.

Gradually, however, other business areas such as purchasing, inventory management and asset accounting were added. In 1979, the SAP R/2 system followed.

SAP's current ERP system is called SAP S/4HANA. This solution came onto the market in 2015 and followed SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC or SAP ERP 6.0).

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SAP HANA

SAP HANA is a database and an application server (a platform for developing new solutions). SAP HANA was launched in 2010 and is the basis of the current ERP suite SAP S/4HANA.

The basis of SAP HANA is in-memory technology (IMDB). This uses the main memory of a computer as data storage - and not just the hard disk, as is traditionally the case.

The in-memory technology is significantly faster than previous databases. All analyses and transactions can be processed in parallel in just one system. SAP HANA thus enables processes and analyses in real time.

The solution is available on-premise (locally on a company's own server), as a multicloud (for example at a hyperscaler such as Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure) or in SAP's cloud.

There are different versions of SAP HANA to choose from: for example, the platform edition, the express edition or the enterprise edition.

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SAP S/4HANA

SAP S/4HANA is SAP's current ERP software.

The company introduced the solution in 2015. SAP S/4HANA is the successor to SAP ECC and is based on the in-memory platform SAP HANA.

SAP S/4HANA is the basis for the "intelligent" enterprise. The ERP suite also provides a new user experience with the visually modern SAP Fiori user interface, which has also been developed for mobile devices.

SAP S/4HANA is available on-premise, in the cloud (since 2017) or as a hybrid operating model. Companies can either buy the software suite or subscribe to it as "Software as a Service" including service and maintenance.

At the beginning of 2020, SAP promised to maintain the product until the end of 2040.

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SAP S/4HANA Cloud

Several cloud solutions from SAP are grouped under the term SAP S/4HANA Cloud - including a solution that bears exactly this name (the public cloud solution: SAP S/4HANA Cloud).

SAP offers cloud solutions for purchase and for rent. The latter include the

  • (RISE with) SAP S/4HANA Cloud (Public Cloud, formerly MTE or SAP S/4HANA Cloud, essential edition),
  • the RISE with SAP S/4HANA, private edition (private cloud and new since 2021) and the
  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud, extended edition (Private Cloud, formerly STE).

Basically, the models (whether on-premise or cloud) do not differ in terms of the data model and the user interface on the software side ("one code line"). What is different, however, is the degree of standardisation and flexibility.

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SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC)

The SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (SAP S/4HANA On-Premise managed by SAP) was launched in 2013. The HEC is a private cloud solution.

In this case, SAP takes care of the infrastructure (Infrastructure as a Service) and the managed services such as maintenance, application services and security.

The HEC is licensed via a service level agreement or via the BYOL (Bring Your Own License) model.

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Industry Cloud

The Industry Cloud is an open technology and business process platform (Platform as a Service) based on a framework of API interfaces (Application Programming Interface Framework).

The offering is designed to connect vertical and industry cloud solutions developed by SAP and its partners to SAP solutions such as SAP S/4HANA. The Industry Cloud was introduced in 2020.

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SAP Commerce Cloud

SAP Commerce Cloud is an e-commerce platform.

It is used to simplify and accelerate sales and purchasing processes in companies and to increase customer loyalty.

The solution includes functions for

  • Interaction with customers,
  • possibilities of customised personalisation,
  • to manage product information,
  • enhancing the customer experience and...
  • for order processing.

SAP Commerce Cloud is part of the SAP C/4HANA portfolio.

This portfolio includes several cloud offerings from the areas of e-commerce, customer experience and customer relationship management.

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SAP Central Finance

SAP Central Finance is an operational finance, reporting, controlling and consolidation platform from SAP.

With this solution, companies can centralise their heterogeneous and distributed SAP and non-SAP system landscape and connect it to SAP S/4HANA.

All data from the finance landscape converge in one place in real time with SAP Central Finance. This enables companies to perform better analyses and forecasts and real-time reporting at group level.

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SAP Fiori

SAP Fiori is a user interface for SAP applications - a web-based and user-friendly user experience for different devices and users.

The term user experience (UX) stands for user experience or user experience.

As a framework, SAP Fiori also includes tools and guidelines to enable developers and designers to create their own applications (SAP Fiori Apps) with a consistent, modern design.

SAP launched SAP Fiori in 2013. SAP Fiori is part of SAP S/4HANA and is gradually being rolled out to all SAP products.

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SAP Activate

SAP Activate is a standardised toolkit of methods and tools to help you implement SAP S/4HANA and other SAP solutions more easily and quickly.

SAP Activate is based on the

  • SAP Best Practices (Content),
  • a Guided Configuration, and
  • an agile methodology for implementation (Methodology).

The use of SAP Activate is independent of the operating model (e.g. on-premise or cloud) and the implementation approach (e.g. new implementation or system conversion).

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RISE with SAP

RISE with SAP is a packaged offering from SAP designed to help businesses transform and adopt the cloud - regardless of where they start.

RISE with SAP was launched at the beginning of 2021.

The offering comprises five core elements:

  • SAP S/4HANA Cloud,
  • Business Process Intelligence,
  • a credit for the SAP Business Technology Platform,
  • access to the SAP Business Network and
  • various tools and services (e.g. SAP Readiness Check, SAP Cloud ALM).

To use RISE with SAP, companies sign a contract with SAP - a service level agreement.

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SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP)

The SAP Business Technology Platform is a platform for cloud and hybrid environments with which SAP combines various technology portfolios.

The offering is used to create, integrate and manage applications. In addition, companies can use the SAP Business Technology Platform to analyze data and link processes.

SAP BTP consists of four core elements, each of which in turn comprises a variety of products and technologies:

  • Database and data management solutions,
  • Analytics solutions,
  • Application development and integration solutions, and
  • Solutions for intelligent technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence).

SAP has introduced the SAP Business Technology Platform 2019. Brand names or products such as "Cloud Platform" and "SAP Cloud Platform" no longer exist.

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SAP Best Practices

SAP Best Practices are preconfigured, integrated and immediately available standards. They are the best and easiest way to map a process in SAP.

There are Best Practices for almost all processes in the company - for business processes, analyses, the migration, integration or even configuration of SAP S/4HANA. SAP Best Practices are part of SAP Activate and the basis of SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

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SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC)

SAP Analytics Cloud is a SaaS (Software as a Service) product from SAP. With this product, companies can analyze their data and processes and plan them better.

To this end, the solution includes business intelligence functions, offers comprehensive analysis options (including predictive analytics and AI) and planning tools.

SAC is the analytics layer of the SAP Business Technology Platform.

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SAP Data Warehouse Cloud

SAP Data Warehouse Cloud is a multi-cloud solution. SAP offers the product as a software-as-a-service.

Companies can extend their existing on-premises implementations of SAP Data Warehouse and SAP BW/4HANA with the help of SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

The solution offers comprehensive options for linking, managing, visualizing and analyzing data in the company in real time.

SAP Analytics Cloud is already integrated with SAP Data Warehouse Cloud.

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SAP BW/4HANA

SAP BW/4HANA is a business warehouse solution based on SAP HANA.

This on-premises solution helps companies consolidate data across the enterprise, gain new insights, and improve processes.

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SAP Customer Experience

SAP Customer Experience (CX) is a generic term for SAP's customer relationship management portfolio. Another name for the offering is SAP C/4HANA.

The portfolio in the area of customer experience and customer relationship management includes solutions for e-commerce, customer data solutions, sales, service and marketing solutions.

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SAP NetWeaver

SAP NetWeaver is the technical basis for many SAP applications.

It is an on-premises solution for integrating applications or data from heterogeneous IT landscapes and for developing SAP applications using the SAP programming language ABAP.

SAP NetWeaver includes various components and application servers that are important for enterprise applications, for example:

  • SAP Business Suite applications,
  • SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse,
  • SAP NetWeaver Portal,
  • SAP NetWeaver Gateway and
  • Process Integration (PI).

SAP NetWeaver was introduced in 2004.

Since 2015, SAP NetWeaver is no longer a platform brand. This is to avoid confusion with the SAP HANA platform. The ABAP stack of the NetWeaver platform is now called ABAP Platform.

The latest version - SAP NetWeaver 7.5 - supports technology trends such as Internet of Things, mobile, cloud, big data and analytics.

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SAP Trust Center

The SAP Trust Center is a website where SAP brings together all information on security, availability, data protection and compliance in the cloud - including all cloud solutions, cloud operations and SAP data centers.

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SAP Business Network

The SAP Business Network is a network that facilitates collaboration and communication among trading partners throughout the supply chain.

This SAP network includes, for example, manufacturers and suppliers, freight forwarders and service providers - around five million companies worldwide.

Companies can exchange data and optimize processes in real time, get an overview of trading partners' inventories, or compare their own performance with the industry's top results.

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SAP Business One

SAP Business One is a comprehensive ERP software for small and medium-sized enterprises. The solution enables the control of all relevant areas - from finance to purchasing and sales to human resources.

With SAP Business One, processes in the company can be improved. In addition, the solution provides more transparency and delivers information in real time.

The offering includes integrated business intelligence, is available for on-premise and cloud, and integrates with the SAP HANA database.

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SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC)

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation is a business planning and consolidation application.

Specifically, the solution includes functions for planning, budgeting, forecasting, and financial consolidation and is available for on-premises operation and in the cloud.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation allows the integration of data from SAP and non-SAP systems and provides real-time access to data in SAP S/4HANA.

The solution can be extended with additional functions via SAP Analytics Cloud (hybrid deployment).

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SAP Master Data Governance (SAP MDG)

SAP Master Data Governance is a solution for validating, consolidating, and centrally merging master data across the enterprise.

The application provides ready-made data models, business rules, workflows and user interfaces.

SAP MDG can be used on-premise or in the cloud, as a separate hub system or in conjunction with an ERP system such as SAP S/4HANA.

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ABAP

ABAP is the SAP programming language.

ABAP was developed as early as 1982 and is abbreviated as Advanced Business Application Programming.

Most SAP applications are programmed in ABAP. In addition, ABAP can be used to individually extend the SAP standard in companies and to write your own applications.

There are now three programming models: classic ABAP, the ABAP programming model for SAP Fiori, and the RESTful ABAP programming model (for SAP S/4HANA and the cloud).

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SAP GUI

SAP GUI is a program and graphical user interface to work with SAP. SAP GUI stands for SAP Graphical User Interface.

With the introduction of SAP S/4HANA, SAP has changed the tradional representation of user interfaces under SAP GUI.

SAP's new design concept is called SAP Fiori. This web-based user experience has a much more user-friendly and modern design than the SAP GUI.

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Hyperscalers

Hyperscalers are large providers of IT resources and services when it comes to public cloud solutions.

Depending on the cloud variant, SAP customers can use the services of hyperscalers and host and operate their SAP system there.

SAP cooperates with the hyperscalers Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, Micrsosoft Azure and Alibaba Cloud.

In addition, SAP naturally also provides customers with its own capacities in SAP data centers (4+1 approach).

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SAP Ariba

With SAP Ariba, SAP offers a range of cloud solutions for spend management and supply chain collaboration.

The portfolio includes solutions for purchasing, procurement and payment. SAP bought the provider Ariba in 2012.

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SAP Fieldglass

SAP Fieldglass is a cloud-based system that enables companies to control the recruiting and HR management of external employees.

The SAP Fieldglass offering includes diverse solutions - from workforce planning to procurement of services to expense management. SAP acquired Fieldglass in 2016.

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SAP Concur

SAP Concur offers cloud-based solutions for booking and billing business travel. SAP bought the American company in 2014.

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SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors is a cloud-based human resources management system.

SAP acquired the American company SuccessFactors in 2012 and has since expanded its offering as a complete HCM solution.

The new generation of SAP HCM is called Human Experience Management (HXM) or SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite.

The SAP SuccessFactors HXM Suite includes solutions for employee experience management (e.g., employee surveys), core HR functions and payroll, talent management, and workforce planning and analytics.

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Thomas Pasquale, Managing Partner

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