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What is SAP ?
SAP is an ERP system. ERP stands for Enterprise Resources Planning. ERP term used for software that controls whole organizations different departments. For example, SAP, Oracle, People soft, JD Edwards are some of the top ERP software systems.
SAP is beautifully and neatly integrated ERP software. SAP is a leader when it comes to easy integration among all the departments. It provides industry specific solutions for different industries other then its basic SAP modules. SAP suit contains SAP FI, CO, SD, MM, PP, HR, PA and other modules. It also comes with SAP PS,FSCM, CRM and BO/BI modules. Although it will be client’s decision whether they want to buy all modules or some specific modules. SAP comes with some industry specific solutions as well such as Insurance, Security, Apparel and Footwear (AFS) etc
What is SAP History ?
Five ex IBM employees started SAP as a small software and just one customer in Germany.. Those visionary entrepreneurs started SAP in 1972. They started it with the vision of the software that process data when a user wants, when a customer wants and not in overnight batch jobs like earlier software.
In earlier years, SAP started as R/2 that is Real time architecture with 2 servers. This got changed in later years as R/3 that is Real time architecture with 3 servers. These 3 servers are Application Server, Production Server and Database server. In 2009, SAP released its latest version that is ECC 6.0 Now it is being assumed that SAP will not release any new versions but it will keep updating it with time.
Recently, SAP is teaming up with Open Text in ECM (Enterprise Content Management) sector and other third party tax wares to provide an end to end solution for organizations. For example, SAP and Open Text all together provides an end to end Vendor Invoice Management (VIM) solution.
SAP modules in details
Here I try to explain some of the top modules in more details.
SAP FI (Finance) : Finance module consider to be the base module. It covers vital areas such as General Ledger (GL), Account payable (AP), Account Receivable (AR) and Asset Accounting (AA). SAP FI and CO together known as FICO and it is consider as King of SAP modules.
Controlling (CO): Controlling is kind of sister module for FI. Controlling mostly use for internal controlling and internal reporting. It includes cost center accounting, (CCA), Profit center accounting (PCA) Product costing (PC), Profitability Analysis (COPA) and Internal Order (IO).
Sales & Distribution (SD): SD is predominantly controls sales and it is also heavily tied up with MM. It controls customer master data, sales, plants, sales organizations and sales conditions.
Human Resource (HR) : HR modules handles all human resource activities such as resource hiring, salary, employee benefits etc. It is highly integrated with FI and CO modules.
Project System (PS) : Project system module is a special for project related activities. It comprise budgeting, planning, forecasting, work breakdown structure for projects. PS module is again highly integrated with FICO modules.
What is ASAP Methodology ?
ASAP Methodology is a road map for implementing SAP system. It is an organised way how an SAP implementation should get conducted for efficiency. It has 6 phases starting from the very first stage to the post production support. This is just to give update, I will discuss more about ASAP Methodology in more details in a separate hub.
The SAP R/3 System has a three-tier client/server architecture. All data is stored in a database, and the data is processed in the application layer on the application servers. The SAPgui frontend (presentation layer) is the interface to the user. All three layers are connected to each other with networks. The following graphic depicts the client/server architecture of the R/3 System, and the communication requirements between the presentation and application layers and between the application and database layers:
Depending on your requirements, you can distribute the services to different hosts.
Smaller applications keep the database and the R/3 application on the same host. The large volume of data that passes between the R/3 application and the database (SAP server communication) is processed locally and not through a network.
The presentation layer is usually made up of PCs on which the SAPgui frontend is installed. The SAPgui is not a terminal emulation but an application program that displays R/3 application data graphically. This means that there are no great demands placed on the connection between the SAPgui frontend PCs and the R/3 application (access communication).
Higher processing demands on the R/3 application can be realized by additional application servers (application servers are hosts on which the R/3 application runs).
Very high demands are made on bandwidth and delay time between the application servers and the database server. You need to set up a suitable network connection to meet these demands.
You can speed up and secure data throughput to the database by placing the database on a separate host. The database server host then communicates only with the R/3 application servers. By isolating the database completely from the rest of the corporate network, you prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data and ensure high performance.
For data backup purposes you may need to connect the database server to a dedicated network (SAN = Storage Area Network).
Access communication covers all access to the R/3 System. This includes user access through the SAPgui, and also links to other R/3 Systems and external applications.
An access network is not a dedicated network segment, but includes all network segments through which the R/3 System is accessed.
Important Design Criteria for the Access Network:
- Block-oriented data traffic ® delay times in the network are relatively non-critical for the SAPgui
- Bandwidth must be determined separately for each location, depending on the number of users and their activities
- The availability of the network must also be specified according to the user group or location
Server communication covers all communication between the application servers and the database server, and is of great importance for the R/3 System. In each individual case you must decide whether you want to process the server communication through its own physical network (server network), or whether you want access and server communication to share a physical network. You must remember that any worsening in server communication also has a negative effect on the performance of the R/3 System.
A server network is the network connection between the servers (application servers and database servers) of an R/3 System.
Important Design Criteria for the Server Network:
- High throughput of data or high bandwidth
- Minimum delay time (round trip time)
- Includes the servers of the R/3 System only
- High availability
- No non-SAP data traffic (for example, data backup over the network)
- Direct server connection ® no expensive cabling
- Greatest possible security against unauthorized access to the database server if the server network is set up as a separate segment from the rest of the corporate network