Thursday, January 29, 2009


There are many people out there who are trying to understand SAP. Although this site is mainly for SAP professionals, I thought of putting up a post on SAP R3 which will help people who are looking for information on SAP.

What is SAP R/3?

SAP standards for System Application and Products in data processing. And the term R/3 defines the SAP three layer architecture. Those three layers are;

  1. Data Base layer
  2. Application Layer
  3. User interface Layer.

SAP is the largest business software provider in the world. They are based in Germany. SAP currently employees more than 40,000 employees and serves more than 41,000 customers all over the world. Total number of SAP users exceeds 12 million in number worldwide.

SAP is mainly an ERP or an Enterprise Resource Planner. It approaches business by covering key business elements from its modules which will be integrated to cater the requirements of the business. These modules are logically and operationally divided mainly based on the functionality. Material Management, Sales and Distribution, Finance and Controlling are some of these modules. Materials Management module covers the supply chain functionality from requirement generation for the ordering, purchasing, logistic handling, goods receipt, stock handling, physical counts, goods issues and transfers and invoice verification. Sales and distribution module on the other hand will cover the order receipt and goods delivery to the customer.

SAP has its main or the standard product along with its industry specific solutions. There are more than 25 industry specific solutions (List of SAP IS) some of them are SAP for Oil & Gas and SAP for Chemicals. These industry specific solutions are fine tuned to cater the special requirement of a particular industry. SAP AFS (which is my blog’s area of focus) is catering the special requirements of the apparel and footwear industry. In this case requirements of the industry to handle its materials in sizes and colors have been catered apart from the standard SAP functionality for an example.

Brief history of SAP - From R1 to R3

SAP started its journey in 1972. Five of the former IBM employees started the organization called System Applications and Products for data processing to give the businesses a standard solution to process their data real time.

The first SAP product was its financial accounting software and it is called R1. Sometime later the R/2 was developed. R/3 started in 1990’s. Now SAP is moving to the world of web and its applications are becoming very interactive and web based.

SAP Advantages

SAP has tons of experiences with them. Almost all the business best practices are built into the system. When a customer goes for SAP apart from the solid software they get the business best practices.

SAP is a fully integrated system. All the modules of the system combine seamlessly. All the processes are linked and financials automatically takes place in the background.

SAP is a robust and tested system. With its 120,000 installations in 120 countries for 41,000 plus customers with more than 12 million users SAP is tested both in terms of time and volume. It is robust and fast when considering the amount of the data that the system processes.

SAP’s support is another key advantage for its users. Upgrading is also possible without much of an effort.

Above are only some of the advantages and services a customer and user will get when they use SAP. For more information visit the




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