A Beginner’s Guide to Understand Major Solutions, Services and Platforms in SAP Ecosystem
If you are new to SAP, you will be overwhelmed by the wide range of solutions, services and platforms SAP offers that drive digital transformation for businesses of all sizes. However, understanding the full spectrum of these offerings can be challenging, especially for those new to the SAP ecosystem.
In this blog, I will break down these wide range of solutions, services and platforms into digestible bits, making it easy for a beginner to understand.
- Anyone who need a beginner level explanation of entire SAP Ecosystem to get holistic view.
- If you are looking for starting your career in SAP, you need to understand entire SAP ecosystem to decide your right career path. This blog may help you get a clear understanding of all major SAP solutions and services and help you decide picking right topic to build expertise.
Let’s first have a quick glance on important components of SAP ecosystem.
At the core of SAP ecosystem, we have SAP S/4HANA which is a powerful enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that helps companies manage their operations more efficiently. It integrates various functions like finance, sales, procurement, manufacturing, and more into a single, streamlined system.
Further, SAP offers a wide range of enterprise solutions like SAP Ariba for procurement and supply chain management, SAP SuccessFactors a comprehensive cloud-based human capital management (HCM) solution, SAP Concur for travel and expense management, SAP Customer Experience an integrated offering designed to modernize the sales-only focus of legacy CRM solutions, SAP Field Glass for managing contingent workforce, including temporary workers, contractors, and freelancers and many more solutions.
On top of these enterprise solutions, we have Industry cloud solutions from SAP as well as from SAP partners which offer a range of industry specialized applications built on SAP BTP for the industry needs. These solutions can be used in combination with all SAP solutions by integrating them to drive business transformation profitably and sustainably.
SAP offers a powerful technical foundation for entire SAP ecosystem called, SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP).
SAP BTP is a unified platform that enables businesses to build, integrate, and extend applications using cloud services and technologies. SAP BTP comes with rich set of services to provide out-of-the-box support for integration, analytics, database & data management, DevOps, Low-Code/No-Code, AI, ML etc.
Under SAP BTP umbrella, we have some unique offerings which solves specific business requirements. Such as SAP Analytics Cloud which provide strong analytics capabilities and helps us taking data-driven decision, SAP Build which is a portfolio of tools to support Low-Code/No-Code development, SAP HANA Cloud which solves all database and data related requirement, SAP Integration Suite a comprehensive set of services that enables seamless connectivity and integration between various SAP and non-SAP applications and systems etc.
Now, let’s dive into these individual components.
SAP S/4HANA is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that helps companies manage their operations more efficiently. It integrates various functions like finance, sales, procurement, manufacturing, and more into a single, streamlined system.
Let’s understand it with an example:
Imagine you run a retail business that sells clothing. You have multiple stores, an online platform, and a warehouse where you store your inventory. Before implementing SAP S/4HANA, you used different software systems to manage your finances, sales, inventory, and other operations. Each system had its own data and required manual effort to update and reconcile information.
Now, with SAP S/4HANA, all these processes can be unified into a single system. You can track your inventory levels, sales, and financial transactions in real-time, all within the same software. For instance, when a customer purchases an item from your online store, the inventory is automatically updated across all channels, ensuring accurate stock information. This integration eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the chances of errors.
Moreover, SAP S/4HANA utilizes advanced technologies like in-memory computing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. This enables you to gain valuable insights from your data and make informed decisions. For instance, you can analyse sales trends, identify popular products, forecast demand, and optimize your supply chain accordingly.
To summarize, SAP S/4HANA simplifies and integrates your business processes, providing a holistic view of your operations. It enhances efficiency, reduces manual effort, and enables you to make data-driven decisions, ultimately helping your business run more smoothly and effectively.
For more information, see https://www.sap.com/india/products/erp/s4hana.html
SAP SuccessFactors is a cloud-based human resource software, which covers everything from core HR, payroll, and people analytics to the four pillars of talent management: recruiting, learning and development, compensation, and performance management.
Imagine you’re running a company and you want to make sure you have the right people in the right roles, and that they’re motivated and performing well. SAP SuccessFactors is like a digital assistant that helps you manage your employees effectively.
With SAP SuccessFactors, you can handle tasks like hiring new employees, setting performance goals, conducting performance reviews, and providing training and development opportunities. It’s like having a personal assistant who keeps track of all the important details and reminders.
For example, let’s say you want to hire a new sales manager. With SuccessFactors, you can post the job opening, review applications, schedule interviews, and make an informed decision on the best candidate to hire. Once hired, you can set performance goals for the new manager, provide ongoing feedback, and track their progress over time.
SuccessFactors also helps you identify high-performing employees who are ready for advancement, ensuring you can nurture talent within your organization. It provides you with insights and analytics to make informed decisions about your workforce and create strategies to improve employee engagement and productivity.
In simple terms, SAP SuccessFactors is a digital tool that assists you in managing your employees’ journey from recruitment to retirement, ensuring you have a motivated and high-performing team that drives the success of your business.
For more information, see https://www.sap.com/products/hcm.html
SAP Ariba is a cloud-based business-to-business (B2B) marketplace that helps companies buy and sell goods and services more efficiently. It simplifies the procurement process by connecting buyers and suppliers on a single platform.
Here’s a simple example to explain how SAP Ariba works:
Let’s say there’s a company called ABC Electronics that needs to purchase computer components for their manufacturing process. In the traditional procurement process, ABC Electronics would have to manually search for suppliers, negotiate prices, generate purchase orders, and handle various paperwork.
With SAP Ariba, ABC Electronics can access the marketplace and find multiple suppliers offering computer components. They can compare prices, read reviews, and evaluate the suppliers’ performance and reliability. Once they have chosen a supplier, they can communicate with them, negotiate terms, and place the order directly through the platform.
In simple terms, SAP Ariba simplifies the procurement process by connecting buyers and suppliers, enabling efficient communication, and providing a centralized platform for managing procurement activities.
For more information, see https://www.ariba.com
SAP Concur is a travel and expense management software that helps businesses streamline and automate their travel booking, expense reporting, and reimbursement processes.
Let’s illustrate how SAP Concur works with a simple example:
Imagine you work for a company called XYZ Corporation, and you need to go on a business trip for a client meeting. In the past, you would have to manually book your flights, hotel accommodations, and keep track of your expenses with paper receipts.
With SAP Concur, XYZ Corporation provides you with a user-friendly mobile app or web portal. You can log in and easily book your flights and hotel accommodations within the platform. The software integrates with travel booking websites and agencies, allowing you to compare prices, select options, and make reservations.
During your trip, you can use the SAP Concur mobile app to take pictures of your receipts and enter expense details. The app automatically captures relevant information such as date, amount, and vendor from the receipts. You can categorize expenses, add notes, and submit them directly through the app.
Once you return from your trip, SAP Concur automatically processes your expense report. It matches the expenses with your travel bookings and company policies, checking for any policy violations or errors. The software then generates a detailed expense report that you can review and submit for approval.
XYZ Corporation’s finance department can access SAP Concur’s dashboard to review and approve the expense reports. The software provides visibility into spending patterns, allows for policy enforcement, and helps ensure compliance with company guidelines and regulatory requirements.
In simple words, SAP Concur simplifies travel booking, expense reporting, and reimbursement processes by providing a user-friendly platform for employees to book travel, capture receipts, and submit expense reports. The software improves efficiency, policy compliance, and provides greater visibility and control over travel and expense management.
For more information, see https://www.concur.com
Here is a quick comparison of SAP S/4HANA, SuccessFactors, Ariba, Concur & Fieldglass.
|Features||SAP S/4HANA||SAP SuccessFactors||SAP Ariba||SAP Concur||SAP Fieldglass|
|Deployment||On-premise or cloud-based||Cloud-based||Cloud-based||Cloud-based||Cloud-based|
|Functionality||Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for managing core business processes such as finance, supply chain, sales, and manufacturing.||Human Capital Management (HCM) solution for managing HR processes including recruitment, employee administration, performance management, and learning.||Procurement and supply chain management solution for managing sourcing, procurement, and supplier collaboration.||Travel and expense management solution for managing travel booking, expense reporting, and invoice processing.||Vendor management system for managing external workforce and contingent labor.|
|Key Features||Real-time analytics, simplified data model, Fiori user interface, industry-specific functionalities.||Talent acquisition, employee onboarding, performance management, learning and development, workforce planning, analytics, and reporting.||Sourcing and procurement, supplier management, contract management, catalog management, supplier collaboration, and spend analysis.||Travel booking, expense management, invoice processing, policy compliance, travel analytics, and reporting.||Vendor management, statement of work (SOW) management, workforce planning, contingent worker engagement, reporting, and analytics.|
|Integration||Integration with other SAP applications and third-party systems.||Integration with SAP ERP and other HR systems.||Integration with SAP ERP, financial systems, and other procurement solutions.||Integration with travel booking systems, financial systems, and HR systems.||Integration with HR systems, procurement systems, and external workforce systems.|
|Target Audience||Organizations of all sizes in various industries.||Organizations of all sizes in need of robust HR management.||Organizations seeking procurement and supplier management solutions.||Organizations requiring travel and expense management solutions.||Organizations managing external workforce and contingent labor.|
|Benefits||Streamlined business processes, real-time insights, improved efficiency, and reduced IT complexity.||Improved HR management, talent acquisition, employee engagement, and workforce planning.||Streamlined procurement processes, improved supplier collaboration, cost savings, and spend visibility.||Simplified travel booking, enhanced expense management, policy compliance, and cost control.||Streamlined vendor management, improved workforce planning, compliance, and visibility into contingent labor.|
|Sustainability||It enables organizations to track, analyse, and optimize their sustainability initiatives, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics. Our Green Ledger – Integrates with cloud ERP to provide real-time financial and environmental decision-making transparency at a granular level.||People sustainability – Measuring and track diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, health and safety, trust and transparency, empowerment and growth, organisation and purpose and corporate social responsibility initiatives||Supplier Lifecycle and Performance, Supplier Risk, Strategic Sourcing, and Commerce Automation are just a small selection of the firm’s solutions which enable companies to zero-in on the most vital data to help build sustainable and ethical supply chains.||Get data insights into carbon emissions, top destinations, green suppliers, traveller spending behaviours.||Allows you to facilitate socially responsible employment while finding, engaging, managing, and compensating a diverse external workforce.|
SAP Customer Experience
SAP Customer Experience is an integrated offering designed to modernize the sales-only focus of legacy CRM solutions. Following the completed acquisitions of market leaders Hybris, Gigya, and CallidusCloud, SAP now ties together solutions to support all front-office functions, such as consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales, and customer service.
In simple words, SAP Customer Experience is a suite of software solutions designed to help businesses provide excellent customer experiences and build strong customer relationships throughout the entire customer journey.
SAP Commerce Cloud
SAP Marketing Cloud
SAP Sales Cloud
SAP Service Cloud
SAP Customer Data Cloud
SAP’s Industry Cloud
With SAP S/4HANA as the central enterprise resource planning solution combined with other solutions from SAP, SAP offers a wide range of functionalities. In addition, there are the industry cloud solutions from SAP and partners.
Industry cloud solutions from SAP offer a range of industry specialized applications built on SAP BTP for the industry needs. These solutions can be used in combination with all SAP solutions by integrating them to drive business transformation profitably and sustainably, seize new opportunities, and manage business disruption and changes within your industry.
Based on this, a company can use innovative new capabilities at their scale, integrated in the SAP portfolio. Industry Cloud offers apps in lots of industries, for example, automotive, retail, public sector, and many more.
For more information, see https://www.sap.com/industries/industry-cloud.html
SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP)
Let’s take 2 example scenarios to understand.
There is an organization (whether an existing SAP customer or new to SAP ecosystem) who wants to build a cloud solution or a mobile solution. In this solution, they need to integrate multiple systems, automate complex business processes, incorporate use new age technologies (like IoT, Predictive Analytics, Machine Learning etc.).
An existing SAP customer wants to build a cloud solution to extend SAP systems ( e.g. S/4HANA, SuccessFactors). They also need to have independence in managing downtime, scalability, and lifecycle management. They also want to choose their data center as per their need.
Organizations want to achieve both scenarios with minimal effort, low cost and have faster time to market. They don’t prefer to spend money and time on system installation, configuration, and maintenance.
SAP BTP is a solution portfolio from SAP which fulfil all these requirements. SAP BTP is
a portfolio of SAP products, services, and solutions that are brought under one umbrella. These services, and solutions helps organizations build a new cloud solution or extend SAP systems.
As part of SAP BTP, we have
- Services to seamlessly integrate SAP & Non-SAP systems
- Tools & frameworks to build cloud solution with minimal effort
- Cloud Based Database, Data Lake and other services to solve any type of data related requirements
- Solution to build world class analytics without coding
- Out-of-the-box support to incorporate machine learning, AI, predictive analytics etc. in our solution.
In other words – SAP BTP is a bundle of many, many different services. Some of those services can be used for innovation and application development, some services are purely for monitoring, some are databases as a service, and some are runtimes as a service. BTP platform gives you access to all these services.
SAP BTP provides all the necessary resources to create a cloud solution. It allows you to focus on business logics, while BTP takes care of the technical aspects behind the scenes.
For more information, see Explaining SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) to a Beginner
This concludes major components of SAP ecosystem.
Now, let’s also have a quick look into some of the important components of SAP Business Technology Platform.
SAP Integration Suite
SAP Integration Suite is a comprehensive set of tools, technologies, and services provided by SAP under SAP BTP umbrella, that enables seamless integration and connectivity between various applications, systems, and data sources within an organization.
It offers a range of capabilities such as data integration, application integration, process integration, and API management. SAP Integration Suite allows businesses to connect and orchestrate their systems, streamline processes, and enable real-time data exchange, facilitating digital transformation and enhancing operational efficiency.
Let’s say a company uses SAP S/4HANA system for managing its business processes such as finance, sales, and procurement. The company also has an e-commerce website running on a different platform. At the same time, the company is using SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Ariba as well.
With SAP Integration Suite, the company can integrate S/4HANA system, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba with their e-commerce platform, allowing real-time synchronization of data like product inventory, pricing, and order information. his integration ensures a seamless flow of information between the ERP system and the e-commerce platform, eliminating manual data entry, reducing errors, and providing a unified view of business operations.
For more information, see https://www.sap.com/india/products/technology-platform/integration-suite.html
SAP Build is SAP’s unified low-code offering built on SAP BTP that enables everyone to create and augment enterprise applications, automate processes, and design business sites with drag-and-drop simplicity.
SAP Build empowers citizen developers with minimal technical expertise to do software development. By empowering more users to develop irrespective of their skill level, SAP Build lessens the burden on professional developers.
SAP Build brings together three previously separate SAP solutions now into a unified development environment:
- SAP Build Apps (formerly SAP AppGyver),
- SAP Build Process Automation (formerly SAP Process Automation)
- SAP Build Work Zone (formerly SAP Work Zone)
For more information, see Demystifying SAP Build for Beginners (https://blogs.sap.com/2023/02/21/demystifying-sap-build-for-beginners/)
SAP Analytics Cloud
SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is a cloud-based analytics platform offered by SAP that enables organizations to perform data analysis, visualization, and collaboration. It allows users to connect to various data sources, create interactive dashboards and reports, and share insights with stakeholders.
For example, a retail company can use SAP Analytics Cloud to analyse its sales data. The company can connect SAC to multiple SAP and non-SAP systems, import and blend data from multiple sources. Using SAC’s intuitive interface, the company can create visualizations, such as charts and graphs, to identify sales trends, compare performance across different regions or products, and uncover patterns. Users can also collaborate by sharing dashboards with colleagues, allowing them to explore the data, apply filters, and gain valuable insights for making informed decisions, such as optimizing pricing strategies or identifying underperforming products. SAC provides a user-friendly and powerful platform for data analysis and reporting, helping organizations leverage data to drive business success.
For more information, see https://www.sap.com/india/products/technology-platform/cloud-analytics.html
SAP HANA Cloud
SAP HANA Cloud is a cloud-based, in-memory database and computing platform offered by SAP, under SAP BTP umbrella. It provides organizations with real-time data processing and analytics capabilities, enabling them to harness the power of data for faster decision-making and advanced insights.
For example, a manufacturing company can use SAP HANA Cloud to optimize its production processes. By integrating various data sources such as IoT sensors, supply chain systems, and historical production data, the company can leverage SAP HANA Cloud’s in-memory computing to analyze large volumes of data in real time. This enables the company to identify production bottlenecks, predict maintenance needs, and optimize resource allocation. The real-time nature of SAP HANA Cloud allows the company to make timely adjustments to production schedules, reduce downtime, and increase overall efficiency.
SAP HANA Cloud’s scalability and elasticity make it suitable for handling large datasets and supporting complex analytics scenarios. It also provides advanced analytical capabilities such as machine learning algorithms and predictive analytics, empowering organizations to uncover valuable insights and drive innovation.
For more information, see https://www.sap.com/india/products/technology-platform/hana.html
There are one more SAP solutions that is worth mentioning – SAP Signavio. Let’s have a quick look into that as well.
I hope so far you have got basic idea of SAP ecosystem and its major components. I would love to know your feedback in comment.
If you have any queries, let me know in comment or get in touch with me at LinkedIn!