In order for many businesses to remain competitive in today’s market they have to constantly be thinking of new and increasingly progressive ways of filling their customer’s needs. This means that they must continually update their management and technological profile to ensure that they can service their customers as efficiently as possible.
In the past, most computer systems were developed with a specific department in mind and their focus was to handle that department’s unique needs. While these systems were very efficient in servicing the department it tended to present a problem for the company overall when the data the system contained needed to be transferred to any other area within the business that used a completely different system.
While for smaller companies this may not be too much of a conflict, larger corporations constantly had to reinvent the wheel so to speak in order to communicate information across so many software programs. This was the real idea behind the new SAP software solution. According to SAP Techies,
SAP applications … provide the capability to manage financial, asset, and cost accounting, production operations and materials, personnel, plants, and archived documents.
This means that the system is capable of being used in all of their different departments so that the entire company has one cohesive and uniformed program. Just this one feature alone can save a business countless man hours by eliminating all the various different programs that require different supports to keep them running and replacing them with a unique integrated system common to all departments.
What is SAP?
In the simplest of terms, SAP is an information and management software package used to manage and track a business’ sales, production, accounting, and human resource needs in one uniformed format. This software package comes from the German parent company SAP AG, the third largest software maker in the world. To date, it has more than 10 million users globally representing at least 120 different countries.
This software program differs greatly from the traditional computer information systems used by many businesses today. Previous forms of computer software have been developed with a very specific function in mind. They create reports and analysis of activities that each department may have to complete; these may include accounting general ledger systems, employee schedules, and sales and production reports, or any number of other regular functions a business may need. Most companies will have a number of these systems running independent of each other. As explained in the SAP FICO Tutorial,
All applications access common data. Real events in the business initiate transactions. Accounting is done automatically by events in sales and production. Sales can see when products can be delivered. Production schedules are driven by sales. The whole system is designed to be real-time and not historical.
A company that implements SAP software can actually simplify their internal organization in such a way that they can focus more attention on servicing the customer rather than on maintaining a large number of systems to maintain their work load.
There are many different types of companies that may gain benefit from using the SAP software.
SAP in the Cloud
Many different types of companies such as aerospace & defense, automotive, banking, chemicals, engineering, healthcare and transportation can make excellent use of SAP software. The fact that they can access their data from a number of directions makes it an invaluable asset to many such industries.
Not only does SAP bring the entire group of departments of any given corporation into a seamless unified organization it also makes the data much more accessible from a number of different locations. Those with authorized access to the information and a reliable Internet connection can access necessary data whenever and wherever they need it. It helps to avoid data storage issues and allows them to handle a large customer base and a large network of partners without having the needed information tied to a specific physical location. So, whether an individual is in the back office, boardroom, warehouse, storefront, on their laptop or another mobile device, the information needed can be accessed in a matter of seconds through SAPs effective use of the cloud.
There are a number of ways that a business can improve their approach to such needs beyond access to the information and data being readily available to accomplish the task at hand. Notice how this is explained at SAP Cloud Computing,
The beauty of cloud solutions lies in its fast on-boarding, scalability to Business and easy access from everywhere and from any device. Not only that, but cloud source code never get old as it instantly updates on release.
Unlike with other software programs, a company never has to concern itself with keeping up with possible upgrades. Since everything is already maintained on the web, the updates are automatic at the time of release.
Being successful is the most important issue for any company and with SAP a business can be uniquely positioned to maintain its necessary flow of information in an uninterrupted way so that the business at hand can function accordingly.
Better Facilitates Change
From the very beginning, SAP was established for the purpose of improving business practices across the board. Businesses have often utilized this software package to combine with a BPR project. BPR (Business Process Reengineering) was originally the analysis and design of various workflows and processes within an organization for better performance and results.
Basically, a business process is a logical arrangement of all the tasks related to a certain business outcome and the reengineering is the focus of a team made up of people from varying departments coming together to reach an agreed upon goal. Their usual focus is on quality, store planning, purchasing, finance, and human resources. The same focus as the SAP software program. They troubleshoot for solutions to various problems and concentrate on improving organizational capacities and customer value.
SAP software is very instrumental in enhancing this structure and improving the functionality and the quality of service, adding a certain value to the end user. This makes it much easier to maintain a smooth workflow of any particular company. According to an Ijera, there is a definite goal in blending these two similar tools together,
The main concern of industry is to manage inventory and customer order on time and to offer them best service with added value without any other extra cost. To manage inventory it is necessary to have information about each department and that information must be true.
Since the SAP is to be used in this capacity as an ERP tool, it will help in the team’s planning, scheduling and forecasting. It will also be effective in providing the right information and making sure that it gets to the right person on the team at the right time.
It Gives a Business a Strong Competitive Advantage
There are many ways where companies that have used SAP have been able to gain a strong competitive advantage over similar industries.
With the real time information flowing to the right people at the right time, a business is better able to have accurate information to be passed on to needed parties in a timely fashion. This would include being able to provide exact delivery dates and times to customers when they need it; whether it is an individual customer wondering if a certain gift they ordered will arrive on time or a warehouse looking for a large restock order to maintain their inventory. With SAP software all of the information is contained within the confines of the program and maintained in the cloud for easy access.
They can also consolidate purchase decisions from any of their offices around the world and use that data to negotiate with vendors. Anytime a vendor can see that you have a global presence and can promise a specific number of orders you will have leverage when negotiating. Because much of the information is accurate and thorough, it is easier for a company to show their strengths in certain areas giving you a stronger negotiating position.
Retail businesses and services can get a major boost in their dealings by being able to place kiosks in stores or other areas where potential customers may travel. These customers can enter their product specifications and it can be instantly fed into the production planning process, and they can have immediate feedback while their non SAP user competitors may have to pass the request off to another department and wait for a response.
Not only do these applications come with simulation and predictive capabilities, but combine analytics with transactions to convert insight-into-action in real time.
In short, when a company uses SAP they are better able to manage, analyze, join, and calculate on big data and at the same time combine analytics with transactional data to convert insight immediately into action. This way a company can engage the customer and accelerate their services on demand.
Reasons to Implement SAP
If a business is in the process of acquiring a new company and they need to quickly integrate that new company into an existing company, using SAP to bring it all together can be the easiest way to blend all facets of the business seamlessly. Whether you have an SAP software program built for you from the ground up or you’re an existing SAP customer that is spreading their wings and expanding your own business, you will probably get your best advantage from an SAP template.
The SAP template, project managers, IT team members, and business-process owners can share their expectations on a platform that encompasses both a business point of view and an IT perspective at the same time. The template can help to identify the potential of your software program and how best to utilize the package in a way that supports your business’ goal.
Templates are great for completing regular transactions and business processes, to help sift through test cases to identify the best business processes that a company may use, to help to implement customer-specific development of points that are particular to the business process, customize specific settings, or to incorporate certain standards for master data and other things.
When a company utilizes a global template they will bring together all interested parties that will include management, IT, and other involved workers to identify the exact needs of any given project before the software is developed. This way, once the software is created it can be transferred over to any department that needs the information without a business having to reinvent the wheel. The ownership and responsibility of the job can be transferred to any individual at any time whenever needed making sure that the workflow never stops.
SAP is Changing the Business World
As our world becomes more progressively technological the customer is also changing. It is becoming more and more critical for businesses to be able to keep up with these continuously changing customer demands and to be able to anticipate their needs even before they’re needed.
This will require accurate insight into all facets of your organization in real time. A well organized business will know what products are hot and what each store, location, or country is reasonably able to deliver to the desired customer. It is just as essential to understand what is happening with their competition in your target market. SAP software is the one tool that can bring all of these elements together into one simple and easy to use program that can give a business comprehensive data to help plan accordingly. As explained by Forbes,
The tools must not just sense and capture the data but also integrate these external demand signals into the company’s demand planning, fulfillment and promotional processes to respond appropriately to changes. Only then can the company gain the benefits, such as increased customer service levels and reduced inventory.
At the end of the day, the software a company uses should be able to help them to decipher the current customer demands in their field of expertise. This way they will always be in the forefront of the current marketing trends and customers demands of the day.