What is SAP software and what is it used for?


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications have played an important role in the digital transformation of businesses across industries. And when you think of ERP applications, it's hard to miss SAP.

The original German name of the SAP company is an acronym for Systemanalyse Programmentwicklung. This translates into systems analysis program development. The company is officially registered as SAP SE, SE Societas Europaea, which is the US version of Inc.

The German multinational is one of the leading providers of business management solutions. As of October 2021, SAP is one of the top five ERP software providers, with a global market share of 3.57%.

Today, the tech giant provides more than 100 solutions covering almost all business functions. To become a successful SAP professional, you'll need to know this massive software ecosystem like the back of your hand.

Let's see what it is, how it works, what SAP software is used for, and the training you need, among other things.

1. What Is SAP Software?

As you already know, SAP is an ERP software ecosystem that includes various functional modules that integrate various processes and departments within an enterprise. Each module facilitates productivity and scalability through efficient use of resources.

SAP set a global standard for ERP applications with its original SAP R/2 and SAP R/3 software. Today, SAP S/4HANA, the successor to SAP R/2 and SAP R/3, is helping large enterprises around the world create an intelligent business management environment with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. As of 2015, SAP S/4HANA has attracted 17,500 customers worldwide.

SAP offers a wide portfolio of service modules. You can choose any module that suits your needs. One of the main advantages of SAP is its compatibility. Whether small or large, established brand or startup, SAP can do wonders for your business. You can also get ERP solutions tailored to your specific needs.

2. How Does SAP Work?

SAP ERP software is one of the most complex ERP systems. So, the question is, how does SAP work? And can it offer flexibility and scalability despite its complexity? The short answer is yes.

It is a three-tier system, which compromises presentation, application and database tiers. This design makes SAP ERP solutions user-friendly, easy to scale and highly customizable.

1.The Application Tier:

This effect is the integrated link between the interface and the database. This layer deals with business logic, drives processes, and controls access to databases.

2.The Database Tier:

This is where business (user) and application data is stored. It is basically the memory bank of your entire SAP ERP system.

Although this system is complex and requires step-by-step implementation, it offers several advantages. One of the most appreciated advantages of SAP includes its ability to integrate with other third-party systems. With easy third-party integration, you can implement enterprise-wide solutions and improve overall productivity.

Each SAP module also comes with many analytical features, the flexibility to create custom rules and the ability to standardize your business processes.

3. What Is SAP Used for in the Workplace?

SAP facilitates the flow of information and data processing across all parts of your business. You can find SAP modules designed for different parts of an enterprise, from finance to supply chain management. In other words, SAP clients reach far and wide, including local companies and global corporations.

For example, the famous German automobile manufacturer Porsche has been using the SAP S/4HANA ERP system to manage its day-to-day processes for some time. It has also been a SAP SCM customer for decades. In 2019, Porsche partnered with SAP to digitally transform its production, logistics and ordering processes.

Bridgestone, on the other hand, achieved a 25% reduction in errors with real-time visibility thanks to SAP extended warehouse management. Another real-life example of SAP S/4HANA is how Vodafone standardized 85% of its core business processes across 24 different countries, including HR, procurement, finance and more.

Yes, SAP S/4HANA is a very popular ERP solution. But there are many other equally popular process-specific SAP modules in the market.

Here are five of the most common uses of SAP in a workplace.

1. SAP in Accounting and Finance

The SAP Financial Accounting (FI) module helps you manage financial transactions within your enterprise. Whether it is a small business or a big one, you can avail this module as per your requirement. It helps you define the real-time financial status of your organization. It also connects to other SAP modules such as Sales and Distribution, Payroll, and Human Resources, empowering your overall financial management.

2. SAP in Supply Chain Management

The SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM) module allows you to design, build, and manage a flexible and sustainable supply chain. It helps you connect seamlessly with your suppliers, customers, manufacturers, business partners and retailers. Thanks to this integrated business intelligence system, it becomes easy to plan your production, anticipate fluctuations in demand, and make market forecasts.

3. SAP in HR Management

With the SAP Human Capital Management (HCM) module, your HR department will work like a breeze. This module strengthens and facilitates various HR-related processes such as payroll, managing promotions, tracking employee performance, and handling compensation, among others. As this module integrates with other SAP modules, you can improve overall work efficiency in your workplace.

4. SAP in Materials Management

With the SAP Materials Management (MM) module, you can control key aspects of materials management and production within your enterprise. You can manage different types of procurement processes using this module. Some common uses of this SAP module include consumption-based planning, purchasing, inventory management, and invoice verification.

5. SAP in Sales and Distribution

As the name suggests, the SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) module is designed to manage all transactions and processes related to sales and distribution. With this module, you can manage inquiries, proposals, quotations, transportation, billing, credit management, and pricing and much more.

4. What SAP Software Training Is Required?

Given the long list of SAP software products, there is no dearth of SAP roles and training courses. However, it is one of the most competitive industries in the world.

Without the right set of knowledge, tools and experience, your SAP career could end in its tracks. That's where SAP software training and certification comes in.

You can get module-specific training or certification. Currently, there are more than 150 certifications available in nine different languages. All industry related training courses fall under the following three types of certifications.

1. Associate Certification: 

It lays the foundation for your SAP software training, helping you hone your fundamentals. This is a stepping stone to higher level training. It is also considered the best place for graduates and inexperienced candidates to start their SAP career path.

2. Specialist Certification: 

This certification is role specific. There is a steady stream of candidates looking for a specific role in their environment.

3. Professional Certification:

This certification focuses on a more detailed understanding of SAP solutions. You also need hands-on experience in using various SAP solutions. In other words, only experienced professionals can go for this higher certification.

The SAP Training Center regularly updates the list of available and valid certifications. You should check this list before signing up for a course. It is also best to get insights from industry experts and experienced SAP professionals to help make an informed decision.


SAP is, without a doubt, one of the leading companies in the ERP industry. The ever-evolving SAP environment offers ample growth opportunities for graduates and experienced candidates. With the right set of skills, training and recruiting, your SAP career can take off.

We help connect the best SAP talent from around the world to the right roles. Our expert recruiters can help you find the SAP role you want. If you're looking for a SAP-related job, visit our SAP job search or contact us today.

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