Sunday, February 24, 2013

What is SAP Implementation?

SAP, a global leader in the ERP World, no doubt provides a cost-effective solution to the business needs. It is, as well, offering a lucrative career (see the career path graph below) to the SAP aspirants  (B.Tech., B.E., M.Sc., MBA, CA, M.Com. etc.) who are interested to build a career in SAP after their graduations. After studying the world job market, it is clear and concise that job market for the SAP aspirants is bright and innovative and there is an increasing growth in SAP applications across the industries. It still makes a difficult situation for the SAP freshers to get into the industry as every companies are interested to recruit a candidate having certain experience.

I have come across some doubts on my own experience - certain terminologies are puzzling our minds, particularly to the entry level SAP professionals. One of them is implementation. This word often creates conflicting meaning with the word configuration. But, there is substantial difference between these two words.

What is the difference between SAP Implementation and SAP Configuration?

SAP Implementation is a generic method based on certain best practices and case studies from various literature sources that defines the processes and products help an organization to plan and execute the implementation of SAP software. SAP Implementation is always associated with Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). First, SAP experts have to study and research the company, its business process as well as its business requirement before implementing the SAP software. The TCO analysis determines how a business can get the best business solution that helps the firm to reduce the total cost of ownership. 

No implementation is an island. SAP implementation always comes with a big fat cost, so partners required. SAP business and application partners (TSO: Technical Support Organization) are needed to share/reduce the cost of ownership. 

SAP Implementation -  ASAP Methodology

          Image source: Infosys

On the other hand, configuration means to tailor the SAP system to meet the needs of our business by using the existing data - it means changing switches or setting default.It includes the physical layout, interconnections and functional characteristics of the system.

What is SAP Customization and how is it different from SAP Configuration?

SAP customization means to customize or adopt the system which includes the process of mapping SAP to your business process. It also involves changes of codes to create functionality that is not available through configuration. Customization comes with a cost as the change in codes may make difficult the companies to upgrade the software in future and may not easily migrate to a new version. Customization is done in IMG (Implementation Guide). 

  • Configuration is very difficult to undo.
  • It does not involve any changes to the underlying software code.
  • Changes in code, SAP may no longer support.
  •  Research is needed before modification.

    SAP Career Path:

                  Image Source: ITC Infotech

Useful SAP Books

SAP Implementation Unleashed
A Business and Technical Roadmap to Deploying SAP
By: George W. Anderson                           
     Charles D. Nilson
     Tim Rhodes

May 31, 2009  0672330040  978-0672330049 1

SAP can help you capture better information and deliver it more quickly, allowing you to make better decisions and maximize the business value of everything you do. However, SAP implementations require massive effort, total buy-in, and significant change throughout the organization. In SAP Implementation Unleashed, 10 expert SAP project managers, functional consultants, and technologists guide you through the entire journey, helping you avoid pain and pitfalls and gain all the benefits of SAP. Check out on Amazon.

Configuring Financial Accounting in SAP
By Veeriah Narayanan2011
765 Pages | ISBN: 1592293778 

This is a complete implementation and configuration guide for SAP ERP Financials Financial Accounting. It provides answers to the question, What is the best way to implement and customize FI for this business? The author has taken his 25 years of experience in the industry and provides you with a well thought-out, comprehensive guide for FI implementations in a case-study approach. You will master information on the various sub-components and tools encountered in an FI implementation, and learn the step-by-step instructions with concrete, real-world examples. This is a must-have guide for anyone interested in implementing and configuring Financial Accounting. Check out on Amazon.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Get Free Access to SAP IDES ERP 6.0 System

Internet Demonstration and Evaluation System: IDES ERP 6.0

Dear SAPiens and Aspirant SAPiens, 

A very good news for all of you!!
Consolut International AG, Switzerland provides FREE-OF-CHARGE access to IDES ERP 6.0. The system allows consultants, project managers and users to familiarise and practice the SAP system or to develop in-depth knowledge, without installing any software, simply via web interface.

How to access the IDES system:

1. Request for an username and password

2. Download

SAP GUI for Windows
SAPGUI 7.30 Complete Installation package   - Compilation 1
(ZIP archive: 840MB) News Patch (patch level 2, Hotfix 1) for SAPGUI 7.30 (self-extracting archive: 110MB)

The installation package is no longer provided.
Please install version 7.30.
Latest Patch   (patch level 14) for SAPGUI 7.20
(self-extracting archive: 144MB)
SAP support for version 7.20 will end on 9 April 2013.

SAPGUI for Java (Linux, Mac OSX)
Installation package, including documentation

Use the consolut SAP IDES System with your own SAPGUI 
    Application Server: i62external
    SAProuter-String: /H/
    System-ID: I62
    System Number: 09

SAP Online Help PDFs

The various chapters of the SAP IDES Online PDFs provide a better understanding of IDES customizing. Potential clients can use these files to obtain an overview of a large number of international business proceses.

The SAP Online Help PDFs give a detailed explanation of the structure of the SAP ERP system and the way it can be adapted to customers' wishes. These PDFs with the complete SAP online help system (unfortunately only available in version 4.6C) can be printed chapter by chapter as the need arises.
Source: Consolut International AG, Switzerland 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

SAP's 'Timesless' Future

By Dan Woods

Why the software giant should stick to its knitting.


Much of the analysis of the CEO transition at SAP has focused on the need for the software giant to regain a sense of excitement for its customers. In a sense, analysts are suggesting that SAP find a way to become the "New New Thing."
But SAP ( SAP - news people ) will not succeed in becoming the New New Thing, and it shouldn't try. Customers do not go to SAP to find excitement; they go to automate business processes and provide a foundation for innovation in a stable, reliable manner over a span of decades.

What SAP should do is find a way to explain the strength of its functional footprint, adapt its sales and delivery model, and focus on fixing the problems of delivering a consistent, pleasing customer experience through its network of partners.
SAP became huge based on the strength of SAP R/3, and it was amplified by three forces: frustration with mainframes (SAP could run on Unix), exploitation of the PC as a user interface (SAP supported the client-server model) and reliance on a network of systems integrators to sell and implement its software (SAP had an aggressive willingness to share a substantial chunk of the revenue pie with an extended partner network).
SAP is now the focus of frustration. A loud and significant group of customers say SAP's software costs too much and is not flexible. SAP must acknowledge that it understands why customers are upset.
Much of my recent career has been spent writing books, some sponsored by SAP, that explain the value of technology. Here's my unsolicited advice for SAP:
Reconfigure the customer experience. One of the major advantages SaaS (software as a service) providers have is complete control over the customer experience. On-premise vendors like SAP have systems integrators, IT departments, consultants and outsourcers, each with their own agenda. SAP must simplify installation, expand the pool of certified expertise and rein in its sales team and partners on setting expectations about functionality and costs. The seeds of much of the current dissatisfaction were sown during the sales process.
If a modern SaaS product allows for 1,000 points of configuration on 100 processes, SAP may allow for 10,000 points of configuration on 1,000 processes. The key question: Can you make configuring 10,000 variables simpler and less of a black art? SAP has put forth many attempts at this in the past with templates and preconfigured settings. The company must find a way to win this battle, which may be the key to winning the war.
Change the sales and delivery model. Claims about the demise of on-premise software have been exaggerated, but customers clearly don't want to be burdened with managing complex software. Using SAP software should start to feel more like using SaaS software. 
Read more on Forbes

Friday, November 2, 2012

What are the Intangible Benefits of ERP?

By Phil Marshall (

Any company which has remodeled their headquarters, invested in employee education, or contributed time or money to local charities understands fully the concept of intangible benefits. The implicit notion with an intangible benefit is that, given time and patience, it will eventually turn into a tangible benefit. A prospect suitably impressed with headquarters might choose to become a customer; a well trained employee should become a more productive employee; a good relationship with the community provides a better pool of job applicants. So how does this apply to ERP?
One of the greatest intangible benefits from ERP is a stair step increase in the amount, accuracy, and timeliness of information. This does not apply to the standard information that came out of legacy, like daily revenue reports, or the monthly income statement, but new things that were always wished for but technically impossible. When business units begin to learn how to ask ERP-intelligent business questions (“What is each work center’s contribution to our total margin?”), then rapid learning occurs, better business decisions are made, and benefits do, in fact, become tangible.

Benefits of Standardization

Another intangible benefit from a successful ERP implementation is standardization. Standardization brings the company culture together, it makes upgrades and changes more efficient, and it ensures a global consistency in process and service. Standardization is not always an easy sell as a benefit, for the paradoxical reason that everyone believes that they possess the better process/system. So to your audience, “standardization” can be synonymous with “mediocrity”. The gain is that everyone can leverage enhancements made after day one, and improve together.
Still another intangible of ERP is making explicit the interdependency that jobs in an organization have. When information is generated and remains within functional silos, it is very easy for a job function to evolve into a role that could not be defined as a “team player”. If you hear someone described as (or describe themselves as) a “traffic cop”, an “enforcer”, “a fixer”, or the like, you should feel uneasy. ERP demonstrates forcefully is that everything interrelates, and the only way to become highly effective at operating ERP is to become highly effective as a team.
A final benefit is a general improvement in total financial controls, as indicated by outside financial audits. Read more

Friday, October 12, 2012

How Can I Start a Career as an SAP Consultant?

By Jon Reed

When you begin to think about your SAP career, you can start by deciding whether you want to be an SAP functional consultant or an SAP technical consultant. Of course, there can be some crossover between these two, and ideally, you will have a mix of both, but careers in SAP are about focus. Your focus is dictated by two things: the overall background of your experience, and where you want to be headed from here.

Those SAP professionals with a functional background in areas such as finance, supply chain management, or customer relationship management, will likely focus on the functional side of SAP in their consulting careers. On the technical side, there is a distinction to be made between two main career paths: SAP developer and SAP Netweaver Engineer, or what has historically been called the "SAP Basis consultant." Basis incorporates hands-on SAP systems administration functions.

Often, some DBA know-how is included in the Basis skill set, though on larger SAP installations, the SAP DBA is frequently a separate role. The same goes for SAP Security. While there is such a thing as an SAP Security consultant, security is often a skill set under the SAP Basis umbrella.
Business Intelligence (BI) is starting to impact all SAP roles and all SAP professionals should consider developing proficiency in this area.

With those distinctions in mind, how do you become an SAP consultant in today's marketplace? It's helpful to think of SAP consulting as a combination of two important skill sets: SAP implementation experience and enterprise consulting experience. It's not always easy to acquire both these skills at the same time. In the 1990s, you could sometimes get trained as a consultant while getting your first SAP exposure at the same time, and all you needed was a certification. That's not the case anymore.
To become an SAP consultant in today's market, you almost always need to have SAP implementation experience under your belt already. That means you've done a 2-4 year stint working in a hands-on capacity on a full-blown SAP project. Typically, this experience is acquired while being a full-time employee. On the functional side, product configuration skills are still important, as well as full life cycle experience throughout an implementation. On the Basis side, product installation and systems optimization is the key, and on the developer side, experience customizing SAP reports, making UI enhancements, and developing third party interfaces are examples of bread-and-butter skills. This type of experience, accumulated over years, forms the core of the SAP skill set.  Read more at erptips

Monday, October 8, 2012

Why is SAP bullish about 2012?

Earlier today, SAP firmed up on its pre-announced results for 2011, producing a comparatively bullish forecast for 2012. This should not surprise. SAP did a lot of the right things it needed to in 2011. In turn, that allows it to make bold statements at a time when economic forecasts are far from rosy.
What follows represents my interpretation of a conversation I had today with Jim Snabe, co-CEO SAP, a brief discussion with Hasso Plattner, co-founder and VIshal Sikka, executive board member plus assorted snippets of conversation with senior SAP policy makers over the last couple of days.
  1. 176,000 customers on business applications means SAP does not have to move the sales needle that much in order for an uptick to show in top line revenue.
  2. HANA, which is a big ticket software and services item is moving from hype to reality much more quickly than many of us thought. The introduction of modest (by SAP standards) solutions like COPA accelerator (financial reporting) on HANA will speed up (sic) sales to customers for whom HANA has been out of reach. The new revenue guidance suggests SAP is accelerating conversion, moving rapidly from 1:4/5 to more like 1:3.
  3. Despite continuing grumbles around the cost of maintenance, SAP has done a solid execution job in persuading customers that 22% is a price worth paying through incremental but perceived valuable add ons. That becomes less defensible absent fresh solutions past 2012-13. Even so, when you work the numbers, it becomes apparent SAP's maintenance stream represents a very long tail: like 10-11 years. It's a heck of a soft, fluffy cushion when seen as a 90-95% margin line item.
  4. Its ponderous foot slog towards mobile has turned out to be fortuitous. With Apple recording insanely good numbers, SAP's reach should mean it benefits hugely via the halo effect. I have never seen so many Apple devices being toted in enterprise. There are lots of question marks around execution and SAPs ability to get partners onboarded but SAP is not having too many problems developing a healthy pipeline. It will need to push hard in this area with developersduring 2012 to make that pipeline as fat as possible.
  5. The real shock is that some SIs are reporting heavy demand for new SAP implementations. That is as in major upgrades coming in at eye watering numbers - think $100 million. This is a short lived benefit for SAP because regardless of what the overall top line looks like, the core Business Suite trendline over time is down, not up. Not a problem in 2012 and 2013 but beyond?
  6. SAP is cautious about the impact of the SuccessFactors acquisition which is currently delayed for unspecified reasons but not connected to regulatory concerns. Flat in 2012 based upon SFSF 2011 numbers? That depends on when the deal is finally closed. We had expected the deal to close by now but the best they can say is 'Q1.' That has to blow SAP's cloud plans off course a wee bit but they have factored in for that very heavily. Downside yes, but tempered by conservative planning and forecasting.
  7. SAP has done a good job rebuilding goodwill with customers and, to a certain extent, developers although that last constituent could do with a good bit of love if SAP is to capitalise on its mobility and HANA potential.
What's not to like?
SAP's concentration on aggregated top line growth masks fundamental problems with keeping sales of the core apps moving along. Everyone knows that outside of the odd opportunistic deal or possible Oracle refugee, those deals are done. However, SAP also knows that if it is to have a credible future it needs to radically rethink business applications. That inevitably means cloud but how does it transition without giving the Street one heck of a fright? Here are two scenarios:
Read more 

Useful links - SAP Program, Training & Perspective - a SAP-Specific Portal for IT professionals focused on SAP. Site features include, Fast and focused search capabilities Links to relevant content, editorial insight and summaries, Daily industry news and weekly technology tips delivered via email.
Sams Teach Yourself ABAP/4 in 21 Days - free book
Antarcon - Free SAP & ABAP community

SAP Training - online training and learning material available
SAP University Alliance Links Introductory Course Lessons and Other Course Support

Downloading paper SAP documents

University of Texas Course - The University of Texas has one of the premier SAP courses, and has some of its course information on the web, including student projects.
SAP R/3 Redbooks - Here are several free books from IBM on SAP R/3
SAP Frequently Asked Questions
Frequentaly Asked Questions about SAP Business Workflow
SAP Resource Center

SAP Fans  SAP Fans site

SAP Repository page from
SAP Tips and Tricks
ITToolbox Portal for SAP
2 Free SAP Newsletters
More How-To SAP Books
Computer World Aritcle, "Cashing in on SAP skills isn't so easy"
SAP Professional Organization, has forum archives and links
SAP Help Portal, a great site for all SAP Documentation online for free

SAP Home Page  - Official home page of SAP
SAP Education - these courses cost money

ABAP Central  Information, help, source code, tutorials

 ABAP Reference  Online ABAP programming language reference

 Allen Davis & Associates  SAP Career Center - Tips & comments on SAP trends

 Bill's page  Bill Bradford's page (resources & consultants contact)

 Cambridge Publications  MIT - SAP Mailing list archives (search engine)

 CT-Softwareberatungs GmbH  Tools and Training in the field of standard
software R/3 & ABAP programming (tips & tricks, sample reports)

 Finnish User Group  SAP Finnish User Group

 Group of MM Consultants  Sap's MM module information and links

 Imre & Kinga Kabai's homepage  Helpful ABAP programs for system

 LOGOS Consulting  Experts in interface development using IDocs, ALE, RFC
and Desktop Integration

 PrimeStaff  IT & SAP Recruiting Specialists (resources & opportunities)

 RealTime-USA  SAP newsgroup archive and other services

 SAP Labs, Inc.  Sap's research and development teams

 Sap R/3 consultants network  SAP R/3 and ABAP4 Knowledge Server

 SAP Resource Centre  SAP related information, products, links.

 Sapiens  Melanie Kovarik SAP page (links and other references)

 Sapient es, Inc.  Specializing in the placement of ABAP/4 programmers

 SAPProJournal  Electronic version of SAP Professional Journal

 CIO.COM / ERP  ERP/Supply Chain Research Center

 SAP Info  Indian SAP Info site (Ramesh Kumar)

 Kabai's homepage  Imre & Kinga Kabai's homepage

 Siemens AG  SAP R/3 live & run (Siemens solutions)

 Siam-ease  Simmonds and Associates Product for SAP R/3

 SAP Club  SAP Club site

 SAP Resources  The specialist SAP recruiter service

 SAP Assist  IT Toolbox Portal for SAP

 HelpS@P  The Knowledge Resource for SAP Professionals

 Foro ABAP  Foro de discusiĆ³n sobre ABAP/4 en espaƱol

 SAPiT Consulting  Consulting firm specialized in SAP R/3

 SAR Consultants  Project implementation and specialist service

 Zoption  Third-party software for SAP R/3

 Phase Two Consulting  Consulting firm specialized in SAP R/3  Online information service for ABAP programmers

 ABAP Efficient  Efficiencie Guidelines

 German Intro  An Introduction to German for ABAP/4 Programmer  Alan Popes Website

 Wong  Matt Wong's SAP Basis Site

 ASUG  American SAP User's Group