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.