Since last decade, the term ERP has become synonymous to SAP. Such is the reputation ofthis German software, which has become a market leader in the ERP IT platform. While Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR), as a concept led to ERP, companies have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to re-engineer and reinvent themselves by investing in ERP, read SAP.
Set toconnect the functional areas of the business seamlessly viz., Production,Procurement, Sales, Distribution, Plant, Finance, Costing, Quality, HumanResources, Reporting, it is one software utility spread across the geographicallocations of the company. Gone are the days where maintenance of systems wereseen as cumbersome, redundant and often causing unnecessary bottlenecks, SAP boasts of robust architecture and a high degree of standardization. Known asthe ‘darling of top management’, it aims to provide the critical information at finger-tips.
No wonder SAP has replaced the legacy mainframe and client server applicationsin most of the fortune 500 companies. In particular, the manufacturing companieshave embraced SAP with both hands as it effectively integrates the supply chain,record-to-report, human resources and production planning functions, which forms the backbone of any industry.
Its latest offerings such as CRM, Exchange Infrastructure, HANA have added a lot of value to the companies that already run on SAP. The acquisitions of Sybase,BO havebeen noteworthy additions. The BO/HANA data warehousing models have helpedclients to manage and articulate their data more efficiently.
SAP System Architecture
The SAP System Architecture follows a three tier architecture containing Presentation, Application and a database layer. Each of these layers has its own software component. With this setup, the overall system can be distributed among a range of computers. A common configuration includes where in the database and the application server run concurrently in a single large computer. All the other application servers run on their computers.
It’s made up of three layers: Presentation layer, Application Layer & Database Layer.
This is the view you see when you login into SAP from your computer. This is presentation layer that has been generated. The SAP GUI Software components ensure that the SAP system user interface is shown and that the user’s actions are passed to the application server for further processing.
The application layer is the one where the entire work is carried out. All your actions are processed at this place. This software component can have one or more than one based on the requirements and the processing needs of each and every organization.Application server is where the dispatcher distributes the work load to the different work processeslike dialog work process, background work process, spool work process, update work process, and enqueuework processand gets the job done.
Each SAP System Architecture will have a central database in which the entire data is stored. Everything, like the customer records, programs, just about anything which needs to be stored is maintained at this level.
In a nutshell, any actions you do on the presentation layer is passed to the application layer for processing which would retrieve any relevant data from the database layer and the application layer processes the data and presents it to you via the presentation layer.
In the latest ECC releases, SAP prides itself in extrapolating the architecture to a web portal design named as Net weaver or Exchange Infrastructure. With HANA, BO, BW, CRM in its repertoire, SAP has come a long way compared to its nearest competitor, in terms of the range and depth of its offerings, in the ERP market space.
- Sales and Distribution
- Material Management
- Finance and Controlling
- Plant Maintenance
- Production Planning