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Are you a SAP beginner searching for information that can help you understand the basic concepts?…

When an individual asks, “What is SAP?”, there is a certain amount of expectation that goes into it and normally it is just first of the series of forthcoming questions. The level of expectation depends upon one’s background.

Are you someone who has been told about SAP and that it’s an ERP software highly in demand and makes a good career option.

Or are you are a professional working in a company running on SAP which is using several SAP offerings, you may be having an idea about “What SAP is”.

Whatever be the case, we will slowly start with the basics and build our understanding more and more upon this foundation.

SAP stands for

The original name for SAP was German: Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte, German for “Systems Applications and Products.” The original SAP idea was to provide customers with the ability to interact with a common corporate database for a comprehensive range of applications.

SAP Background

Five former IBM employees in Mannheim, Germany, states, founded SAP in 1972.  It is the world’s largest inter-enterprise software company and the world’s fourth-largest independent software supplier, overall. SAP launched its financial accounting software product in 1973. It focuses on Real-time data processing.  After a few years SAP named it – R/1 where R stands for real-time and the number 1 referred to single layer of software – database, application software and presentation running on a single system.

Storing and retrieving information is the responsibility of the database layer. The application software layer has the SAP applications running for carrying out business operations. The programs running in the application software layer are stored in the database and when the SAP system is started first time, it loads from the database. The presentation layer offers the user interface capabilities and allows the users to work with the SAP system.

Computer industry at that time was in its infancy stage and only the big companies had mainframe computers. R/1 and R/2 belong to the mainframe era.

With the further advancement of personal computers (PCs), SAP R/3 came on the scene and received huge response. It was possible to implement three layers of software i.e. Database, Application and Presentation on different computer systems with SAP R3. It helped in attaining great system performance.

SAP applications built around their latest R/3 system provide the capability to manage financial, asset, and cost accounting, production operations and materials, personnel, plants, and archived documents. The R/3 system runs on a number of platforms including Windows 2000 and uses the client/server model. The latest version of R/3 includes a comprehensive Internet-enabled package.

SAP has recently recast its product offerings under a comprehensive Web interface, called mySAP.com, and added new e-business applications, including Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Supply Chain Management (SCM).

As of January 2007, SAP, a publicly traded company, had over 38,4000 employees in over 50 countries, and more than 36,200 customers around the world. SAP is turning its attention to small- and-medium sized businesses (SMB). A recent R/3 version was provided for IBM’s AS/400 platform.