When it comes to my blog and the YouTube channel, the majority of my audience are students. They are either early in the process of learning SAP or have basic knowledge about SAP and are looking to expand on it.
Either way, I receive a lot of questions about some of the basic aspects of SAP. So I thought I will write a blog about it.
Whenever I want to teach someone about SAP, I start with the below five aspects which I consider to be important and at the same time covers pretty much all the basics that will help them kickstart their SAP career.
- Overview of SAP
- Products offered by SAP
- Types of jobs in SAP
- How can you learn SAP
- Free trials offered by SAP
Let’s get started with an overview of SAP
- SAP stands for Systems, Applications & Products in data processing
- It is the third-biggest software company in the world after Microsoft and Oracle (please don’t confuse software companies with technology companies)
- It was founded by five ex-IBM employees. They were working on an enterprise resource planning software project only to be told by IBM that it’s no longer required. So, rather than abandoning the project, they decided to leave IBM and start a company on their own called S.A.P.
- Christian Klein is the CEO and member of the Executive Board of SAP
- As of 2020, SAP’s revenue was 27 Billion Euros
- They employ 100,000 people in more than 130 countries including 20 SAP Labs, which are development centres
- SAP serves 440,000 customers in 180 countries around the world and has a market share of 22% of the global ERP market, while Oracle, which is their closest rival in this space has a market share of 11%.
- Some of the stats about SAP helps us to realise how crucial they are when it comes to running big organisations around the world. SAP claims, 77% of all business transactions worldwide touch an SAP system. For example, SAP’s customers produce 78% of the world’s food products and 82% of the world’s medical devices. Some of the world’s biggest and successful organisations such as Microsoft, Apple, Walmart, Nestle, Coca-Cola, DHL, Airbus, BMW, Reliance, and many such huge conglomerates run SAP to perform their day to day operations.
Now let’s move on to the type of products that are offered by SAP
SAP offers so many different types of products. Some of them are developed by themselves over the years and some of them were acquired from other companies.
You can find the list of all the products they offer in the following link https://www.sap.com/australia/products-a-z.html
I am not going to talk about each and every product in this blog as it is impossible to do so but let’s take a look at the five most commonly used business processes by an organisation and what type of SAP products are available to cover those five business process.
- ERP & Finance – It covers all the required software to run an enterprise.
- SAP S/4HANA
- Accounting & Financial Close
- Treasury Management
- Accounts receivables, billing & revenue management
- Governance, risk, compliance and cybersecurity
I have made a video about S/4HANA on my YouTube channel before if you are interested in learning more about it
- CRM & Customer Experience – This category consists of software that can be used to provide support and manage customer experience
- Customer data cloud
- Marketing cloud
- Commerce cloud
- Sales cloud
- Service cloud
All the above-mentioned products fall into the category called SAP C4HANA. I have made a video about it on my YouTube channel as well if you are interested in learning more about C4HANA
- The third business process is spend management – Spend management is basically about managing all the expenses of a company. A company spends money on various things and SAP offers different types of products or functionalities that can be used to manage these various aspects where a company spends its money on.
- Supplier management
- Souricing & contracts
- Invoices & payments
- External workforce & services
- Travel & expenses
- The fourth business process is Supply Chain Management or SCM in short. I have previously made a video about SCM. It is one of the most famous videos on my YouTube channel. It has got some great feedback so check it out if you are interested in learning more about SAP SCM. It basically contains products that help manage the end to end supply chain of an organisation
- Supply chain planning
- Supply chain logistics
- Product lifecycle management
- Enterprise asset management
- Transport management
- Extended warehouse management
- The fifth business process is Human Capital Management. It is all about managing employee operations, enabling and improving them.
- Employee experience management
- HR & Payroll
- Talent management
- HR analytics and workforce planning
These are the five main business processes and the products associated with them that are widely used by organisations.
On top of these products, another important category of products we should remember is the Business Technology Platform.
It is the glue that enables the integration between all these multiple products and offers a seamless end-to-end business operation for the organisations.
- Database & data management
- Application development & integration
- Intelligent technologies
Types of jobs SAP jobs
There are different types of roles available in the SAP ecosystems. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most common ones.
- End-user – An end-user is someone who specialises in a particular business process area like finance, procurement, sales, marketing and uses the SAP software on a day-to-day basis to perform their day job. For example, you could be a finance officer in a company. Your responsibilities in the job would include things like processing invoices, preparing balance sheets, managing records & receipts, reconciling daily, monthly and yearly transactions and much more. In order to perform these activities, as an end-user, you will use SAP’s ECC or S/4HANA product. More specifically, you will be using the FICO module within SAP ECC or the S/4HANA system. Being an end-user is a great way to learn SAP. Especially if you are just starting out your career.
- Functional consultant – A functional consultant is someone who configures the SAP system as per the company’s requirements. All SAP systems must be configured before they can be used productively. Configuring an SAP system involves activities like creating master data, setting up rules and business process flows. Additional activities of a functional consultant would involve writing functional and technical specs, performing testing, providing support and training end-users. If you are already an end-user of an SAP system, becoming a functional consultant can be the next logical step forward.
- Technical consultant – A technical consultant is someone who installs, upgrades, integrates, maintain and operate SAP systems from a technical perspective. They are also used to be called Basis consultants. Technical SAP consultants should have sound knowledge of operating systems, databases, networks, servers, and SAP technical settings.
- Developer – If you are good at programming then you can become an SAP developer by learning the ABAP programming language. ABAP is SAP’s native programming language in which all SAP’s on-premise systems are developed. SAP also uses a variety of other programming languages like JAVA, HTML5, mobile development languages, using which you can build applications that can be integrated with SAP products on the SAP Business Technology Platform.
- Other roles – On top of the above-mentioned roles, there are so many other types of SAP roles available such as testers, test managers, security consultants, business architects, solution architects, project managers, trainers and support personnel.
The type of role you choose should depend on the type of education/skills/experience you already possess or planning to pursue.
Talking about training, now let’s take a look at the various ways through which you can learn SAP.
How can you learn SAP?
One thing a lot of people ask is how to learn SAP or what type of SAP course should I do?
I would start with a typical answer of “It depends”. It frustrates a lot of people, but to be honest, SAP is a vast subject. It contains hundreds of different types of products and thousands of submodules within them. It is really hard to suggest just one course or product in SAP that you should learn.
My recommendation is always to ask yourself the question of what exactly is your interest? Are you good at Finance, or do you like supply chain management, or do you like marketing, sales or are you a technical person who likes to work with networks, servers and databases?
Or are you someone who got no idea what you actually like? Then you got some research to do in order to understand what you might be actually interested in before pursuing that area.
Once you have decided on your area, you can use the below-mentioned resources to start learning.
- Open SAP courses – open.sap.com is a free online academy established by SAP. They conduct online tutorials on various topics related to SAP products and business processes. Their courses are designed in a way to suit everyone from a beginner to an experienced professional. You also get an opportunity to take part in an online exam and receive a certificate once you pass it.
- SAP.com – Now this might look pretty straight forward but a lot of people are not aware that SAP’s website has got a lot of information about each and every product they offer. The following link contains a list of all SAP products arranged in alphabetical order. https://www.sap.com/products-a-z.html Click on the product that you are interested in and you will find information like key benefits, capabilities and that particular product’s brochure.
- SAP Help Portal – SAP Help Portal is the place where you can find product documentation, learning journeys and much more. Product documentation is free and can be accessed by anyone but in order to consume the learning journeys, you will require a learning hub subscription. I have provided more info about the Learning Hub in the below section.
- SAP Communities – As the name implies, it is an online community for all topics related to SAP. It has more than 3 Million users. They have posted more than a hundred and thirty thousand blogs and the community has collectively answered more than one million questions. On top of this, it contains webinars, tutorials and invitations for upcoming SAP events. It is free for anyone to register.
- YouTube videos & Blogs – There are plenty of YouTube channels and blogs that you can make use of to learn about SAP and its products. SAP themselves have got some YouTube channels where they make content specifically for students. The channel names are SAP, SAP TV, SAP Technology, SAP Developers, SAP HANA Academy, Service & Support SAP, SAP Ariba, SAP FieldGlass and many more. On top of this, of course, there are so many other YouTube channels and blogs created by individuals like me who provide learning content. These are all free and I always recommend students to start learning using freely available content first before paying money for any type of course or tutorials.
- SAP Learning Hub – SAP Learning Hub offers online learning content that can be used to prepare for SAP certification exams. The learning journeys are tailored specifically to your role and learning goals, so it is suitable for everyone irrespective of whether you are a student or an experienced professional. As I mentioned before, you need to subscribe to one of the learning hub editions in order to access it. The different types of editions are discovery edition which is free for 14days, professional edition, solution edition, business edition and student edition.
- SAP Training & Certification Shop – This is the SAP official training and certification centre. SAP offers training and certification exams both online and in person. SAP official training and certifications have got a great reputation worldwide. My recommended path is to learn as much as you can using the freely availably resources first. Choose an area of SAP where you would like to further pursue. Then subscribe to one of the learning hub subscriptions to enrol in a proper SAP course before doing the certification in that chosen area.
- SAP Books – There are hundreds of books about SAP that are published by both SAP themselves and as well as reputed consultants/subject matter experts around the world. Once again, before purchasing any book, choose an area you would like to concentrate in, then learn as much as possible in that area using the freely available resources before purchasing any books. SAP also has got an official publication partner called SAP Press. It contains a variety of books starting from the introduction to deep diving into many of the complex SAP topics.
Finally, free SAP trials
Theoretical learning is good but there is no replacement for practical experience. Especially when you are a student and looking to get some hands-on experience. When you register for any SAP course using the above-mentioned SAP training and certification shop, you will receive free access to the respective SAP software that you are learning about.
Additionally, SAP offers free trials for pretty much all of their software. For some, they offer a 14-day trial and for some, they offer a three month trial period. If it is on-premise software, you can download and install it on a small server or a powerful laptop/desktop. If it is a cloud-based software like Ariba, SuccessFactors, then you can just access them using your internet browser.
You can learn more about SAP free trials by clicking the link here
Hopefully, this gives you enough information about some of the most important elements when it comes to getting started with SAP.
If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below.