SAP BUSINESS SUITE SOFTWARE MODULES3Research paper on SAP Business Suite Software ModulesAbstract:Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems integrate (or attempt to integrate) all data and processes of an organization into a unified system. A typical ERP system will use multiplecomponents of computer software and hardware to achieve the integration. Today's ERP systemscan cover a wide range of functions and integrate them into one unified database ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. ERP is a way to integrate the data and processes of anorganization into one single system. Usually ERP systems will have many componentsincluding hardware and software, in order to achieve integration, most ERP systems use a unifieddatabase to store data for various functions found throughout the organization. The term ERPoriginally referred to how a large organization planned to use organizational wideresources. In the past, ERP systems were used in larger more industrial types of companies.However, the use of ERP has changed and is extremely comprehensive, today the term can refer to any type of company, no matter what industry it falls in. In fact, ERP systems are used inalmost any type of organization - large or small. In order for a software system to be consideredERP, it must provide an organization with functionality for two or more systems. While someERP packages exist that only cover two functions for an organization (QuickBooks: payroll &accounting), most ERP systems cover several functions. Today's ERP systems can cover a widerange of functions and integrate them into one unified database.
Strategy and Business Model
Research and Development
Research and development is the source of the discoveries that will shape the future for SAP and its customers. At SAP, research and development is a global effort that is highly collaborative, focused on customer value, and involves co-innovation with customers, partners, and academia.
Global Development, Local Focus
Our Products & Innovation organization is truly global, with the majority of development colleagues located in 14 SAP Labs locations in 12 countries (see graphic). SAP Labs are globally distributed, situated within major technology hubs where access to talent and the latest technology trends create an optimal setup for innovation.
SAP Labs locations in fast-growing markets strive to produce market-relevant solutions that complement SAP’s global product portfolio. In addition, they are structured in a manner that allows for close interaction with local stakeholders, including customers, partners, and universities. This strategy of distributed development, focusing on locations with talent availability, fostering diversity and access to new ideas, while also ensuring local market relevance, has proven highly successful for SAP.
To every technology and engineering challenge, SAP brings the strength and experience of a global development team. This helps ensure the rapid impact of research and development activities on our solution portfolio, and contributes to an ever-increasing pace of innovation.
With SAP Fiori applications, SAP continues to further renew and simplify the user experience for all our products. For example, SAP Fiori offers an intuitive end-to-end user experience for broadly and frequently used SAP software functions that work seamlessly across devices – desktop, tablet or smartphone.
New Industry Solutions
Across industries, we continue to look for opportunities to help our customers and partners expand their businesses by analyzing, evaluating, and co-innovating business processes. In 2013, for example, SAP brought its knowledge and experience to the sports and entertainment industry. Our solutions help sports teams, leagues, and venues run faster, smarter, and simpler. In addition, they are designed to deepen fan engagement, drive on-field performance, and optimize business efficiency.
A Culture of Customer Centricity, Empowerment, and Accountability
Today, SAP’s development is closely attuned to customers’ business environments, product landscapes, and users. In addition, we foster a development culture of customer centricity, empowerment, and accountability. We believe that our work impacts such factors as customer loyalty and employee engagement, and that those factors have significant relevance to our company’s financial performance.
Our design-led research and development methodology puts the customer and user at the center during the entire development process. This results in robust solutions to complex business challenges – solutions that are technically feasible, desirable to users, and viable to the business for both SAP and its customers.
Research and Development Expenditure
SAP’s strong commitment to research and development (R&D) is also reflected in our expenditures: In 2013, we increased our R&D expense (IFRS) slightly by €21 million, to €2,282 million (2012: €2,261 million). We spent 13.6% of total revenue on R&D in 2013 (2012: 13.9%). Our non-IFRS R&D expense as a portion of total operating expenses declined slightly from 19.2% to 19.0% year over year. While we continue to increase our innovative capacity, we increased our efficiency.
As a leader in enterprise applications, SAP actively seeks intellectual property protection for innovations and proprietary information. Our software innovations continue to strengthen our market position in enterprise solutions and services. Our investment in R&D has resulted in numerous patents. SAP holds a total of more than 5,500 validated patents worldwide. Of these, more than 700 were granted and validated in 2013.
While our intellectual property is important to our success, we believe our business as a whole is not dependent on any particular patent.
Research and development is only successful if it provides continuous improvement for existing products, while at the same time executing against promising new concepts that can help SAP enter new markets. And it must do so better and faster than our competition.
The following were among our 2013 R&D accomplishments:
In 2013, SAP made further investments in our next-generation in-memory platform, SAP HANA, as the foundation for all of our products, solutions, and services – so that our customers can run their businesses in real time. A rich and growing ecosystem of partners further drives the adoption of SAP HANA as an open platform, and a number of startup companies now deliver new and innovative applications built on the SAP HANA platform.
To further advance our leadership in the cloud, we continued to expand our portfolio of cloud-based applications. For example, customers that want to accelerate their transition to the real-time enterprise can now take advantage of our latest innovation in the cloud, SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA, which includes infrastructure, platform, and software as services in the cloud, incorporating the former SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud managed cloud services offering. Core elements include an elastic infrastructure, the in-memory platform, and services for deploying SAP or custom applications in real time.
SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA
Our highly engaged and diverse research and development teams are also working to improve SAP Business Suite by simplifying the end-to-end experience of using the applications while also optimizing performance. Combining SAP Business Suite with SAP HANA was a major milestone in 2013, enabling customers to make decisions in real time and gain unmatched visibility into business processes. In addition, the software helps customers unleash their full potential when it comes to meeting consumer and competitive demands through real-time access to data, real-time analytics, and unprecedented improvements in performance.
Adhering to our imperative of “SAP runs SAP,” SAP has led the way in the adoption of SAP Business Suite powered by SAP HANA by going live internally with SAP CRM and SAP ERP applications now running on SAP HANA in 2013.
At the end of 2013, our total full-time equivalent (FTE) count in development work was 17,804 (2012: 18,012). Measured in FTEs, our R&D headcount was 27% of total headcount (2012: 28%). Total R&D expense includes not only our own personnel costs but also the external cost of works and services from the providers and cooperation partners we work with to deliver and enhance our products. We also incur external costs for translating, localizing, and testing products, for obtaining certification for them in different markets, patent attorney services and fees, strategy consulting, and the professional development of our R&D workforce.