SAP at a Bird's Eye View
Todd Bellamy | TrustRadius Reviewer
December 12, 2014

SAP at a Bird's Eye View

Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

ECC 6

Modules Used

  • SAP ERP Financials
  • Materials Management
  • Procurement

Overall Satisfaction with SAP ERP

SAP was used across the organization to streamline business processes. SAP was able to provide multiple modules that replaced various, stand-alone systems providing easier access to information and removing the need for costly and time consuming data integration. SAP's use across the organization meant that cross training employees across multiple sites became far easier and reduced the management and training costs associated with the previously disparate systems.
  • One of my favorite things about SAP was the data integrity. Because of how easily the various modules tied together there was much less room for error.
  • Integration. The various modules that SAP has work seamlessly when configured correctly. SAP has a module for what seems like everything from manufacturing processes to Maintenance to Sales Forecasting and more.
  • Change Migration. Moving changes from a development, to testing, to production is very easy via SAP transports. Also refreshing DEV and QA environments from production can be accomplished easily.
  • Customization inside of SAP requires rigorous testing and specialty knowledge of ABAP to perform unique functions.
  • SAP is not cheap. The cost of SAP can be prohibitive to smaller companies looking for an ERP solution.
  • Almost all of the table names and abbreviations inside of the SAP database structure are in German which makes BI reporting and data analysis difficult for non-German programmers and analysts.
  • SAP allows for much faster decision making because the information in the system is in real time. There is much less time spent gathering data from desperate locations.
  • The cost in training and support becomes much lower when using SAP vs multiple other systems. Users from one location to another follow the same process and steps to complete their daily job functions and can reach out to each other for help and support.
  • Interface reductions. Having SAP as a single source ERP solution reduces the IT costs associated with managing multiple data sources and dealing with interface errors when they occur.
  • Oracle eBusiness Suite,Infor ERP
There are many competitors in the ERP marketplace. Large organizations that would benefit from SAP would also want to take a close look at Oracle Enterprise Solutions for financial and procurement tools. Oracle eBusiness gives great flexibility in the customization department and also allows for faster implementation, yet doesn't have all the modules that SAP does.

Infor is another great competitor in the ERP marketplace with tools like the Advanced Planning module that makes forecasting demand much easier and more configurable than the offers by SAP.

The cost of SAP as an ERP is quite high and the switching costs associated with ERP systems are even higher. That being said moving from one ERP to another only happens once in a great while for large organizations. Those switching costs include retraining, IT hardware requirements, outside consultants and more.
SAP is great for large organizations looking to streamline their business processes. To get the most out of SAP's capabilities you would ideally be a large company with over 200 regular users spread across multiple sites. Also SAP works very well when dealing across multiple countries and managing multiple currencies. SAP would be less appropriate for companies where the head count was much smaller, lets say 100 users, and a single or maybe two locations were present. Also a highly customized environment with specialty processes may not be a best fit for SAP. Large manufacturing operations, in my opinion, are the best fit customers for SAP, think FORD, BURTON, SYSCO and so on.

Using SAP ERP

The process manufacturing side of the business was well represented in our SAP user group. This included folks from maintenance, accounting, planning, forecasting, shipping, and sales. Each of these departments worked together within SAP to meet customer demands. The modules used included SAP Materials Management, Sales and Marketing, Procurement, SAP Financials and more. Accounting and the financials required the greatest amount of resources.
The team included folks from IT as well as business subject matter experts. There were associates from the help desk who would handle everyday support concerns and SAP GUI installations. There was a team of database administrators and a team of development experts that included both ABAP programmers for customization efforts and analyst who handled configuration of the product including storage locations, training and more. A team of master data experts was also setup to keep the key information concerning company data accurate.
  • MRP was a huge piece of the implementation. Products were created for customer orders would have to be filled very quickly and communicating that need with suppliers, was just as important. MRP and automatic PO creation and delivery reduced process time and overhead.
  • The time to close financials for each month before implementing SAP would take almost to the middle of the next month, but after implementation we were able to reduce that time to one week.
  • We were able to reduce overhead by eliminating support positions for procurement and other departments, by automating systems.
  • There was a significant IT investment in integration hardware and software which was eliminated by use of SAP's integrated modules.
  • We were able to configure the PO email transactions to the vendors with dynamic values to support the routing of POs to the correct distribution centers on the vendors side. We provided the ship to information data in the body of the email, which the vendor could automatically read and forward the email to the correct recipients location.
  • We were able to gain greater control over master data by implementing the single system ERP methodology.
  • The SAP ERP was able to comminucate directly through EDI with some of our customers to improve customer performance and accuracy in fulfillment.
  • SAP is expanding its list of modules into business functions that are unique to our industry. This makes them the prime choice for further ERP reviews.
  • Having the core financials module in SAP configured the same across multiple locations make setting up a new location in the future far easier.
  • We hope to expand our EDI with customers in the hopes of reducing data errors and improving the turn around time on customer orders.

Evaluating SAP ERP and Competitors

Yes - We implemented SAP to replace an outdated mainframe systems that was built in-house but the organization has out grown in terms of size, both geographically and monetarily. The new requirements required integration with resources that existed outside of the mainframe, across the web with customers and suppliers. The mainframe was built without that in mind. Today we are more poised for growth and much more agile in responding to our customer's needs.
  • Price
  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
Product features were the most important factor in deciding what ERP to go with. SAP had a module for 95% of the business functions that are business required. Having all that information in a single system with the features that made the function far faster and easier was paramount in the decision making process.
I would have included ground floor users earlier on in the decision making process for the ERP. The folks that will use the system on a day in and day out basis making the recommendations for functionality would have been helpful. The end users were included on the process As-Is definition but not so much on the required features part of the evaluation for us.