What Is SAP? (How To Use SAP ERP Software in the Workplace)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 31, 2022 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated May 31, 2022

Published February 4, 2020

Developing SAP skills can help prepare you for your next position at a company that utilizes the enterprise resource planning software in their business operations. Understanding how to use SAP as it relates to your industry can help you get a new job, or earn a promotion to a leadership role.

In this article, we discuss what SAP is, why companies use it, how to increase your SAP skills and how SAP ERP is used in the workplace.

What is SAP?

SAP, or Systems Applications and Products, is a widely-used enterprise resource planning (ERP) software SAP creates a centralized system for businesses that enables every department to access and share common data to create a better work environment for every employee in the company. SAP is the most-used ERP software on the market and contains hundreds of fully integrated modules that cover nearly every aspect of business management.

What is ERP?

Enterprise resource planning, known as ERP, is a software application system that allows businesses to manage their primary business functions in one place. Sales, marketing, procurement, human resources and other departments have the ability to communicate and plan with one another through an ERP. SAP is a software solution that falls under the ERP umbrella.

Read more: A Guide To Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

What does SAP do and why is it important?

SAP collects and processes data from all functions in a business on one platform. SAP is essential for many businesses because it allows every department to communicate with each other easily. The success of any organization relies on effective communication and data exchange between its functions, and SAP is an effective way to support those efforts.

Related: What Is an SAP Developer? (And How To Become One)

What are SAP skills?

Developing SAP skills can make you a competitive candidate if you’re applying at companies that use enterprise resource planning software. Experience and proficiency with SAP may even be a requirement for some roles. Here are several common SAP skills:

  • Utilizing transactions Being able to use transactions and input data into the SAP software can give you an advantage when applying for a job that requires you to be able to manage sales.

  • Reporting Understanding how to execute reports can provide data that you, your manager or another department might need.

  • Accounting Knowing how to use the accounting modules within the SAP software can give you an advantage in a finance or accounting job but can also be beneficial to any employee working in the accounting department of a company.

  • Recruiting Understanding the recruiting modules of SAP software can help human resource professionals better manage applicants and potential employees.

  • Management There are a variety of management modules within SAP, including customer management, project management, warehouse management, transportation management and inventory management. Gaining skills in management systems can give you an advantage when applying for a management position.

  • Communication One of the most important aspects of SAP software is the ability to communicate with other departments to keep a company running smoothly. Being able to show a recruiter or interviewer your understanding of communication among departments using SAP software can give you an advantage over other applicants at any job.

Related: The Best Job Skills to Make Your Resume Stand Out

SAP training and certification

If you want to equip yourself with SAP skills and add an extra achievement on your resume, consider SAP training and certification. SAP offers training among all of its modules and provides more than a hundred SAP certifications based on what skills you want to have full competency in. Many SAP training modules are free, as well as many more that you can pay for. SAP certification does cost money for each certification exam you apply for, so start with the certification that relates the closest to your potential position. Here are a few of the SAP certifications you can achieve:

  • Project management

  • Spend analysis

  • Integrated business planning

  • Finance implementation

  • Manufacturing implementation

  • Sales implementation

  • Modeling and data management

  • Management accounting

  • Financial accounting

  • Commerce

  • System security architect

Read more: SAP Training Course: Fundamentals, Levels and Benefits

SAP in the workplace

Many companies around the world use SAP, so understanding how to use SAP software can give you an advantage when applying for jobs or seeking a promotion within the company you work for. Here are a few popular industries and positions where you would use SAP software and the modules and capabilities of each:

  • Human resources management

  • Project management

  • Warehouse management

  • Customer relationship management

  • Finance management and accounting

Human resources management

SAP provides human resources managers with every tool they need to maintain a capable HR department. HR professionals can record every piece of data about an employee from application to termination. Here are some of the human resources sub-modules:

  1. Organization management: This module allows HR professionals to create plans for workflow management.

  2. Personnel administration: This module performs the administrative task of recording essential employee information, including hire date, personnel data, payroll accounting and more.

  3. Personnel development: This module qualifies employees and helps an HR manager reduce employee turnover and develop employees to increase their skills and productivity.

  4. Time management: This module gives the HR department relevant information about each employee's attendance, shifts, schedules and absence.

  5. Payroll: This module displays information about and processes payments relating to employee wages, benefits and taxes.

Related: Human Resources: Definition and How it Works

Project management

SAP provides project managers with every tool they need to manage projects from initiation to closure. Here are some of the project management sub-modules.

  1. Project initiation: The initiation module includes everything related to the setup and launch of a project, including project definition, work breakdown structure, network activities, milestones and project creation.

  2. Project planning: The planning modules include cost planning, revenue planning, material planning, capacity planning, workforce planning and scheduling.

  3. Project execution: The execution module includes everything related to the monitoring and implementation of a project, including goods receipt, goods issue, timesheet entry, service entry, billing, confirmations and progress analysis.

  4. Project closure: The closure module includes information and data that relate to period-end closing and project closing.

Related: Understanding the Project Management Processes and Phases

Warehouse management

SAP equips warehouse managers with everything they need to manage a successful warehouse. Here are some of the extended warehouse management capabilities:

  1. Inbound processing management The SAP extended warehouse management module makes inbound processing straightforward with data validation for shipping notifications, acceptance of production receipts and optimized receipt processing.

  2. Outbound processing management The outbound processes module gives warehouse managers the functionality to schedule packing and shipping activities, select stock according to attributes and augmented reality picking features.

  3. Storage and operations management The storage module gives warehouse managers complete control of the internal process, including cycle counting and physical inventory, stock visibility and handling equipment status.

  4. Cross-functional management features
    The extended warehouse management module includes other cross-functional features, such as batch management, serial number management, dock appointment scheduling, traceability processing and cross-functional analytics.

Related: Warehouse Inventory Management System: Definition and Benefits

Customer relationship management

SAP provides a customer relationship management system that allows CRM professionals to automate and integrate every customer activity, including sales, marketing, customer service and commerce. Here are some functionalities of the customer relationship management module:

  1. Sales CRM
    The sales CRM system provides a better experience for customers by including features like sales strategy content recommendations, AI-powered guided selling, individualized quotes, sales negotiation workspaces, real-time quota and plan modeling, dispute resolution management platforms and revenue, billing and invoice management.

  2. Marketing CRM
    The marketing CRM system gives marketing professionals the advantage by including features like unified customer profile access, customer behavior insights, seamless customer experience creation, marketing campaign management, team collaboration, multi-dimensional analysis and customer identification and targeting.

  3. Customer service CRM
    The customer service CRM system provides customer service representatives and managers with the tools they need to deliver exceptional customer service. Some of the features include customer insights, service interaction history, issue diagnosis optimization, on-demand network connection, AI-assisted conversations and conversation transferring.

  4. Commerce CRM
    The commerce CRM system gives employees a comprehensive experience with many commerce processes, including order management, component integration, industry-specific capabilities, transparent commerce processes and platform extension.

Related: 7 Ways to Use Customer Relationship Management

Finance management and accounting

SAP provides a comprehensive suite of financial management and accounting systems that give companies the tools they need to keep track of their finances. Here are a few of the finance management systems:

  1. Financial planning and analysis: This system helps finance professionals with strategic planning, forecasting, budgeting, performance management, analytics and reporting.

  2. Accounting and tax management: This system assists professionals with financial accounting and reconciliation, reporting, disclosure, regulation compliance and closing process accounting.

  3. Treasury and cash management: This system includes features like corporate treasury management, cash management, cash flow forecasting, debt management, risk management and investment management.

  4. Accounts payable and receivable: This system provides modules that assist with credit evaluation, risk management, collections, dispute management, billing and invoice management.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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