SAP ERP is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software application made by the German company SAP. ERPs are usually implemented in many different departments, and can manage all aspects of a complex business environment, such as manufacturing.
SAP ERP is part of the SAP Business Suite. Its four components include Financials, Human Capital Management, Corporate Services and Operations. These components can work together as an end-to-end solution and manage an entire company.
Because one application can manage an entire business, ERPs can create a more efficient work environment and reduce warehouse and inventory costs. Additionally, management can get a real-time global view of a business and can react quickly to market changes and challenges.
ERPs are usually difficult to implement and have a high risk of failure. Also, they are inflexible and expensive to customize, and if the implementation is unsatisfactory, it is difficult and expensive to change vendors.
BAAN, JD Edwards, Oracle, Siebel and PeopleSoft are a few of the major SAP ERP competitors.
The current version is SAP Business Suite 6. SAP Business Suite 7 is tentatively scheduled for release in May 2009.