Anyone buying a new car today usually expects air-conditioning, airbag and ABS as standard. 10 or 20 years ago, car-buyers were satisfied with much more simply equipped vehicles. However, technical advances have led to increased customer expectations.
The same is true for expectations on enterprise software. In addition to supporting tasks in the finance, HR or logistics areas, it should also add value and convenience. Discussions with SAP R/3 customers, for example, revealed that many businesses no longer want to forego the advantages of SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP BW) and SAP Enterprise Portal. These companies have, for example, implemented SAP BW as a complement to SAP R/3, or are considering such a step, in order to create more effective ERP processes.
Complete package for Enterprise Resource Planning
SAP has responded to this trend and since March 2003 has been offering a solution to meet the increased requirements in ERP in the form of mySAP ERP. mySAP ERP is the logical further development of SAP R/3, and bundles various components from the SAP portfolio which SAP R/3 customers have had to license singly up till now. Apart from SAP R/3 Enterprise they receive other components including SAP Strategic Enterprise Management (SAP SEM), Employee Self-Services (ESS), Manager Self-Services, Self-Service Procurement, SAP E-Recruitment, SAP Learning Solution and SAP Financial Supply Chain Management. The solution is delivered with the SAP NetWeaver technology platform, thereby also providing users with technical components such as SAP BW, SAP Exchange Infrastructure (SAP XI) and SAP Enterprise Portal – all components of SAP NetWeaver.
The first step to the comprehensive business solution
Part of the mySAP Business Suite, mySAP ERP takes its place alongside solutions like mySAP Customer Relationship Management, mySAP Supply Chain Management and mySAP Supplier Relationship Management. When businesses are looking for extensive ERP functionality, but don’t need the full scope of the mySAP Business Suite, mySAP ERP is an ideal alternative. If an enterprise finds its requirements growing beyond the classical sphere of ERP, it can combine mySAP ERP with another mySAP solution. If tasks become even more extensive, the enterprise can either connect several mySAP solutions or upgrade to the mySAP Business Suite. mySAP ERP is thus a first step into the world of comprehensive business solutions and safeguards IT investments against the backdrop of ever spiraling requirements.
mySAP ERP brings added value to enterprises on several levels. On the one hand, they obtain the convenience of a complete ERP package without having to select the necessary components individually. On the other, mySAP ERP doesn’t just target specialized users in certain departments, but rather involves all staff through Employee Self-Services. For instance, a warehouse operative, who has not had any contact with enterprise software in the past, can enter vacation requests directly into the system, removing the need for the HR department to do this. In addition, mySAP ERP includes analysis and reporting functions, corporate services such as travel management and real estate management, and Internet sales functionality. Further added value is provided by the SAP NetWeaver platform, which integrates people, information, processes and applications.
New heart enhances ease-of-use
A new dimension will open up for mySAP ERP users from mid-2004, when SAP extends the solution with the new SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC), which will initially be delivered to selected customers in the ramp-up phase. SAP ECC replaces SAP R/3 Enterprise at the heart of mySAP ERP, allying numerous innovations with tried-and-tested technology. Especially in focus are improvements in the area of usability, which, in combination with SAP NetWeaver, create extensive possibilities for users. Since all new functions are fundamentally integrated with SAP NetWeaver – integration of existing functions is proceeding step-by-step – these make full use of the SAP Enterprise Portal technology. This ensures simplified access to the ERP software for users. Based on predefined roles, users retain a constant overview of information that is relevant to them, and can reach all the functions that support them in their work with a single mouse-click. At the same time, they can directly access self-services such as “vacation request” and documents which they are authorized to access within the scope of content management.
Reduced operating costs are a further benefit of SAP ECC. In future it will be possible to merge SAP components that are today run separately. That’s why as early as mid-2004 SAP ECC will be offering the option to run SAP BW and SAP SEM in the same instance. In addition, the SAP Internet Transaction Server (SAP ITS) – with the exception of the “Flow-Logic” functionality – will be integrated into SAP ECC. Reducing costs is set to play a key role in the further development of SAP ECC and mySAP ERP.
Besides new functions such as General Ledger Accounting (GL), which enables balance sheets to be produced in accordance with International Accounting Standards (IAS), SAP ECC also includes tried-and-tested developments from SAP R/3 Enterprise. Among other things the architecture, as with SAP R/3 Enterprise, is divided into SAP ECC Core, SAP ECC Extension Sets and SAP Web Application Server (SAP Web AS). This division simplifies upgrades and reduces the work involved reconciling modifications. However, there is no time-pressure on users to upgrade to SAP ECC, since SAP R/3 Enterprise will be supported until 2009. The ramp-up for SAP ECC starts in June 2004, and it’s foreseen the component will be generally available at the end of 2004.
Transition versus upgrade
SAP terms the changeover to mySAP ERP a transition because it combines upgrade, implementation and license conversion. All three can be – but do not have to be – important aspects of the process. Since mySAP ERP bundles numerous components from the SAP portfolio, there are several ways to the desired goal. Decisions must be based on the actual circumstances prevailing in the enterprise, considering such factors as the release status of SAP R/3, whether parts of mySAP ERP, like SAP SEM or SAP BW, have already been implemented, and what type of license the customer currently has.
Customers with an existing SAP R/3 license can for example use the SAP R/3 4.0 release. This customer is mainly interested in the benefits of SAP Enterprise Portal, but also considers the possibility of integrating self-services into the portal at a later stage. The example customer first has to convert their license type to mySAP ERP in order to receive the necessary components. At this point he can also upgrade to SAP R/3 Enterprise or, as soon as it is available, to SAP ECC 5.00. Since SAP is providing a maintenance period extension for SAP R/3, the enterprise has plenty of time to decide. (More information on this can be found in the SAP Marketplace under “Maintenance”.) After converting their license, the customer implements SAP Enterprise Portal and integrates the self-services with the portal at a later point in time.
Another enterprise may opt for a different transition path. It owns a mySAP Business Suite license and uses SAP R/3 Enterprise. In the future the enterprise particularly wants to benefit from the functions offered by SAP BW and SAP SEM. In this case it is enough in the first instance to implement SAP BW and SAP SEM. An upgrade to SAP ECC 5.00 becomes interesting if the enterprise wants to reduce costs by running SAP BW and SAP SEM in the same instance. A mySAP license is always required for converting to SAP ECC. For customers with a license for mySAP Business Suite, nothing changes. Existing SAP R/3 licensed customers can convert to a mySAP ERP or a mySAP Business Suite license.