Industry: What does "SAP" mean?

Several advertised positions in industry require SAP, such as a SAP technician, for one. What does “SAP” stand for? For example, what would a SAP technician be doing?

I know the old saying: “If you have to ask…”, but please share with me…

  • Jinx

Go and look at

Work out the answer, then come back and post it here. :slight_smile:

SAP is a provider of software that helps complicated businesses keep track of huge numbers of things.

Example: Boeing, because of FAA regulations, must know the origin of every rivit, every wire, every button, etc. on every one of the planes it’s constructing and every plane it’s ever delivered. It must be able to conjure up the manufacturer, the serial number, the lot number, the shipment date, of everything on a plane with three million parts. Multiplied by 5,000 planes.

Boeing must also make arrangements up to three years ahead of time to have all the necessary parts in place to build a plane. And all the labor must be hired, trained, and scheduled in advance, so enough people are there with the right skills (welders, electricians, etc.) to do the job within a very tight window of time (lest Boeing fail to meet its deadline and thereby have to refund a percentage of the plane’s purchase price).

SAP software helps keep track of volumes of incredibly minute stuff like this so you can allocate resources accordingly. But extend the example throughout the entire organization, to areas like accounts payable, employee benefits tracking, warranty fulfillment, and customer service inquiries via call center or web site.

An SAP (or BAAN, or other) installation takes two years or so to get up and running because of all the details that must be incorporated and because each client requires a certain amount of customization. An installation costs several million dollars.

I just perused the web site for a bit and couldn’t find the answer to what the hell S.A.P. stands for. Since the company is headquartered in Germany, I imagine that it’s an acronym in German. At my company (and likely at many others) the people who use it joke that it stands for Stupid Ass Program.


According to Acronym Finder it stands for Systeme, Anwendungen, Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung (German: Systems, Applications & Products in Data Processing; SAP AG).

Sounds like typical late-1990s era e-business jargon. Gawd … every fourth word on the main page is “solution.”

I’m not too sure what a SAP Technican is. There are many areas you could work in as SAP basically can help control the whole bussiness.

Finance, HR, reporting, any process that requires sign off(leave, over time etc.) and many more. Each area needs a different skill set.

From a support perspective there are several differnt skill sets as well. I’m currently at the sharp end of a SAP rollout. I’ve been involved in data migration into SAP. 1st and 2nd level support and I’m now the Workflow Admin(the sign off process I mentioned). We also have people who have gone through a lot of BASIS training which is basically getting the software running correctly at the right speed etc. Authorisation is another big area.

Most of the high level training is done by SAP in my experience and it costs a LOT of money. It’s not something you can just pick up.

It’s a major bitch IMO but then again I’m not being paid to have a easy time :wink:

SAP belongs to a family of programs known as ERP (more acronym, ain’t it lovely? :D) [Enterprise Resource Planning]. The major goal, AFAIK, is to achieve JIT (haha :D) by slicing back on both ends of the supply chain.

SAP is a very popular bit of software for large, complex organisations that want to use one system for lots of things. It’s modular, and vaguely customisable, so companies in different industries can put together a system theoretically related to their business. The benefit is supposed to be that it integrates everything: HR, payroll, purchasing, stock management, manufacturing, accounting, billing and so on. For big companies it’s marketed as an “end to end” solution that can replace dozens of other systems and nicely tie up all of their IT integration problems.

In reality it’s a pretty inflexible system fairly well known for imposing a certain set of restrictions. That’s quite popular, surprisingly; I’ve been to companies who wanted it because they knew they could use it to enforce rigid control over far-flung offices and subsidiaries, and were prepared to change their business to the way SAP thought it should work. It also requires a hell of a lot of care and attention to implement, hence the massive amounts of effort and the existence of many companies who specialise in SAP implementation consulting work. If you get it wrong it can be a complete white elephant.

Note: my own experience isn’t very hands on, and any comment made is related to SAP R/3 v4.6C. Haven’t tried, not sure what the difference with that is. I’ve also discovered that SAP techies really hate it being called “SAP” – it’s “S.A.P.” (or so I’ve been told several times).

yes, SAP is german. My friends at Chrysler were told that when Chrysler was bought by the germans, they were told to use SAP instead of american software.

Crusoe is right, SAP is inflexible, but the inflexibility of SAP is less than the german patriotism. Why non-german companies choose to use SAP is beyond me.

When implemented and used properly, SAP can offer a lot to a company. That’s why it’s popular. Quite why nationality should be an issue in software purchases is beyond me.

Perhaps M-B uses SAP and after buying Chrysler they wanted to use the same ERP software throughout the company. It seems like you are applying nationalism where none exists. Simple business practice means that after a merger/buyout you want to all use the same planning tools.

When Mr. S was downsized, one of his first thoughts was “Thank God I don’t have to use SAP anymore.”