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Business Process Integration

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Business Process Integration

Coursework Reflective Pieces

SAP- SAP - company, products/service and benefits

Formed in 1972, SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing) is seen today as the largest inter-enterprise software firm in the global market. Due to the wide range of products that they have, SAP has become the third largest independent software solutions supplier for businesses. The headquarter of the company is located In Walldorf, Germany, However, they have subsidies in over 50 countries and thousands of customers in more than 150 different countries. SAP is present in the America's, Asia and Europe (SAP 2012).

SAP provides a Business Suite which is a package of applications that offers companies the opportunity to integrate information and processes as well as improve functionality which allows the company to compete more effectively in the market. SAP Business Suite is composed of five applications being the following:

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)  Integrates and automates many customer servicing processes

 Customer insight and customer retention

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)  Integration of processes across the whole organisation

PLM (Product Lifecycle Management)  Support for all the processes related with the product during the product life cycle

SCM (Supply Chain Management)  Support companies to strengthen relationships with customers, suppliers and contract worldwide manufactures

SRM (Supplier Relationship Management)  Support companies to build collaborative relationship with suppliers

 Support for all purchase-related processes

Tabla 1: Business SAP Business Suite applications (own table created from SAP 2012)

By using these applications companies are able to get and retain customers, integrate manufacturers with all the information related to product, gain procurement from suppliers; achieve marketing and customer insight and process resourcing. In addition, SAP implementation has many other benefits among which are the following:

 It supplies solutions for workflow and back-office processes

 SAP helps companies to reduce costs and increase flexibility

 Better efficiency and productivity by leveraging processes and functions across company

 Immediate access to all the information needed by the staff at all levels

 SAP supports companies to integrate and optimize business processes as well as reduce integration costs

 Improve financial management and increase profitability (SAP 2012, SAP SD 2010)

ERP is one of the most popular and best-selling packages of SAP. It was developed from the evolution of MRP (Manufacturing resource planning), MRP II and JIT (Just-in-time). ERP allows companies to integrate all the processes and synchronise each function within an organisation in order to get the real-time information required to have a wide visibility for key performance indicators needed to meet company objectives. The main functions included in an ERP could be named as warehousing, sales, finance, distribution, marketing, supply chain systems, asset management and human resource management (Siriginidi 2000: 378- 379)

Nowadays, in a world driven by high competition and complex processes ERP could be the key to get competitive advantage over rivals. Other benefits as well as drawbacks are shown in Table 2.


Integration of all company's functions from sales order to customer service

High implementation costs and

time-consuming process

Reduction in operating costs ¬¬(lower inventory control cost, lower marketing and production costs) Investments for staff training is required

Full Integration of external and internal operations (suppliers-related processes) Organisation must have a complete understanding of the ERP to work successfully with it

Increase flexibility in order to react to changes in business needs Due to the high cost of this technology most small and medium size business cannot implement ERP systems

Improved productivity through greater flexibility The selection of the wrong module can reduce efficiency and profitability

Reduce data redundancy Companies need to have a fast and secure IT infrastructure in order to implement an appropriate ERP system.

Enhanced customer satisfaction by providing better quality and reduced product cost Data integrity ( Integration can generate data leaks and security breaches)

Table 2: List of benefits and drawbacks of ERP systems

(Own table created from Shehab et al. 2004, SAP SD, Siriginidi 2000)

Article review: Enterprise resource planning in reengineering business

Summary and Key learning Points:

 Nowadays the world is facing a lot changes for instance, higher competition, complex processes, higher technology, customers' preferences and environmental changes. In order to keep up with them all, Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is becoming a crucial element for organisations.

 BPR improves efficiency and effectiveness of companies' processes as well as increase the speed of decision making.

 IT implications have a very important role for organisations as it improves coordination and information can be managed to provide visibility of key performance indicators and used for decision making. For instance, transfers information rapidly and with ease across large distances, thus making the processes independent of geography;

 Nowadays, ERP systems can be seen as one of the fast developing IT segments. ERP allow companies to integrate all the processes and synchronise each function within an organisation

 ERP is



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