The classical R/3 applications are usually categorized in three core functional areas: financial, human resources, and logistics. Additionally, SAP actively develops special software packages complementing the Core R/3, targeted to specialized vertical industries. These packages are known as SAP Solutions for Industries. Also, there is a special set of modules, known as the cross-application (CA) modules, which is positioned between the technical and functional areas of the system and covers such things as the business workflow, CAD integration, and document system. Since customizing is also a process that must be done for all areas of the system, SAP also refers to it as a CA module.
The core areas include hundreds of business processes to address all the needs of modern business applications. There are many modules within these areas that work equally well when deployed as stand-alone products. For instance, there are companies that might decide to use only certain modules of the SAP R/3 Core application suite—sales and distribution, manufacturing, and accounting. The following sections include brief descriptions of the main module groups and listings of the modules for each group. SAP includes new modules as new versions are released, so these listings may not be completely up-to-date.
SAP financial modules give customers the whole picture of the accounting functions, with extensive report facilities to allow for fast decision-making support. They are also perfectly suited for international corporations with multiple subsidiaries, including support for foreign currencies and multilingual capabilities.
The financial area contains the following module groups:
• FI. Financial accounting
• CO. Controlling
• EC. Enterprise controlling
• IM. Capital investment management
• TR. Treasury
Latest additions within the financial application of the SAP Enterprise Core include Corporate Finance Management (CFM), mySAP Banking, Real Estate Management, Public Sector, and others. Please refer to the SAP Web site for the latest information. The following sections briefly describe the traditional and main components of SAP application modules.
FI: Financial Accounting
These modules constitute the operational aspects of the general accounting and financial information for the enterprise. They connect and integrate with other financial modules such as treasury and controlling, as well as parts of human resources, such as payroll and travel expenses. Also, the transactions of accounts receivable and accounts payable are directly related to the sales and distribution and purchasing modules. The following list contains the financial accounting modules. Each one includes multiple business processes and capabilities.
• FI-AA. Asset accounting
• FI-AP. Accounts payable
• FI-AR. Accounts receivable
• FI-GL. General ledger accounting
• FI-LC. Consolidation
• FI-SL. Special-purpose ledger
An important aspect of the financial accounting system is the real-time generation of the current balance and profit and loss sheets. Latest additions include also bank accounting (FI-BL), travel management (FI-TV), and fund management (FI-FM).
This module is used to represent the company's cost structures and the factors that influence them. The module includes areas such as cost controlling, product and production cost controlling, and profitability analysis. The CO module is intended to answer key management questions such as, "What does a product or service cost?" To answer that, the CO product costing system uses different valuation strategies and quantity structures, enabling the cost of manufactured goods to be planned as precisely as possible.
With the help of a planned/actual comparison, the CO module enables users to quickly recognize weak points in the production process. The following are the controlling modules and their descriptions.
• CO-OM-CEL. Cost element accounting
• CO-OM-CCA. Cost center accounting
• CO-OM-OPA. Internal orders
• CO-ABC. Activity-based costing
• CO-PA. Sales and profitability analysis
• CO-PC. Product cost controlling
EC: Enterprise Controlling.
The EC module is another very important decision-making tool that monitors the critical success factors and key figures of the company from a controller's point of view. The executive information system (EIS) is basically a collection of tools that helps to quickly filter and analyze the enterprise's most important data and get critical and up-todate business information into graphical form or customized reports. With the management consolidation (EC-CS) system, subsidiary data, even from different countries and with different legal regulations, passes directly into the central MC system, automatically performing all the required consolidation work. The EC module allows profit analysis for independent business areas of a company. The system takes care of automatically retrieving and grouping the necessary information for this process. The following list contains the areas included in the enterprise controlling module group.
• EC-EIS. Executive information system
• EC-CS. Consolidation
• EC-PCA. Profit center accounting
IM: Capital Investment Management
IM is an application module designed to plan and manage capital investment projects and budgets. It is also used for monitoring the bookkeeping functions associated with assets under construction on capital investment projects and orders. It consists of two parts:
• IM. Capital investment management (programs)
• IM-FA. Tangible fixed assets (measures)
The treasury module of SAP R/3 integrates cash management and forecasting with the financial and logistics-related applications. It provides tools to analyze budgeting, process electronic account statements, analyze foreign money markets, and so forth. The following list shows the components of the treasury module.
• TR. Cash budget management
• TR-CM. Cash management
• TR-TM. Treasury management
• TR-LO. Loans management
• TR-MRM. Market risk management
Human Resources Applications
The HR module includes all necessary business processes to manage efficiently all the needs of a company's human resource area—from applicant screening to payroll accounting or personnel development. As with the rest of the SAP applications, the aim of the HR module is to enter data just once and make it available to other related applications, such as accounting, plant maintenance, or business workflow. The HR module includes full support for salary administration and payroll, work schedule models, planning, travel expenses, and so forth. It must be noted that the HR module and its associated business process are very country specific, because the software must adhere to specific country laws concerning employment, tax, benefits, and so on. For this reason, SAP includes different procedures and transactions for different countries.
With the newer releases of the Enterprise Core (R/3), there are four module groups within the human resources applications:
Logistics is the most extensive area of the SAP applications and contains the largest number of modules. The logistics applications manage all processes involved in the supply chain of goods: from raw material procurement to final customer delivery and billing. These applications contain comprehensive business processes for flexible manufacturing systems and lots of tools for decision support. These applications integrate seamlessly with virtually every other SAP application, from the financial and controlling modules to the human resources processes. The main logistics applications include the following modules:
• LO. General logistics
• MM. Materials management
• PM. Plant maintenance
• PP. Production planning
• PS. Project system
• QM. Quality management
• SD. Sales and distribution
Latest releases have incorporated additionally the following applications:
• LE. Logistics execution
• CS. Customer service
• PLM. Product lifecycle management
• EH&S. Environment, health, and safety
• Global trade
LO: General Logistics
These applications contain the basic intelligence engine of the SAP logistics system: tools and reports to analyze and manage the status and make forecasts about the supply chain. The following is a list of the general logistics modules.
• LO-MD. Logistics basic data
• LO-BM. Batch management
• LO-ECH. Engineering change management
• LO-LIS. Logistics information system
• LO-HU. Handling unit management
• LO-CM. Configuration management
• LO-VC. Variant configuration
• LO-SCI. Supply chain planning interface
• LO-ASM. Assembly to order
• LO-PLM. Product lifecycle management
MM: Materials Management
The materials management module comprises all activities related with material acquisitions (purchasing) and control (inventory, warehouse). The purchasing module includes a complete range of operations: request for quotations, requisition limits, vendor price comparisons, agreements, order status, and so on. Inventory management is a great tool for planning and enables users to compare materials ordered with those received. It has direct links with purchasing and quality management. Stock is always controlled since every material movement is immediately recorded.
The warehouse module can manage complex warehouse structures, storage areas, and transportation routes. It links with the sales and distribution modules and capital investment management. The invoice verification module is the right tool to avoid paying more than necessary. It handles information directly with the accounting and controlling modules and allows users to define tolerance values and analyze the movement of goods. The MM system is made up of the following components:
• MM-CBP. Consumption-based planning
• MM-PUR. Purchasing
• MM-SRV. External services management
• MM-IM. Inventory management
• MM-IV. Logistics invoice verification
Additionally, MM includes an evaluation module closely linked with CO, and allowing functions around price changes or a special material ledger to have an accurate view of product costing.
PM: Plant Maintenance
The PM modules take care of the complex maintenance of the plant systems. This includes support for having graphical plant representations, connecting to geographical information systems (GISs), and detailed diagrams. The modules support management of operational and maintenance problems, equipment, costs, and purchase requisitions. The modules' extensive information systems allow users to identify weak points quickly and plan preventive maintenance. It's also remarkable that all the workflow scenarios are available in PM/CS as Maintenance Notifications, Maintenance and Service Orders, or Service Notifications.
The PM system includes the following modules:
• PM-EQM. Equipment and technical objects
• PM-PRM. Preventive maintenance
• PM-WOC. Maintenance order management
• PM-WCM. Work clearance management
PP: Production Planning
This business area is a very complex and extensive part of the SAP logistics application system. It contains modules for the different phases, tasks, and methodologies used in the planning of production (product quantities, product types, materials procurement, time, etc.) and the process of production itself. Since release 3.0 of R/3, the PP-PI (production planning for process industries) module was included, providing an extensive planning tool for batch-oriented manufacturing. This module also enables the connection with external plant control systems and the management of different plants. The PP modules are extensively integrated and connected to other R/3 applications, such as sales and distribution and materials management. The production planning application is made up of the following modules:
• PP-ATO. Assembly orders (now within General Logistics LO-ASM)
• PP-BD. Basic data
• PP-SOP. Sales and operations planning
• PP-MP. Master planning
• PP-CRP. Capacity requirement planning
• PP-MRP. Material requirements planning
• PP-SFC. Production orders
• PP-KAB. Kanban/just-in-time
• PP-REM. Repetitive manufacturing
• PP-PI. Production planning for process industries
• PP-PDC. Plant data collection
PS: Project System
The PS application is a complete project system that handles all aspects of activities, resource planning, and budgeting of complex tasks. It includes a complete information system to keep track of current project status. It connects with the accounting and logistics applications and has many graphical capabilities as well as the ability to interface with external applications such as Microsoft Project. The following are the modules included in the project system application.
• PS-APP. Project budgeting
• PS-BD. Basic data
• PS-EXE. Project execution/integration
• PS-IS. Information system
• PS-OPS. Operative structures
• PS-PLN. Project planning
QM: Quality Management
The SAP system as a whole, and the Core R/3 applications independently, take care of quality control of the managed business areas: human resources, financial controlling, and so on. As integral parts of the logistics application, the QM modules handle the tasks involved in quality planning, inspection and control, and complying with internationally defined standards on quality, as specified in ISO9000. The main tasks of the QM modules have to do with the quality control of the sales and distribution processes, the materials management, and all production-related quality issues. The following is a list of the QM modules:
• QM-PT. Quality planning
• QM-IM. Quality inspection processing
• QM-QC-AQC. Quality control
• QM-CA. Quality certificates
• QM-QN. Quality notifications
• QM-IT. Test equipment management
• QM-PT-RP. Control in logistics
• QM-CR. General functions
SD: Sales and Distribution
The SD modules are the most intensive transactional applications and usually are used as a base for benchmarking different platform architectures because they virtually connect and integrate with every other SAP application: production, materials, accounting, quality, project, human resources, and so on. This collection of modules enables the management of all aspects of sales activities: ordering, promotions, competition, sales leads, call tracking, planning, mail campaigns, and so forth. Other useful features include immediate product availability information and the ability to make early quotations. Customers benefit with better and faster service and can receive direct order confirmation by fax or mail.
These modules also allow the definition and control of the pricing structures and, with the connections to accounting and controlling, the receivables and revenues are immediately updated. The SD system is made up of the following components:
• SD-BF. Basic functions and master data in SD processing
• SD-BF-PR. Pricing and conditions
• SD-BF-CM. Credit and risk management
• SD-BF-OC. Output determination
• SD-SLS. Sales
• SD-SLS-OA. Customer service processing
• SD-FT. Foreign trade
• SD-BIL. Billing
• SD-BIL-IV. Payment card processing
• SD-CAS. Sales support
• SD-EDI. Electronic data interchange
• LE-SHP. Shipping
• LE-TRA. Transportation
The CA (cross-application) modules or components include all SAP functions and tools that are not directly related to a unique part of the system. These are general-purpose components, applications, or tools that can be used independently or in connection with any of the functional application modules. Some of the main CA components are as follows:
The folder system allows the integration of internal SAP and PC documents. The messaging features extend beyond the mail capabilities, allowing integration and processing with other business applications. For instance, a message might have a transaction associated with it, which can be triggered when a user processes a message. Other cross-application tools or components that can be used in many different SAP modules are CAD integration, document management system (DMS), classification guide, characteristics guide, Application Link Enabled (ALE) technology, EDI, and external system communication interfaces. The implementation tools including SAP customizing are also considered CA modules because they are overall activities of SAP R/3 projects.
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