What is SAP business suite? ERP, CRM, SRM, SCM, PLM & HCM

In order to integrate end to end business process in an organization, SAP offers a number of applications which can be seamlessly integrated with each other to maximize the benefit of using SAP. SAP offers below applications which are collectively referred as sap business suite.

SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM)

SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM)

SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)

SAP Human Capital Management (HCM)


 SAP business suite 7 is the latest version which enables running applications on cloud.

Let us get an overview of these applications:


SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM):  

Consider the sales process in an organization. Marketing department collects data about prospects from various sources, sales representatives meet prospects and collect more information about prospects which help them generate sales lead, finally sales is executed and after sales service is provided.  It’s important for organization that customer data should be available as and when required hence customer data has to be stored at central database. Sales process also involves several level of approval even cross department approval as well hence software system should enable approval process as well. SAP CRM addresses these issues by storing customer information at central database and standardizing sales process (for example approval process) by enabling workflow. This helps in faster business by reducing sales cycle time.

SAP CRM also helps in measuring, monitoring and improving effectiveness of marketing activities.


Very nice videos to help you understand what business problems are solved by SAP CRM:



SAP CRM focuses on entire sales process mainly presale and post-sale whereas SAP SD merely focuses on sales order processing.


SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM):  

In order to serve the customer faster while keeping inventory low, organizations need to work in close coordination with suppliers.

A big organization may have thousands of suppliers and hence managing becomes a challenge. Organization need to categorize suppliers into low importance, medium importance and strategically important and accordingly relationship should be valued.

There are different people on organization and supplier side and these people may be spread across different part of the organization, different departments, different function and different geography. For faster interaction between these people and remove duplication of effort, a system is needed which can enable close coordination to overcome this challenge.

Video to help you understand SRM concept: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeQwvHiNeCU


SAP Supply Chain Management (SCM):

Video to help you understand the meaning of supply chain and challenges faced by organization https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi1QBxVjZAw


Effective supply chain management involves demand forecast & planning, inventory management and execution of various interdependent tasks to be performed by different people spread across department/ geography.

Challenge in demand forecast is to put together all relevant data and analyse them considering various variables which might have an impact on demand. This process of extracting meaningful information from huge volume of data (big data) is called data analytics.

SAP SCM overcomes the challenge of demand forecast & planning by providing data analytic capability. SAP SCM also provides workflow functionality which streamlines activities (to be performed by various people) by establishing a well-defined structure of who will perform what task along with dependency between tasks. A person/ team are responsible for completion of respective assigned task. Work flow functionality enables faster completion of activities.


Video to help you understand how SAP SCM can help in enabling supply chain management:



SAP Product Lifecycle Management (PLM):

Product planning team comes up with an idea (idea of a product is born).  Product design team spread across geography/ discipline work in coordination. During product manufacturing organization has to work in close coordination with suppliers, contractors, transporters etc. For distribution of product, organization has to work with logistics partner.

During the entire process huge amount of data is generated and moreover this data is distributed. Manager needs a holistic view to make decisions. Challenge is to put together all data so that a holistic view can be generated. Manager needs to know the impact of any change in existing design/ production process on product cost.

SAP PLM overcomes these challenges by collecting all data centrally for a holistic view, enabling information sharing for proper coordination between various parties like product design team, engineering team, manufacturing team, suppliers, finance and others.

Nice video to help you understand SAP PLM helps overcome business challenges:



SAP Human Capital Management (HCM):

HR department is involved in various processes like recruitment, on boarding, training & development, time recording, promotion, role change, payroll, separation, full & final settlement. With each event information like employee’s personal details, role, reporting manager, salary details etc. needs to be recorded and updated.

When number of employees in the organization is large and spread across geography then managing huge amount of data centrally becomes a challenge. HR department has to work in close coordination with finance department.

SAP HR overcomes these challenges by managing all data centrally and integrating HR processes. SAP HR is highly integrated with SAP FI.


Example: When an employee gets promoted, information like role, band, salary, reporting manager etc. need to be updated. Hence an event can have multiple impacts. SAP HR can be utilized for maintenance and updating of various data originating from an event.

Video to help you understand functionality provided by SAP HR





Above business applications are collectively called SAP business suite. SAP has provided database platform called SAP HANA which can enhance the performance of business suite applications in terms of processing speed.

Let's try to understand what business problem is addressed by SAP HANA and how?

As businesses grow amount of data generated also grows exponentially. For decision making, information/ intelligence (demand forecast, sales forecast, consumer behavior, predictive analysis, performance analysis etc.) need to be derived from huge amount of data. The performance of data analytics (speed) decreases as volume of data increases.


SAP HANA in build memory database

As shown above, most of the time is consumed in fetching data from data base to RAM.

Processing speed can be increased if entire data is stored in RAM itself. This is the working principal of SAP HANA. SAP HANA is software which enables in-memory database to tackle performance issues. Latest version of HANA has the storage capacity of around 10 TB of RAM which is expected to increase in future

Nice videos for more clarity on SAP HANA



SAP HANA is a platform on which SAP business suite runs and achieves better performance in terms of faster OLTP (online transaction processing) and OLAP (online analytical processing). HANA stands for High performance Analytical Appliance.

video on how SAP HANA can help businesses grow faster:



Hardware on which SAP HANA software can be installed is provided by specific vendors like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, HP etc.


Example: Mobile phone slows down when huge amount of data is loaded.  Once you increase the RAM by adding new memory card, mobile starts performing better.