13 Most Important SAP Full Forms Explained – Do You Know Them?

SAP full forms explained.

In this article, you are going to learn the 13 most important SAP full forms.

Full forms such as

  • SAP,
  • HANA,
  • ABAP,
  • etc.

Get a quick start into SAP or check if your knowledge about SAP is complete.

Let us dive right in.

Besides those crucial 13 SAP full forms in-depth, there is a full-fledged SAP acronyms list with 976 SAP full forms, and it is growing continuously.

13 SAP Full Forms Explained

  1. SAP
  2. ERP
  3. R/3
  4. ECC
  5. S/4
  6. HANA
  7. ABAP
  8. CRM
  9. UI5
  10. Fiori
  11. CDS views
  12. OData
  13. NW

1. Full Form of SAP

The SAP full form is German originally – the SAP full form in German is ‘Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung’.

Luckily for SAP, the full form of SAP works out in English as well: ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing’.

In 1976, the SAP full form changed from the German ‘Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung’ or in English ‘System Analysis and Program Development’ to what it is today.

Get a deep dive into SAP with this article about what SAP is and its software evolution.

That SAP acronym’s former full form does not work out well in English: ‘System Analysis and Program Development’.

Sketch of the SAP logo.

At the beginning of SAP, the name SAP was not just the name of the company itself but also a synonym for its central software product: an integrated standard business software package called R (Real-Time) and later R/1 (Real-Time 1 Tier).

Even today, some use SAP to refer to SAP’s ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software, the newest version of which is called S/4 (Business Suite 4), but SAP offers much more than its ERP applications, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.

The SAP product portfolio is continuously growing – from 1 product to over 340 products today.

Therefore, SAP as a synonym for SAP’s ERP applications becomes less and less common due to the need for differentiation.

Five former IBM (International Business Machines) employees founded SAP in 1972.

They were all from the German IBM AI department and worked on an enterprise-wide system standard software.

The five founder of the business software manufacturer SAP.

They decided to leave IBM and started SAP, instead of abandoning the system after they could not agree with IBM about who would work with whom in the enterprise-wide software project.

Leaving IBM turned out to not be the worst idea.

SAP is now the market leader in ERP software in terms of revenue and 2nd place after Microsoft in overall business applications revenue as of 2017.

In the overall software market, SAP is 7th placed in terms of revenue and 6th placed in terms of market capitalization.

Sales RankMarket Cap RankCompany NameSales (Billion $)Market Cap (Billion $)Origin Country
The top 10 companies in the 2017 Forbes list for Software and Programming.

2. Full Form of SAP ERP

The ERP full form is ‘Enterprise Resource Planning’.

A definition of ERP is this: Enterprise resource planning (ERP) is the integrated management of core business processes, often in real-time and mediated by software and technology.

To put it more simply: ERP is software and hardware to run a company.

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)

SAP ERP is a synonym for the central software product of SAP – its ERP.

SAP’s ERP evolved from the so-called R/1 over R/2 to R/3 and ECC, now to S/4. However, using the name SAP ERP becomes less and less common.

That is because of the abundance of products that SAP has added to its portfolio.

It is necessary to differentiate precisely between each product to communicate what is meant.

For example, there is an S/4 HANA on-premise, and there is an S/4 HANA in the cloud. Both are SAP ERP systems.

There also exist hybrid versions using both variants.

Furthermore, two other SAP ERPs are SAP Business ByDesign for medium-sized and SAP Business One for small-sized companies.

Plus, many companies have not upgraded from ECC to S/4 yet. Therefore, to refer to a system with SAP ERP would lead to the question, ‘Which SAP ERP?’.

Hence, the SAP ERP full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing Enterprise Resource Planning’.

3. Full Form of SAP R/3

The R/3 full form is ‘Real-Time 3 Tier’.

R/3 is an ERP standard software developed by SAP and released in 1992.

SAP R/3 version 1.0 GUI.

The R/3 ERP incorporates the key business functions and processes of a company.

The ‘Real-Time’ of the full form of R/3 is because many companies were storing data mechanically on punch cards when SAP was founded in 1972.

On the contrary, SAP stored data electronically via a user interface in a database – in real-time.

The 3 Tier of the full form of R/3 is because of the three-tier architecture which R/3 uses. An R/3 system has three layers:

  1. Presentation layer
  2. Application layer
  3. Database layer

The presentation layer provides the interface to the user, the application layer processes the business logic, and the database layer stores the business data. Each layer is a different system.

Before R/3, there were R/1 and R/2. There is a deep dive into what SAP is, which takes a look at the SAP software evolution as well.


R/1 (Real-Time 1 Tier) was released in 1973.

At first, R/1 was a financial accounting system.

Later, it served as the cornerstone in the continuous development of further software modules for the system, such as HR (Human Capital Management).

R/1 was running on-site on the customers’ DOS operating systems. It had only one-tier.

The presentation, application, and database were all combined in one layer and thus, one system.


R/2 (Real-Time 2 Tier) was released in 1979.

R/2 expands the capabilities of R/1 to other areas, such as material management and production planning.

R/2 runs on mainframe computers and has two tiers: the presentation layer was separated from the application and database layer.

SAP R/3 user interface start screen.


R/3 (Real-Time 3 Tier) was released in 1992.

R/3 later replaced the mainframe computing of R/2 with the three-tier or client-server architecture.

SAP R/3 version 4.6 GUI.

Hence, the SAP R/3 full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products Real-Time 3 Tier’.

4. Full Form of SAP ECC

The ECC full form is ‘ERP Central Component’ or ‘Enterprise Core Component’.

It was named ERP Central Component, but, recently, SAP has referred to it as Enterprise Core Component as well.

The ECC was released in 2004 as ECC 5.0. ECC replaced R/3. The latest version is 6.0, and this was released in 2006. Since then, it has been updated by enhancement packages.


The most recent enhancement package 8 was released in 2016.

ECC has a three-tier architecture like R/3. The successor of ECC is S/4.

Hence, the SAP ECC full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing ERP Central Component’ or ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing Enterprise Core Component’.

5. Full Form of SAP S/4

The S/4 full form is ‘Business Suite 4’.

S/4 was released in 2015 and is the most recent version of the SAP ERP systems.

S/4 runs only on a HANA database. Therefore, S/4 appears often as S/4 HANA or SAP S/4 HANA.

The SAP S/4 HANA full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products Business Suite 4 High-Performance Analytic Appliance’.

S/4 is simpler and faster in comparison to the previous SAP ERP generations.

Plus, it adds a lot of new features that are all possible due to the underlying HANA database.

S/4 can be deployed on-premise like all SAP ERP generations before, as well as in the cloud or through a hybrid model of on-premise and cloud.

SAP entered the world of cloud computing recently and has rapidly built up a full-fledged cloud computing portfolio.

The 4 in S/4 might have different meanings:

  • 4th generation of SAP’s ERP
  • 4 as literally ‘S 4 HANA’ = ‘S for HANA’
  • 4-tier architecture in the sense of an additional tier through cloud applications: cloud, presentation, application, and database

Hence, the SAP S/4 full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing Business Suite 4′.

6. Full Form of SAP HANA

The HANA full form is ‘High-Performance Analytic Appliance’.

HANA is a relational database management system.

HANA is in-memory and column-oriented. The primary function of HANA is that of a database server: to store and retrieve data as requested by applications.

But HANA can do more than be a super-fast database, due to its in-memory and column-oriented design: HANA is capable of performing advanced analytics and extracting, transforming, and loading.

Plus, HANA includes with version HANA XS (HANA Extended Application Services), an application server embedded in the database layer.

Hence, the SAP HANA full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing High-Performance Analytic Appliance’.

7. Full Form of SAP ABAP

The ABAP full form name is taken from German.

ABAP stood for ‘Allgemeiner Berichtsaufbereitungsprozessor’. Translated to English, the ABAP full form is ‘Generic Report Preparation Processor’.

Later, ABAP was renamed to ‘Advanced Business Application Programming’.

ABAP is a programming language for and by SAP and was released in 1983.

ABAP originally was named ‘Generic Report Preparation Processor’ because the language was only capable of programming reports. ABAP could not do any database changes.

But ABAP has been upgraded and is upgraded continuously. For example, it is now not only capable of doing database changes but is object-oriented as well.

The newest SAP ERP version S/4 uses ABAP as well, although less than in the previous ECC. However, it is likely never possible to say SAP without ABAP.

Hence, the SAP ABAP full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing Advanced Business Application Programming’.

8. Full Form of SAP CRM

The CRM full form is ‘Customer Relationship Management’.

A definition of CRM is this: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the core business strategy that combines internal processes and functions and external networks, to create and deliver value to targeted customers at a profit.

It is grounded on high-quality customer-related data and supported by information technology.

To put it more simply: CRM is software and hardware to improve the customer relationships of a company.

The first SAP CRM software was an embedded module of the SAP R/3 ERP. It was called Sales and Distribution (SD) and was released in 1992. SAP released its first stand-alone CRM application called SAP CRM 2.0 in 2000.

SAP CRM 2.0 evolved into SAP CRM 5.0, SAP CRM 6.0, and SAP CRM 7.0.

SAP’s most recent CRM products are:

  • SAP Marketing Cloud,
  • SAP Commerce Cloud,
  • SAP Customer Data Cloud,
  • SAP Sales Cloud,
  • SAP Service Cloud, and
  • SAP S/4 HANA for Customer Management.

The CRM market overtook the ERP market in 2017 in terms of revenue and has since become the biggest software market.

Recently, SAP became the market leader in the ERP market, putting the CRM market in its primary focus. As the CEO of SAP, Bill McDermott said it in 2018:

‘We’re going to turn up the jets, and we’re going after CRM with everything we have.’

The future of the SAP CRM market seems to lie in cloud computing. Salesforce, as the market leader in CRM, has offered only cloud computing since its founding in 1999.

Finally, SAP recognized that and recently ramped up its cloud computing portfolio.

Hence, the SAP CRM full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing Customer Relationship Management’.

9. Full Form of SAP UI5

The UI5 full form is ‘User Interface 5’.

SAP UI5 was announced in 2013 and is the newest user interface technology of SAP.

Increasing numbers of SAP applications are using SAP UI5.

Besides SAP UI5, there exists a free, open-source variant of SAP UI5 called OPEN UI5.

Modern applications consist of three layers:

  1. on the top is the client that contains the user interface,
  2. in the middle is an application server, and
  3. on the bottom is the database.

SAP UI5 is part of the top layer of an application – it is the technology behind the surface which the end-user sees and uses.

SAP UI5 XML code example

Besides SAP UI5, there is SAP Fiori. SAP Fiori describes design guidelines for SAP UI5 – how SAP UI5 is supposed to look.

This article explains to you in-depth what the difference between SAP UI5 and SAP Fiori is.
SAP Fiori design guideline example

Therefore, SAP UI5 is the technical part and SAP Fiori the determining factor of the optical part of the newest SAP user interface.

With SAP UI5 and SAP Fiori, SAP aims to provide end-users with a consistent user interface for all SAP applications.

SAP UI5 works on desktop computers and mobile devices, as well.

Hence, the SAP UI5 full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing User Interface 5‘.

10. Full Form of SAP Fiori

The Fiori full form is ‘Fiori’.

SAP Fiori is a word for itself: Fiori means flower in Italian.

SAP Fiori is design guidelines for how an SAP application is supposed to look like.

You can find the SAP Fiori design guidelines on the official SAP Fiori website.

SAP Fiori design guidelines official website.

It is crucial to differentiate between SAP UI5 and SAP Fiori.

Many get the difference between SAP UI5 and SAP Fiori wrong or think that they are the same.

SAP UI5 is the technology behind the new SAP user interface, and SAP Fiori is guidelines on how the new SAP user interface is supposed to look like.

Here is an article which shows you in more detail how SAP UI5 and SAP Fiori is to distinguish.

Imagine SAP UI5 as the Lego bricks and SAP Fiori as the manual, which says how the lego bricks are to be assembled.

There are 11,000+ SAP Fiori standard applications, and the number is continuously growing.

The name SAP Fiori standard application might be confusing because one could say an SAP Fiori standard application consists of 95% SAP UI5 and 5% SAP Fiori.

But probably sounds Fiori just better than UI5.

Hence, the SAP Fiori full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing Fiori‘.

11. Full Form of SAP CDS Views

The CDS views full form is ‘Core Data Services views’.

SAP CDS views are the basis of SAP’s new programming model.

SAP’s new programming model pushes most of the back-end logic and, therefore, calculations from the application server to the database.

This pushing of the logic to the database is also called the ‘code-pushdown’ and ‘code-to-data’.

Among other things, SAP CDS views are in the first place an extension of SQL and leverage the features of the SAP HANA database.

There are two flavors of SAP CDS views:

  1. ABAP CDS view, and
  2. HANA CDS views.

ABAP CDS views enhance data with information that can be consumed by SAP UI5 and the user interfaces of SAP cloud application via OData.

Hence, the SAP CDS views full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing Core Data Services‘.

12. Full Form of OData

The OData full form is ‘Open Data Protocol’.

Microsoft initiated OData in 2007, and it is released under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise.

OData is a data access protocol based on REST for querying and updating data.

In a nutshell, REST means that something is consistent in the way the web works.

OData allows any front-end to access information exposed by any data source.

Therefore, OData opens up the data silos of SAP – OData is a glue between SAP web-based front-ends and SAP back-ends.

For example, OData connects an SAP front-end such as a Fiori standard application with an SAP back-end such as a HANA database via SAP CDS views.

OData uses industry standards to provide data as an API (Application Programming Interface) in a simple way – OData is since version 4.0 standardized at OASIS.

OData uses common technologies to provide data such as

  • AtomPub,
  • XML, and
  • JSON.

Hence, the OData full form is ‘Open Data Protocol‘.

13. Full Form of SAP NW

The NW full form is ‘NetWeaver’.

The SAP NetWeaver is the technical foundation and solution stack for many SAP products and

The SAP NetWeaver was developed by TopTier Software as a portal technology.

SAP acquired the NetWeaver from TopTier Software in 2001 and released the SAP NetWeaver in 2003.

The SAP NetWeaver is a heading term for:

The SAP NetWeaver Application Server is the runtime environment for SAP’s on-premise applications such as

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management),
  • ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), and
  • PLM (Product Lifecycle Management),
  • SCM (Supply Chain Management),
  • SRM (Supplier Relationship Management), or
  • TMS (Transportation Management System).

The SAP NetWeaver allows custom development and integration with other applications and systems.

The SAP NetWeaver is built with

  • ABAP,
  • C,
  • C++, and
  • Java.

An extension of the SAP NetWeaver is possible with technologies such as

  • Microsoft.NET,
  • Java EE, or
  • IBMWebSphere.

Hence, the SAP NWs full form is ‘Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing NetWeaver‘.

13 Most Important SAP Full Forms List

AcronymFull Form
SAPSystems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing
ERPEnterprise Resource Planning
R/3Real-Time 3 Tier
ECCERP Central Component (Enterprise Core Component)
S/4Business Suite 4
HANA High-Performance Analytic Appliance
ABAP Advanced Business Application Programming
CRMCustomer Relationship Management
UI5User Interface 5
FioriFiori (Flower in English)
CDS viewsCore Data Services views
ODataOpen Data Protocol
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