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

Wooden letters in a wooden box.

Besides those 9 SAP full forms, there is a full-fledged SAP acronyms list with 975 SAP full forms, and it is growing continuously.

SAP, ERP, R/3, ECC, S/4, HANA, ABAP, CRM, SAP UI5 – these are the 9 most important SAP full forms. Plus, each full form includes an explanation – from what SAP stands for through the meaning of SAP ERP to what HANA means.

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 to what it is today. That SAP acronym’s former full form does not work out well in English: System Analysis and Program Development.

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.

5 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.

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 system project. Leaving IBM turned out to not be the worst idea.

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

There is what SAP is, plus the SAP software evolution to deep dive into SAP and its history.

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.

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 which 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 Enterprise Resource Planning.

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. 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.

SAP R/1

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.

SAP R/2

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

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.

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

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
ERP Central Component or Systems, Applications, and Products Enterprise Core Component.

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 Business Suite 4.

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 High-Performance Analytic Appliance.

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. It originally was named iGeneric 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 Advanced Business Application Programming.

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, in order 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
  • 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 Customer Relationship Management.

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 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:

  • on the top is the client that contains the user interface
  • in the middle is an application server
  • on the bottom is the database

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

Besides SAP UI5, there is Fiori. Fiori describes design guidelines for SAP UI5 – how SAP UI5 is supposed to look. Therefore, SAP UI5 is the technical part and Fiori the determining factor of the optical part of the newest SAP user interface.

With SAP UI5 and 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 User Interface 5.

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