SAP ERP Review

This is the best solution of this kind but has weakness in budget planning for certain user groups

What is our primary use case?

In this company, we are using only two modules, which are for purchase and sale. There is some part of the financial process involved as well. What our company has is not an enterprise version of SAP. So in my experience with the company, when I am modeling the purchase process, is not the same as using the full SAP ERP process at all. We use a process model in which we are utilizing SAP for some stages and after that, the process goes to another BPMS (Business Process Management Solution). We use Camunda BPM for additional processing.  

The major problem that we have using SAP ERP in Iran is that we can not customize our complete process in compliance with regulations when using the full version and all its features. This has to do somewhat with the process we want to use. Customizing ERP SAP for what we need to do is very expensive and it is not within the budget of many companies in our country. So the company I work for is seeing SAP as one, two, or three parts of a larger process and using it where we can.  

It is really the most important problem for the people in my country when they are using SAP ERP. They can not model their process exactly in the standard processes of SAP. The customization is too expensive (it is not low-code). That is the reason that SAP is not more widely used in my country. It needs to be customized (coding) or it is not going to work the way it needs to for compliance. if your company is in low level of maturity, it will be hard or even impossible that processes follow the SAP default processes. 

Companies pay a lot of money for SAP ERP and large companies in Iran are paying for that and it is said that the project was a mistake due to not knowing what was needed and what SAP was providing for them. But all the people I know can not afford the cost to make it work the way it needs to.

How has it helped my organization?

As far as I know, not only did not it help the organization to improve its processes, but also it  did not shorten the length of processes. in fact it made the processes more longer than what it was, due to the low organizational and process maturity level (processes could not be the exact ERP processes, they need to be customized).

What is most valuable?

I think that the ability to describe details of processes in ERP is significant comparing to SAP ERP it is the most interesting thing to me that there are many details prepared in advance which are very slight but important, although it may not be suitable for everyone who wants an ERP or BPMS that is less complex and easier to use.  for example; if you want to submit a PO, the SAP have prepared all the details you need to submit in advance. All I am trying to say is that it is kind of a perfect best practice to use.

What needs improvement?

I can not completely understand or agree with this opinion, but people say that the SAP ERP's UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) is awful. It is true that it is very complicated. When employers in a company want to use ERP, you are going to have some complexity and even conflicts. All people can not use ERP because it is complicated to use almost by nature. Because it is difficult to use, some people like our junior financial staffs will not usually be able to work with it because of the complexity.  

For me, I really like the product and the possibilities because I can use it to see all of the details that I want. SAP ERP is very good for a production company that has physical products because they can use it perfectly and see all the details about the business processes that they need to know. I have not experienced other ERP solutions or other ERP software but, as far as I know, SAP ERP is very full-featured and offers good visibility into processes. This is the purpose of the product.  

Although it may be good for me and other technical and advanced business users, the UI/UX could be a lot better. I think that especially in some of the financial modules, they need to have some improvements in budget control. It is an important component for planning and it is not being handled well for all users. That we can not do more with controlling budgeting with an ERP solution means that the solution has some weaknesses in it.  

It is a sort of tangential problem with the product. Because of extreme changes in the dollar exchange rate, when you want to put in a PO (purchase order) the price will change as time passes. By the day you need to pay the bill, it could be more than the budget that was projected. That is an example of the reason why we can not control our budget. The dollar exchange rate is changing daily and even hourly in our country. We want to be able to control the budget in SAP, but it does not update the budget field in the form in real-time values of the exchange rates. Our company can not use this feature and we have to do the budgeting part manually.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have more than five years of experience in this area of business process analysis, but I am fairly new with this company. I have only been with them for about six months. I am currently working with them on SAP ERP (Systems Applications and Products, Enterprise Resource Planning) for about one month.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have only been using this product for one month, but in one month I saw some bugs. So there are areas where it needs improvement still and can continue to be better. SAP is better than other ERPs and mostly with fewer bugs, I guess. In some cases, it is better than other solutions as far as stability. I am not a software engineer and this is only from what I experience. A software engineer can tell more details about scalability.  

When working with the program, it sometimes just slows down. Even in large companies that have a lot of resources, lag happens sometimes. If it takes two to five minutes to load the data, we get used to it. We can not do anything else but wait.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

SAP ERP has been used in many large companies, so I guess it has a reputation for being scalable. In my company, we have about 10 to 20 people using the product. But we are a small part related to a large company . In that parent company, there are somewhere between 2,000 or 3,000 people who are using SAP.  

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I do not know if other ERP solutions have a heatmap to show where there is the most activity. SAP ERP does not have this feature. Camunda has a heatmap that is used with the optimize and Cockpit module. The heatmap in Camunda gives you a perfect view of your company process. The map shows exactly where the processes have some difficulties at a glance. For example, it will show where the most steps are used and where work slows down with bottlenecks. Having this information can give you insight into improving your larger view of your process and where it is working or not. You can see the whole picture in one window, and you can see all the stages of the process. You can easily define where it is most important to work on making improvements.  

What other advice do I have?

Because we can not do customizations of SAP easily in our company and because of its cost, I can not recommend SAP ERP to people in a similar situation because I know that it would be a failure for them. But because of the issues with expenditure and because of the dollar exchange rate problems, my advice to these people is to use some opensource solution for BPMS like Bizagi, or Camunda, or Bonita.  

If the technical people in the company can support the Java behind it, Bonita is the best of these solutions as a choice for their company in my opinion.  

On the scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would still rate SAP ERP as an eight-out-of-ten. It is a good rating for a good product. I think it is one of the best in the world but it does not work in our country for very many businesses. The problem that it has for people in our country does not change the fact that it is the best at what it does.  

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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