The Total Guide to SAP ERP

In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about SAP ERP integration including market-fit, pricing, features, and comparisons.

We’ve also paired this article with a free e-Book to help companies bridge the gap between their ERP and AP processes. Download “The Last Mile of ERP – Payables Transformation Strategies.”

What is SAP ERP?

SAP ERP system is global software used company-wide with shared data to manage business processes in different business functions. SAP ERP Business One is for small businesses or subsidiaries. SAP Business ByDesign is for mid-market companies. Recent ERP versions are SAP S4/HANA Cloud and on-premises software or hybrid for mid-size and large enterprise customers.


ERP software is for enterprise resource planning. 

SAP, based in Germany, is a business software company, founded in the 1970s by former IBM employees. The SAP meaning is an acronym that translates as Systems, Applications, and Products.

SAP cloud application software includes:

  • ERP and Finance
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Experience (CX)
  • Human Resources (HR) /  Human Capital Management (HCM) and People Engagement
  • Network and Spend Management
  • Business Technology Platform.

Supply Chain includes supply chain planning, supply chain logistics, manufacturing, product lifecycle management, and enterprise asset management. 

Business Technology Platform includes database and data management, application development and integration, analytics, and intelligent technologies. 

Which Types of Businesses Use SAP?

The largest companies and small businesses to medium-sized enterprises (SME), in a wide range of industries, use the SAP ERP software. These businesses use targeted products that fit their business needs and budgets. Most Fortune 1000 companies are SAP customers. 

Multi-national businesses use the SAP ERP system, which is offered in many languages. SAP handles multi-currency transactions and payments, different accounting standards, and government regulations compliance by country. 

Public companies needing the abundant SAP features that meet their financial reporting requirements, use SAP ERP. 

Businesses using SAP Cloud ERP include these industries:

  • Energy and natural resources
  • High tech
  • Service industries
  • Automotive and industrial
  • Aerospace and defense
  • Building products
  • Chemicals
  • Financial services
  • Consumer industries, including retail and wholesale
  • Healthcare and life sciences
  • Higher education

Companies with needs for production planning, material management, warehouse management, manufacturing, and quality management, and project management use the SAP business management system.

A group of people sitting at a table and talking.

How Much Does SAP Cost?

The cost for SAP Cloud ERP and other SAP Cloud software starts with a choice of two pricing models: (1) consumption-based on usage or (2) subscription-based. Add consulting, training and implementation, third party add-on software, and SAP service costs. SAP ERP on-premises cost is a capital expenditure for a long-term license fee and adds customization costs. Besides its top-tier priced product, SAP offers lower-cost ERP software products to smaller companies.  

How Does AP Automation Software Integration Work With SAP? 

AP automation software integrates seamlessly with SAP ERP solutions through a flat-file or API connection. Tipalti payables and payments automation SaaS add-on software uses flat-file integration with SAP ERP, which efficiently handles the largest global mass payments. Tipalti streamlines and reduces accounts payable workflows and fraud risks, beginning with self-service supplier onboarding.

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What Are The Primary Features and Advantages of SAP?

 Meets public, enterprise company requirements


 Handles global businesses and operations in 180 countries

 Choice of CRM, including SAP CRM or Salesforce integration

 Applies artificial intelligence, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and blockchain

SAP ERP on the cloud platform, on-premises, or hybrid offers software solutions that handle the most complex accounting, business operations, financial reporting, real-time business intelligence for decision-making for even the largest global companies.

SAP software is available in many languages of the countries in which it’s licensed to end-users. SAP ERP offers multi-currency recording and payments and multi-entity consolidation. SAP systems help businesses comply with applicable accounting standards for financial accounting and government regulations worldwide.  

Intelligent technologies in the Business Technology Platform include AI, ML, IoT, and blockchain, which can improve business intelligence, also monitor equipment for breakdowns and required maintenance, and reduce product defects.

A woman is talking on the phone while sitting at a table with a laptop.

How to Implement & Use SAP?

 Create a plan to implement SAP.

 Choose third-party add-on software.

 Use experienced SAP consultants, IT staff, and employees from each business application

 Get buy-in throughout the organization.

 Complete SAP ERP training for your business applications

 Review your business processes.

 View SAP videos.

 Read online resources from customer support, including the SAP Portal for Help.

Which ERP Systems are Comparable to SAP?


Oracle ERP

Comparing SAP ERP with the  Oracle ERP solution, SAP HANA and other versions are used by mid-sized and large enterprise companies. SAP has software products aimed at SME businesses. Both Oracle ERP and SAP ERP offer cloud, on-premises, or hybrid solutions. Oracle ERP software uses much newer code in its cloud software than the SAP S4/HANA platform.



Workday is a true cloud ERP competitor to SAP ERP for finance, human resources,  planning, and other business functions. The largest enterprises and mid-sized companies use Workday ERP. Gartner considers Workday a leader in cloud core financial management suites, cloud HCM suites, and cloud financial planning & analysis (FP&A) suites.


Oracle NetSuite

Oracle owns NetSuite. NetSuite is a comprehensive true cloud solution ERP system that competes with all SAP ERP products, especially those serving SME businesses like SAP ERP Business One and SAP Business ByDesign. NetSuite does target market enterprise-level customers and has some Fortune 100 customers.



Orion ERP is a comprehensive software system from 3iInfotech in India for global businesses operating in over 50 countries. Orion ERP also offers human resources and CRM software.