SAP Business Suite is a bundle of end-to-end enterprise software applications that integrate data, processes and functions for important areas such as finance, sales and HR, as well as industry-focused features. Business Suite is meant to help companies run business operations more efficiently, keep costs low and reveal new market opportunities.
Business Suite is used primarily by medium to large enterprises. Although it is currently in wide use with SAP customers, the vendor intends for its customers to eventually switch to S/4HANA, and it does not offer Business Suite to new customers.
The Business Suite bundle
The foundation of Business Suite is SAP ERP, often referred to as ERP Central Component (ECC).
ECC is typically composed of the following functional modules:
- Financial Accounting, which manages financial transactions;
- Controlling, which manages accounting and financial planning;
- Sales and Distribution, which manages major sales and distribution processes;
- Materials Management, which helps companies manage procurement and inventory;
- Production Planning, which helps businesses align supply and demand;
- Quality Management, which enables businesses to implement quality control;
- Plant Maintenance, which monitors machines and factories;
- Customer Service, which helps manage business processes for external customers;
- Project System, which helps to manage complex, large-scale projects, such as setting up a new manufacturing plant; and
- Human Capital Management, which manages payroll and other functions that HR oversees.
Companies can choose to activate some or all of the above components, and the first two are often referred to as FICO. However, there are two mandatory technical modules of ECC that companies must implement: ABAP and SAP NetWeaver.
Since early 2013, SAP has also offered the option to run Business Suite on HANA, the vendor's next-generation in-memory platform, which is meant to enable users to run real-time business operations and analytics. This product is sometimes referred to as Suite on HANA. It's an option meant for companies that want faster processing and more flexibility, but that are not ready or do not want to move to SAP's newest ERP and business suite, S/4HANA.
In addition to the SAP ERP foundation, Business Suite includes the following components:
- Customer Relationship Management, which focuses on sales and marketing;
- Supplier Relationship Management, which covers procure-to-pay and collaborative service procurement;
- Product Lifecycle Management, which helps to manage a company's product lifecycle needs; and
- Supply Chain Management, which focuses on business planning, logistics and order fulfillment.
The future of Business Suite on ECC
S/4HANA -- or Business Suite 4 SAP HANA -- is written natively for HANA and is SAP's in-memory version of the Business Suite platform. It takes advantage of the SAP Fiori user experience, along with a number of other innovations.
The vendor intends for its customers to move to S/4HANA. Support for Business Suite on ECC is currently slated to run out in 2025.