With proven expertise across 25 industries and an end-to-end suite of intelligent enterprise solutions, SAP has triumphantly cemented its position in the enterprise application software market. According to the World Economic Forum, SAP customers constitute 87% of total global commerce. Right from the R/2 commercial mainframe applications designed in the 1970s to the latest SAP S/4 HANA and its enormous suite of intelligent software products, SAP solutions have enhanced the competency of organizations with deep business insights and improved enterprise collaboration. SAP solutions include both technical and functional modules. While SAP ABAP, SAP Basis, SAP Security, SAP Solution Manager, CRM, etc. are technical modules, components such as Material Management (MM), Production Planning (PP), Financial Accounting and Controlling (FICO), etc. are examples of functional modules. All these modules of SAP closely integrate with each other to provide the best functionalities and solutions for businesses.
This post analyzes ABAP, one of the core technical modules of SAP, to understand how the platform enables businesses to run better.
What is SAP ABAP?
Advanced Business Application Programming or SAP ABAP is the principal programming language supported on the SAP NetWeaver ABAP server and the applications that run on it. Typical examples of ABAP-based applications include SAP ERP (previously known as R/3) and the present SAP S/4HANA.
SAP ABAP is the oldest and the most popular of SAP’s four key application platforms, together with SAP NetWeaver Java, SAP HANA, and SAP Cloud Platform. ABAP is used by SAP to deploy its applications on the NetWeaver ABAP platform. It’s different from the universal programming languages like Java because all ABAP programs and compiled code reside only in the SAP system. ABAP is renowned as the proprietary fourth-generation programming language (4GL) of SAP, developed to process massive volumes of data in SAP business applications.
ABAP enables businesses to customize their workflows related to material management, production management, supply chain management, financial accounting, and all other modules of SAP. This helps businesses reduce the time-consuming manual processes involved in data processing, particularly when they have more data to process.
Though some of the popular SAP applications such as SuccessFactors, SAP Ariba, SAP Business One etc. run on other programming languages, the role of ABAP is crucial, especially when these applications integrate with ABAP-based applications such as SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA. As of 2021, there are five million registered ABAP developers worldwide, which indicates the robustness and credibility of the ABAP foundation for a wide range of SAP business applications.
How does SAP ABAP accelerate business transformation?
ABAP was developed by SAP to enhance and expand the functionality of SAP systems. Here’s how ABAP is adding value to SAP users across the globe.
1. Aids mission-critical business processes
Since the 1980s, ABAP technology has been serving as the rock-solid foundation of SAP’s application portfolio. Several mission-critical business functions rely on ABAP for its scalability, robustness, and extensibility. ABAP is the underlying technology that steers SAP’s celebrated platforms and flagship suites such as SAP S/4HANA, SAP ERP (R3), and the next-generation data warehouse – SAP BW4/HANA. Thus, ABAP helps monitor and improve strategic business measures.
2. Enables customization of SAP business applications
Due to its availability as an independent platform, ABAP is primarily used to develop cutting-edge, bespoke SAP business applications. Custom ABAP development allows users to configure and tailor SAP modules based on their business requirements. Since the initial days of ABAP, SAP customers and partners have established a tradition of creating custom codes and add-ons that function effectively on the ABAP platform.
3. A holistic development platform
ABAP combines the innovative capabilities of SAP HANA (SAP’s in-memory database), the power and consistency of the ABAP server, and the digital UX potential of SAP Fiori (SAP’s UI technology). All these features make it a holistic development and runtime platform. Continuous developments by SAP make ABAP capable of addressing new business scenarios.
4. Reduces the development cost
ABAP offers a centralized, shared, and integrated development environment that allows multiple developers to work on the same development objects simultaneously. Hence, it’s easy to track the changes to development objects and push them to QA or production environments, without losing version control. The integrated, self-compiling nature of ABAP helps reduce the development cost.
5. Offers excellent development environment and tools
The key highlight of ABAP Platform 2021 (the underlying technology of SAP S/4HANA), is the ABAP Development Tools (ADT) that support the entire development lifecycle in Eclipse IDE. It improves the efficiency of developers and offers enhanced SAP HANA capabilities. ABAP Platform 2021 facilitates the seamless transformation of your existing SAP business suite to SAP S/4HANA (cloud or on-premise) and SAP BTP (Business Technology Platform).
6. Improved focus on user experience
ABAP RESTful Application Programming Model promotes the development of SAP HANA-optimized Web APIs, SAP UI5, and Fiori applications. ABAP development tools support browser-based, device-responsive, and role-based development of application functions. It enables users to switch to different devices and collaborate effortlessly.
7. Extensible to the cloud
ABAP Platform 2021 has been improvised to create customized extensions in the cloud. The growing number of SAP customers who’re adopting SAP S/4HANA Cloud will benefit from ABAP’s tailored extensibility. The users will get access to more innovative features developed by SAP and can keep their software up-to-date with regular patches and upgrades.
8. Change and transport management
ABAP offers comprehensive change and transport management for the development projects organized in the ABAP Workbench and also helps in customizing those projects. It also facilitates to transport the changes between the SAP systems in your environment.
How can Fingent help your businesses unlock the potential of SAP ABAP?
ABAP is primarily a developer-friendly language. However, associating with the right SAP partner can help even the non-technical SAP users to master the technology. We’ve helped several businesses in identifying, customizing, implementing, and maintaining ABAP within their SAP systems. As a Silver Partner of SAP, we help customers cut their development efforts and costs, reduce technical complexities, and bridge skill gaps. Our SAP application development practice enables businesses and aces IT professionals to collaborate effectively and deliver cutting-edge enterprise applications across any platform, device, and tech stack in the shortest span.
Whether you’re building an ABAP application from scratch or are planning to refurbish your existing SAP application, we can help you analyze the requirements, estimate the time-to-market, calculate the budget, evaluate the change’s impact, and finally, distinguish your offering from competitors. Our solutions have streamlined the workflows and modernized the business practices of many leading brands. Talk to an expert to learn more.