When it comes to project management, the challenges faced by a research laboratory are very different from those faced by companies in other sectors, such as construction or IT services – as is our case. Despite their different starting points, all companies face certain challenges that make an IT system essential. By offering companies extensive support in planning and controlling everyday processes, these types of solutions enable significant cost and resource savings. SAP’s Project Management module is a market leader in this respect.
SAP R/1 was initially developed as finance software with monochromatic phosphorus green display screens and an austere alphanumeric interface. Project management was included among SAP’s functionalities for the first time as part of the “RK-P” module that was incorporated into the new R/2.
R/3 brought improvements to graphics and the project management component was renamed the SAP PS (Project System) module. Its most important additions included new functionalities and integration with other modules. Moreover, it made it possible to display Gantt diagrams on client’s PC colour monitors.
SAP S/4HANA has revolutionised the world of ERP. In addition to offering project management on an SAP platform with a HANA database and other technical advantages, it also offers the option of using a Fiori mobile environment to exponentially increase usability.
Companies using project-based management generally have multiple projects on the go, making it necessary to strategically manage these projects jointly across the organisation. While portfolio management is separate from project management, it is an important functionality for organisations dealing with multiple projects and initiatives simultaneously. Its value lies in providing companies with a general overview of their projects and initiatives as a whole, including how the latter are connected with one another, offering support in strategic decision-making. This was the reason for the development of the SAP RPM (Resource & Portfolio Management) add-on. While it initially required a BW environment to operate, it became an integral component of SAP S/4HANA starting with version 1709. It comes with its own project management module (PPM Project Management, previously called cProject) and a corporate document manager (previously called cFolders).
On the other hand, cost and resource planning tends to be an obstacle for companies working on commercial projects. To address this issue, SAP created the SAP CPM (Commercial Project Management) solution, which is currently embedded in SAP S/4HANA.
As a result of these changes in SAP’s project management tools, SAP EPPM (Enterprise Portfolio and Project Management) has been trending in the world of program and project management solutions. It currently includes the following components:
SAP Project System (PS): The main project management solution in this ERP software. It addresses the financial and logistical needs of project-oriented processes in all CAPEX, OPEX and revenue project scenarios. Its variety of functionalities include budget control, a project inventory, inter-business processes, liquidations, profit/loss analysis, etc. Combining these capabilities with integration with other SAP modules make PS stand out among EPPM solutions.
SAP Portfolio & Project Management (PPM): Previously, SAP PPM could operate on its own on a system separate from ECC. Starting with SAP S/4HANA 1709, the latest PPM application is now a part of the S/4HANA core. SAP PPM has multiple noteworthy features. These include:
This module does not use account assignment objects. Purchase orders cannot be directly recorded in PPM. To do so, integration with the PS module is necessary.
SAP Commercial Project Management (CPM): This component was launched in 2012 and uses master projects that can be linked to one or multiple SAP PS Projects. CPM contains three main components: the Project Workspace, Project Cost and Revenue Planning, and Project Issue and Change Management.
SAP Enterprise Project Connection (EPC): EPC replaces Open PS. It connects an on-premise SAP system with other project management tools, such as Oracle Primavera or Microsoft Project Server.
SAP Innovation Management (INO): This component is a precursor to SAP PPM during the ideation phase, developing a culture of innovation at organizations. SAP INO is a native HANA application. SAP Multiresource Scheduling (MRS): This is a resource management solution that lets you plan and analize capacities. It integrates with SAP’s Project System, HCM and PPM project management.
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