Businesses need a centralized backend system for efficiently conducting operations, which is why enterprise resource planning solutions (ERP) have become the standard kit for all but the smallest firms.
But there’s historically been a big challenge with ERP: the time and expense involved with rolling out and maintaining such comprehensive software solutions. SAP’s new clean core concept solves this historical pain point.
Solving the Problem of Customization
Previously, businesses that chose one of the industry-standard ERP offerings from SAP selected a complete solution such as Business One for small businesses, Business ByDesign for fast-growing smaller businesses, or SAP S/4HANA Cloud for large enterprises. During implementation, the business would then integrate add-on modules, connect integrations with third-party solutions such as ecommerce fulfillment platforms, and develop custom code for desired functionality.
One of the major problems with this typical approach was the burden of developing and maintaining these integrations and custom code solutions that tied into the main platform. These integrations and customizations complicate software updates, and require ongoing maintenance by the business or ERP support partners such as Navigator Business Solutions.
These integrations and custom code solutions also often would struggle to take advantage of the full capabilities of the ERP platform—they couldn’t always hook into the full range of automation, analytics and other platform capabilities such as SAP’s artificial intelligence engine since they were glomming onto the system instead coming baked into the core ERP solution.
SAP understood the problem, though. Businesses need quick rollouts and updates, easier customization, and better agility since technology and business evolution now moves at a rapid clip. So over the past few years, SAP has been rearchitecting its offerings with this in mind. The clean core concept and SAP’s Business Technology Platform is central to a new, more flexible ERP paradigm.
Understanding the Clean Core
The clean core concept fundamentally is a simple one: Instead of building the full range of business functionality into a single, large software solution, each SAP ERP solution now consists of a small core and plugins that natively tie directly into the core
With this new methodology, the foundation of the ERP solution stays small, light and flexible. Businesses then can add on the additional functionality they need by going to SAP’s Business Technology Platform (BTP), an online marketplace. SAP offerings always have been modular, but with this new approach the ERP solution that a business uses is kept clean and without unneeded bloat. At the same time, the BTP extends the possible functionality of the platform and gives a much larger range of options than existed before.
A business starts with the clean core of its chosen ERP solution, then selects the additional functionality it needs.
The Advantages of a Clean Core
There are many advantages of this clean core approach.1 - Easier Customization
Because SAP ERP solutions now are built on a clean core that taps into functionality through the BTP, custom code is simpler and more powerful. A business or its ERP support partner can build the needed functionality on the BTP and avoid issues during software upgrades because the ERP core is updated without the need to modify the custom code or make sure it keep working.
Customization through the BTP also can now easily tap into core SAP services and integrate more deeply with the ERP solution. It is relatively trivial to hook in SAP artificial intelligence, automation, security and analytics with custom-made functions now.2 - Faster Custom Development
Visual editors built into the platform make the creation of custom functionality faster and more accessible, too. A drag-and-drop development environment means that businesses and authorized employees can quickly mix data flows and services for the desired functionality.
Shopify data can be mixed with inventory and analyzed by AI, for instance, then piped through compliance and logistics modules to get exactly what the business needs in the way it needs it. Easily. Without necessarily needing to even engage with a developer.3 - More Access to Enterprise-Level Features
The BTP expands what ERP can do, because now businesses can tap into many of the innovations and functionality that previously were only available in the larger ERP offerings.
The core of a given ERP solution matches the scale of a business, but all SAP platforms tap into the same BTP online marketplace for functionality outside the core. So when new functionality is developed by SAP or one of its partners, a business can tap into it without having to upgrade to a larger solution.4 - Added Agility
The clean core concept makes upgrades to a larger ERP solution much easier as well.
Previously, a business would have to migrate processes and functionality to the larger SAP offering during a platform upgrade. But since most functionality now lives in the BTP, moving to a larger solution as the business grows now only requires moving to a new clean core. Most of the functionality stays the same, because it lives in the BTP and is not baked into the core.
Adding or changing functionality, and integrating with new third-party services also is easier with this modular approach.
Learn More About How the Clean Core Can Help Your Business Grow
The clean core is a new paradigm. If you currently are running an SAP solution and want help understanding how to best take advantage of this new model, or you are a new business thinking about implementing an ERP, we’re here to help. As an SAP Gold Partner with more than 25 years of ERP implementation experience, we deeply understand both SAP products and the needs of businesses today.
For more on the clean core, or help with ERP in general, contact one of our experienced consultants at (801) 642-0123 or by writing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.