What is SAP Business One?

By Ryan Howe
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SAP Business One is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software specifically designed for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). It’s a business process management system that allows SME owners to centralize their operations, from accounting and finance, sales, procurement, analytics and reporting, manufacturing, distribution, inventory, and more. In a nutshell, SAP Business One can help companies streamline operations, make stronger data-backed decisions, and grow sustainably.

SAP Business One originally came to market as “TopManage” in 1996. It was acquired by the German company, SAP SE, in 2002 and rebranded as SAP Business One. In its 26 years, SAP Business One has grown to serve nearly a million users in over 160 countries. It is a top ERP product for growing small to midsize businesses around the world, in a huge variety of industries.  

ERP solutions, especially in the context of improving operational efficiency, are a hot topic for many business owners and executives. So, in this blog, we’ll cover some of the most common questions about SAP Business One and share all the pertinent details you need to know before making a decision that will impact your business.

What Functionality Does SAP Business One Have?

Like other ERP systems, SAP Business One encompasses the core features and functionality required to streamline business operations, improve collaboration, enhance process efficiencies. By connecting critical departments and operational areas in one centralized system, SAP Business One serves all areas of your business, including:

  • Finance
  • Sales and service
  • Manufacturing management
  • Purchasing and inventory control
  • Procurement and supply chain
  • Inventory management
  • Warehouse management
  • Quality management
  • Reporting and real-time analytics
  • Human resources management

In addition to the above functionality modules, SAP Business One also includes SAP HANA (High-Performance Analytical Appliance), an optional in-memory relational database management system that can process colossal amounts of real-time data much faster than a SQL database. Using SAP HANA, your team can see accurate data about what’s happening in your business at a moment’s notice so you can make smarter decisions faster. Instead of looking back at what happened weeks ago, you can identify trends as they’re happening and adapt your operations to solve a potential problem or capitalize on an opportunity.

How is SAP Business One Deployed?

SAP Business One is touted for its flexibility, offering two database and two deployment options. You can choose between a SQL database or SAP HANA. As previously mentioned, HANA will be faster than SQL. Once you’ve decided on SAP Business One and the type of database you want, you then need to choose whether on-premise, cloud, or hybrid deployment is best for your business.  

With cloud and many hybrid deployments, you can easily access SAP Business One in a browser on a mobile device, or you can use the SAP Business One Mobile app to access your data. You’ll be able to see reports, visualizations, dashboards, manage sales and service call activities, sync contacts and calendar, and manage your supply chain and purchasing, including monitoring inventory.  

There are some, more rare cases where on-premise deployment makes sense, such as companies with large dedicated IT teams, deep pockets for IT infrastructure and security, and plenty of space for IT equipment who are adamant about ownership and control of their systems. For most SMBs, the cloud is generally the most affordable with the best security.  

There are many advantages to the cloud version of SAP Business One. Deploying software in the cloud means someone else is covering the most expensive parts of IT for you, like:

  • Dedicated 24/7 world-class security team, continuous leak detection, and information security management infrastructure.
  • Twelve data centers worldwide, with top-quality IT infrastructure, carrying the highest security standards to safeguard your data and ensure compliance with international privacy legislations.
  • Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI DSS) compliance for card payment processing.
  • Twice daily complete backups.
  • Instant access to all your data, all the time.

SAP Business One in the cloud means you don’t have to shell out upfront for tons of IT equipment and a dedicated team with security expertise to set up, run, and maintain your technology infrastructure, plus manage backups and server uptime. SAP’s dedicated teams take care of all the behind-the-scenes headaches, so you don’t have to worry about server crashes, data leaks, hackers, or malware.

What Companies & Industries Typically Use SAP Business One?

SAP Business One is used in a variety of industries from manufacturing, energy and natural resources, service and maintenance, consumer products, finance, public services, governments, and educational institutions. 

Clients First has found that SAP Business One is particularly well suited to manufacturing, distribution, and specialty retail companies.  We have worked with and continue to support clients with SAP Business One across industries from specialty food products to high precision motion control equipment, home goods to adhesives and sealants, and aerosols to heavy equipment parts. We also serve distribution clients from filters and jewelry to B2B purchasing cooperatives.  

With fifteen different modules that cover all the normal functions in the average business, SAP Business One is highly adaptable to a myriad of industries. It is customizable to suit growing businesses, expanding and connecting different departments as a business develops. With flexible hosting options and several opportunities for customization and integrations, companies can choose the model that works best for them without being locked in or limited.  

Below are a few examples of the businesses that Clients First works with and what their leadership teams had to say about SAP Business One and our services:

IKI Manufacturing

IKI Manufacturing is an aerosol manufacturer serving countless industries, including healthcare.

Andy Walker, CEO and President, says: “We couldn’t have doubled our volume with our previous technology and manual processes. Since going live on SAP Business One, we have been able to increase production from 40 million aerosol cans to 80 million cans a year.”

Nabtesco Motion Control, Inc.

Nabtesco is the largest precision manufacturer of cycloidal gearboxes in the world. They’re the top choice whenever precise motion control is needed.

Jim Grusczynski, Business Development Manager, says: “It’s always a pleasure working with Clients First because I know I’m going to get 100% effort from their support team. If they don’t have an answer, they don’t blow smoke—they just find it. And as soon as they get an answer, we move forward.”

Translectric Inc.

Translectric Inc. manufactures and distributes aftermarket parts and components for heavy equipment, serving industries like construction, agriculture, and mining.

Ruth Niswonger, CEO, says: “Choosing the right partner is critical to the success of SAP Business one. Clients First’s level of knowledge and willingness to share it showed us that no matter what your level of experience is with SAP, you can learn it to enable better business decisions.”

ALLPRO Corporation

ALLPRO is a B2B buying cooperative that connects paint and décor suppliers across the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

Michael Beaudoin, Executive Vice President, says: “When Clients First commits to a timeline, they keep it. When they commit to an experience, they deliver. They invest the time to understand what’s needed, and as a result, they’ve lived up to everything they said they were going to do and more.”

Mario Camacho Foods

Mario Camacho Foods is a specialty importer of olives and various other unique food products.

Jeff McMahon, CFO, says: “We can now double our revenues with only a 3% increase in labor cost. Clients First definitely delivered on all their original promises.”

What Benefits Will I Get From Using SAP Business One?

When you choose an SAP Business One partner to develop a sustainable transition plan and work collaboratively to achieve a successful implementation, you’ll see many benefits from SAP Business One. Here are just a few of the ways that SAP Business One can help you see results in your business within the first few months of implementation:

  • Reduced operation and administration costs by streamlining workflows and reducing the costs of having and maintaining many disparate business management apps.
  • Better collaboration across the entire business because every team can access the data they need when needed, so they work more efficiently and reduce manual data tasks.
  • Cleaner data and better business insights because a single central data repository means a much lower risk of data errors, and better access to clean data means better business insights.
  • Excellent data security with backups, controls, and security for sensitive information and permission settings to ensure access for the right people.
  • Scalable to grow with your business, from a small or midsized startup to a large enterprise, SAP Business One grows with you.
  • Real-time data access for forecasting, analysis, adapting plans quickly, and keeping your customers informed of what’s happening with their orders.
  • Tailored to fit your business with various modules designed for the challenges of different departments, from purchasing to sales to inventory to production to finance. In particular SAP Business One has several features aimed directly at manufacturing, learn more in 6 Reasons to Choose SAP Business One for Manufacturing.
  • Enhanced customer service because employees spend less time on manual and redundant data entry, so they have more time to build strong relationships and help your customers succeed.

The benefits your business will experience from SAP Business One depend on your industry and the modules you choose to use, but most importantly, it relies on a successful, well-planned implementation. It’s critical to take time in the beginning to work collaboratively with a seasoned SAP Business One partner on a detailed implementation and training plan.

How Much Does SAP Business One Cost?

While many factors can affect SAP Business One pricing, here we’ll go over the base numbers for the most commonly purchased licenses. 

The two main types of licenses for SAP Business One are:

  • SAP Business One Professional License 
  • SAP Business One Limited License

SAP Business One Professional Licenses are full licenses with access to every module and feature, as well as access to the Software Development Kit (SDK). You can choose subscription or perpetual pricing for the pro license. A perpetual pro license is $3,123 per user, plus an annual maintenance fee. A monthly subscription pro license is $108 per user at the time of this article’s publish date, with no additional maintenance fees.  

SAP Business One Limited Licenses are partial licenses and come in three different groups, with access to specific modules relevant to each type of license. You can choose from CRM, Financials, or Logistics limited licenses. Each license has edit access for the modules pertinent to that area of business, as well as view, print, or partial access to other operational data. Limited licenses are also available as perpetual or subscription licenses. The perpetual limited license cost is $1,666 per user plus an annual maintenance fee. The subscription limited license cost at the time of this article’s publish date is $56 per user per month, with no annual maintenance fee. 

You can get the latest pricing and learn more about the different license types and what access they include in our free  SAP Business One Pricing Guide. But if you’re ready to get down to brass tax, get in touch with our team for a personalized quote.

How Do I Know if SAP Business One is Right for My Business?

When it’s time to start looking for a new (or replacement) ERP system, there are numerous solutions to choose from. SAP Business One is just one, but it’s popular for a reason. So why do business owners worldwide choose SAP Business One for their enterprise?

  1. Flexible and scalable. SAP Business One is designed to grow with your business, from small to whatever your growth goals are. It can be simplified or expanded as needed to fit just the requirements of your company. Clients First can help you determine what your business needs from SAP Business One.
  2. Fits your budget. Budget is always a focus when choosing any new business asset for growth. ERPs often give a bit of sticker shock, but the adage you have to spend money to make money is true here. You want to be careful to ensure you get the ROI you need on an ERP investment. SAP Business One is an affordable choice for smaller businesses looking to start with ERP to improve efficiencies, streamline operations, and become more competitive.
  3. Integrates all business units. Some business management software only connects a few departments in your business. You might be running different apps for inventory, finance, eCommerce, scheduling, and a CRM. SAP Business One streamlines all your business functions into one central repository of information and data. This means it’s easier for your team to collaborate and work more efficiently than ever before, and in the end, it usually more affordable than managing, maintaining, and reconciling the information from multiple apps.
  4. Clients First partner support is unparalleled. Clients First is committed to understanding your business and setting up SAP Business One in a way that works best for your team and your goals. Working in SAP Business One can be complicated; you need a partner to support and set everything up so that you can seamlessly do your job instead of struggling with software and technology. Clients First will always be responsive and won’t leave you fumbling on your own.

See how SAP Business One stacks up to one of its biggest midmarket ERP competitors: NetSuite.

Compare SAP Business One vs. NetSuite

So, how do you know if SAP Business One is the best ERP solution for your organization? There are some important steps to take before making that decision:

  1. Take advantage of other online resources to evaluate how SAP Business One functions. We offer an extensive library of video tips, tutorials, trainings, and webinars to our customers and prospects: Clients First Free SAP Business One Training Center.
  2. Take the time to compare SAP Business One with other popular ERPs, like NetSuite or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
  3. Talk to other business owners, executives, or manager about their ERP solution and find out what they like, don’t like, or other insightful feedback.
  4. Consult with an ERP software partner that offers more than one ERP solution. Clients First offers a wide range of ERP platforms and technology expertise so we can match the software to your business, not the other way around.

Where Can I See SAP Business One in Action?

SAP Business One might be an excellent option for your organization, but you probably still have a few questions and are wondering how it could be applied to your unique business. The key to any successful ERP selection and implementation project is working with a partner who will understand your business and help you achieve your goals while providing ongoing support.  

Clients First will take the time to get to know your business inside and out, so we can ensure the ideal setup for your needs, budget, and timeline. We’ll never upsell you on features you don’t need, and we’ll tell you if we think it may not be the best choice for you.  

Book a free no-obligation demo of SAP Business One so you can see how it works, get an idea of how it could be applied to your business, and ask any further questions you might have. Our team of experts will help you find the right solution for you.

Ryan Howe

Ryan Howe

Partner, Clients First Business Solutions New Jersey

Ryan Howe is a Certified Public Accountant turned SAP Business One consultant. Leading the SAP Business One practice at Clients First, Ryan has over 23 years’ experience in the financial management and ERP industry, specializing in business analysis, relationship building, and business process optimization. When he’s not helping customers leverage SAP Business One to meet their short and long-term needs, you can find him at any Michigan State sporting event with his family – go Spartans!