Book review: "SAP Business ONE Implementation"

A short while ago I was sent a review copy of “SAP Business ONE Implementation”, by Wolfgang Niefert, published by Packt Publishing. On receipt, I skimmed through it, and my first impressions were very favourable. I’m now reading through it a second time as I sit with a cup of tea and a slice of cake in North Wales on a Bank Holiday weekend, and I’m happy to say that my opinion hasn’t changed.

To give you a bit of background, I’m an SAP veteran of 22 years – starting out with R/2 version 4.1d in 1987, moving through R/3 in the mid-90’s and on to Enterprise and beyond. But this is the first time I’ve studied SAP Business ONE in any detail. So while I have a lot of experience of SAP’s traditional products, I’m approaching SAP Business ONE, and “SAP Business ONE Implementation” more as the potential owner of a small business.

I certainly haven’t been disappointed. “SAP Business ONE Implementation” is written “for technically savvy business owners, entrepreneurs and departmental managers”. And I think by and large the book does a great job of reaching out to and connecting with exactly that audience. I was expecting the book to be a fairly technically orientated implementation how-to. But it is more than that. It takes you from business first principles, connecting well at the level of sales, delivery, inventory, warehousing, manufacturing and other business challenges. It explains how SAP Business ONE is designed to address those challenges, and guides you through installation, implementation and some configuration of the system. Once the basics have been established, it moves further to cover project planning, reporting and analysis, business process analysis, customer relationship management, logistics & supply chain management, contract management, and ends up addressing, albeit briefly, more complex reporting tools and topics, data migration, and electronic commerce.

The book has fewer than 300 pages. A book that addresses the areas that this book does could easily be twice that size. But that’s where this book does well. It’s an approachable, undaunting and really rather good introduction to running your business with SAP Business ONE. The writing style is very easygoing, and informative without being patronising. There are plenty of examples, and all the screenshots you’d need. It doesn’t try to be a reference book. It does try to be a sort of hybrid guide to solving the business and technical challenges of running a small or medium sized company using SAP software, and I would say that it succeeds.

If you’re a small business owner considering stepping up and taking control of your business with SAP Business ONE, if you’ve already got SAP Business ONE and want to explore more application features at a high level, or if even if (like me) you’re an SAP hacker wanting to learn about what SAP Business ONE can do, then you could do a lot worse than grab a copy of this book.