Why Cooperate with an SAP Outsourcing Partner: Reasons, Roles, and Duties

Updated 06 Jun 2023

9 Min




It’s clear: if you’ve invested in SAP as the primary tool, you want it to be tailored to your business processes. That’s a task for SAP developers – to customize the suite helping your company to get the most of it.

But SAP development is a narrow field that often lacks IT experts (or they simply charge too much).

At this point, it may be worth to start looking for an SAP outsourcing partner.

In this guide, we’re explaining the basics of SAP outsourcing – what’s SAP developer role, how to pick the right team, and why you should consider SAP outsourcing in the first place.

SAP Development Modules

But first, let’s figure out what exactly you can customize.

Today, SAP is one of the market leaders in building business software for any-size companies. According to Statista, just in the third quarter of 2019, SAP earned 6.8 billion euros.

SAP ERP solution is one of the best products for optimizing day-to-day processes in enterprises. And flexibility is one of the reasons – the ERP system does give room for maneuver.

So SAP development is mostly about bridging a gap between the actual software performance and the desired one.

Here’s the list of most popular SAP technical modules for customization:

  • SAP Financial Accounting (FI)
  • SAP Controlling (CO)
  • SAP Sales and Distribution (SD)
  • SAP Production Planning (PP)
  • SAP Materials Management (MM)
  • SAP Quality Management (QM)
  • SAP Human Capital Management (HCM)

Let’s take a more detailed look at each.

Financial Accounting

SAP Finance module deals with financial and business transactions, helps the company’s staff to manage financial data in a unified system, and get the real-time position of the company in the market. SAP FI module is very flexible and works in any type of economic situation.

How SAP finance module looks like

SAP finance module


Supports planning, reporting, and operations monitoring. SAP controlling module helps companies to plan, track, perform and report about costs. It allows the management and configuration of master data that covers cost elements, cost centers, profit centers, and more.

Production planning

SAP production planning module includes software designed for production planning and management. It consists of master data, system configuration, and the transaction to accomplish the plan procedure for production.

How SAP production module looks like

SAP production module board

Sales and distribution

SAP sales and distribution module deals with transaction management – from inquiries and proposals to quotations and pricing. It largely helps with inventory control and management, and stores details about customers, materials, and business partners.

How SAP sales module looks like

SAP sales module

Material management

Supports supply and inventory management functions used in various business operations. SAP material module manages the materials required, processed, and produced in enterprises.

How SAP material management module looks like

SAP material management module

Quality management

SAP quality module helps to optimize the work of maintenance dept, logistics, and production units. Its functionality ensures the safe use of equipment, compliance with regulatory requirements, and quality control of work.

How quality management module looks in SAP

SAP quality management module

Human capital management

SAP HR module allows automating the record-keeping processes. It’s an ideal solution for the HR team to take care of the administration and payroll documents, and preparing reports on staff costs.

How SAP HCM looks like

SAP human capital management module

These are the main modules SAP developers have to adjust to meet the specific requirements of their company.

Still, SAP devs often bear more responsibilities than customizing different modules in SAP.

What else are they responsible for?

Let’s check it out.

SAP Developers Role, Skills, and Responsibilities

Not every tech person – not even a high-expertise developer – can be an SAP engineer.

A brilliant SAP developer is both a tech expert and a well-taught consultant – a translator between the business and the tech side.

Looking for SAP experts?

We’ll help with maximizing returns on your SAP investments.

SAP developer role is to take overall responsibility for the SAP environment, including datacenter, infrastructure, SAP Basis services, databases, and more. They deeply understand the statement of the business problem and see all possible solutions.

It’s much more business-related and less algorithm intensive.

That’s why SAP devs should have basic business understanding, know the tables used by SAP, and be ready to deal with sophisticated reports and analyses.

Mostly, SAP dev tasks are related to trivial data processing. But in large enterprises even this everyday work gets way too complex.

Just imagine: enterprize SAP developers have to deal with collecting data from a whole lot of ERP modules. Along with managing hundreds of possible scenarios of data postings.

What SAP developers are responsible for?

  • developing custom transactions and reports in the existing ERP;
  • developing the middleware that connects ERP and standalone 3rd party software;
  • mobile apps development;
  • developing or assisting in the development of software that utilizes the usage of SAP APIs;
  • integrating ERP into an enterprise ecosystem.

What Skills SAP Developers Have?

SAP ERP is built on top of a database platform, and the programming language devs use to write SAP customizations is called ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming).

SAP (ABAP) developer skills stretch from making a custom transaction with the help of built-in functions to the development of stand-alone apps.

Speaking of ERP software, it has to be integrated into business processes and eco-systems, which is carried out using SAP API's. It allows developers to create stand-alone software that interacts with the ERP and the data in it.

The skill set required for SAP (ABAP) developer:

  • Proficiency in ABAP
  • Experience with ABAP Object Oriented programming
  • Knowledge of SAP core modules
  • Development skill in S/4 HANA environments
  • Experience in Fiori, NetWeaver Gateway, OData Services

Reasons for SAP Outsourcing

According to Glassdoor, SAP developer gets $94,631/yr in the USA, $78,233 in Canada, and $55,762 in the UK.

Quite a sum, isn’t it?

And if it doesn’t mean much, here are three reasons why working with an SAP outsourcing partner may be a good idea.

Reason #1. Access to the talent pool

Let’s be honest: local dedicated SAP development teams with excellent tech and business skills will likely prove very rare. Or very expensive.

Or both.

When you outsource the development – no matter to another city or another part of the world – you get access to an unlimited pool of knowledge and resources.

What’s more, your in-house developers can either leave the company or be transferred to another business function. Leaving you to face the after-effects of a knowledge and expertise gap.

But if you’re working with an SAP outsourcing partner, you have access to SAP developers when you need them.

After all, it’s your partner’s responsibility to have a stable team at hand. Even if someone quits, it’s not your headache to look for a replacement.

Reason #2. Lower cost

And we’re back to the costs. In-house SAP experts are usually pricier than SAP outsourcing services.

Indeed states that in average SAP developer in the United States gets $69.84 per hour of work.

SAP consultants charge a bit more – $75.30 for a working hour.

While Eastern EU IT firms provide SAP development and consulting services starting from $25 - $49/hr, according to Clutch.

Want to gain a deeper insight into the IT outsourcing in Europe? Check our guide for all the details!

That gives a clear idea of how much annual SAP customization, maintenance, or support will cost in different regions.

So you’re left with two options:

  • keeping an in-house team at hand and paying more
  • or accessing specific, outsourced resources for a lower cost

Reason #3. No additional training

SAP developers are well-taught developers. And it’s great if you want to grow such experts within your company.

But training an SAP team is both costly and time-consuming.

With SAP outsourcing, you’re free of this burden. You’re paying for the actual software development services and nothing else.

While the vendor ensures that their employees have up-to-date-knowledge and are ready to address any SAP-related question.

And you can invest your time and money into growing the business, not developers.

Why outsource SAP development

Reasons for SAP outsourcing

Sure, it's not a matter of black-or-white. The hired team should have in-depth understanding of your business processes, and in-house staff will more likely have more nuanced, up-to-the-point knowledge.

Still, if you’re dealing with a high-expertise SAP outsourcing operations partner, all you’ll have to do is explain exclusive details about your business processes for the team to catch up.

How to Choose a Reliable SAP Outsourcing Partner

Finally, let's see how you can find a trustworthy SAP outsourcing partner.

We've covered all the outsourcing details, tips, and hints in our how to choose a custom software development company guide.

Briefly, the steps:

  1. Define requirements and timeframes. Set clear requirements to achieve the best results. To provide realistic estimation and timeframes, vendors need accurate and detailed information about your project.

  2. Check the vendor’s experience. Make sure the vendor has enough experience in SAP or ERP software development. Look through their portfolio, Clutch and GoodFirms reviews, study previous works, and pay attention to the industries they work in.

  3. Go Agile. The Agile approach brings flexibility, which is a huge benefit for SAP projects. The team’s responding to changes in priority and scope as you go along, not sticking to fixed blueprints.

  4. Secure your data. Reliable vendors sign NDA – a contract that outlines all confidential material and data.

Why Outsource SAP Development to Cleveroad?

Cleveroad developers have 5+ years of experience working with all-level software – from small apps to CRM and ERP solutions.

What are our strengths?

  • Our developers and project managers have decent English skills, so it’s easy to discuss all project challenges and ideas with us.

  • We’re flexible and ready to follow your schedule to find the best time for meetings and calls.

  • Our engineers are constantly improving their knowledge and skills – on conferences, workshops, and by sharing knowledge.

Want to learn more about our experience? Check our portfolio to see the projects we’ve worked on!

And take a look at our Clutch and GoodFirms profiles to find out what our clients think.

Have SAP-related questions?

We'll help with clarifying all tech and business aspects – for FREE.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of SAP developer?

SAP developers take overall responsibility for the SAP environment (including datacenter, infrastructure, SAP Basis services, and databases).

Which programming language is used in SAP?

The language used for SAP customizations is called ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming).

What does an SAP developer do?

SAP programmers are in charge of:

  • developing custom transactions and reports in the ERP;
  • developing the middleware that connects ERP and 3rd party software;
  • mobile app development;
  • developing software that uses SAP APIs;
  • integrating ERP into an enterprise ecosystem.
What is SAP programming?

SAP programming is about bridging a gap between the actual software performance and the desired one. SAP devs work on various tasks – from making a custom transaction to the development of stand-alone apps.

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About author

Evgeniy Altynpara is a CTO and member of the Forbes Councils’ community of tech professionals. He is an expert in software development and technological entrepreneurship and has 10+years of experience in digital transformation consulting in Healthcare, FinTech, Supply Chain and Logistics

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