I Think I’m Learning SAPanese …

Spent time at an industry conference last week (ain’t Boston great!), and heard the term SAPanese – that special language SAP users learn when immersed in worlds of Walldorf and their ubiquitous software. It’s not unique to SAP – lots of software companies develop their own vocabulary. Heck, IT “geeks” are famous for it – even the various functional units within the business develop their own shorthand, terms to help speed communication with “those in the know”.

Here are some of my favorite snippets of SAPanese …

Abapit: (verb) To make something better using ABAP. Usage: “This program simply isn’t working properly; we should abapit instead!” (source: Mitch Betts)

Bee-Eye: (noun) SAP’s data warehousing platform, Business Intelligence. Not intended as an oxymoron …

BobJay: (noun) SAP’s latest growth-by-acquisition play – Business Objects (BOBJ). Usage: “They keep throwing Bobjay at us, but we’re still digesting Bee-Eye

Boppy: (noun) From BAPI – the Business Application Programming Interface. Usage: “Give me the right boppy and I can get the data in there …“. Note: Most programmers are aware of multiple APIs, for a variety of web services, application platforms, etc. – but no one calls them “Oppy’s” …

Firt: (noun) Finished goods. From FERT, SAP’s standard abbreviation (in German, fertig is ‘finished’)

Halb: (noun) Work in Process. From HALB, SAP’s standard abbreviation (in German, halbfabrikat is ‘semi-finished product’)

Heisman: (verb) An accountability dodge. When software support is asked to help with a problem, and you happen to mention we’re dealing in an area that’s been customized, you are given the Heisman – held at arms length and told it’s beyond the scope of support. (image source: Kelly West / Statesman)

Row: (noun) Raw materials. From ROH, SAP’s standard abbreviation (in German, rohstoffe is ‘raw materials’)

I google’d around, but didn’t turn up much … any additions?

This Post Has One Comment
  1. The reason they call it “Japanese” is because it is the language spoken in Japan. Since it is called SAP and not SAPAN, the use of the word “Sapanese” is a misnomer. The correct term is Sapese even though is doesn’t look pretty or sound elegant. So the next time you hear someone using “Sapanese” ask them if the software they are using is called Sapan. You may get a few blank stares, Then tell them that it is Sapese because the product is SAP.

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James MacLennan

... is the Managing Partner at Maker Turtle LLC, a digital consultancy focused on creating value in ways that align with your strategy and drive engagement with employees, customers, and stakeholders. He is an active creator, providing thought leadership through on-line & print publications, and public speaking / keynotes.