I would like to share my learnings on important factors to consider for a successful SAP IBP implementation and rollout that I have unearthed.
Change is a 2-way process in an organization. The classic top-down approach for change is the highest risk to success, as the impact of the changes require willingness and participation from the user-community in the organization doing the groundwork. These challenges could be addressed by a simple training gap or introducing the new tools/processes or bringing a change in the organization and process structure or a combination of all.
Building a Business Case:
You begin by involving multiple stakeholders from across the different levels of organization and identifying the business case to see if you have right tools and processes to realize your vision, mission, and goals.
Is your Process fit for purpose?
- Does your current supply chain planning tool lack the features required to support decision-making process on-time?
- Do people in your organization require upskilling in terms of both the process and the tool, as it is very difficult for the team to work with?
- Example Indications: The offline reports prepared in silos by gathering data from various systems, no documented procedure for all the business scenarios being performed and mostly dependent on that one person who knows how it all works
- Does your current supply chain planning tool lack innovation?
- Is your current tool at the risk of licensing/continued support?
- Does your IT maintenance spend pose a burden in the long run?
If you have answered yes to any of the above, then you should probably consider implementing a new technology like SAP IBP versus enhancing your current solution. If the answer is no, then it is a matter of simple S&OP process refinement or training the people.
Why choose SAP IBP?
SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) is a planning application that combines supply chain monitoring, sales and operations planning, demand management, inventory planning, and supply planning. A transition to SAP IBP offers you the advantage of:
- Digital supply chain transformation platform
- Next-Gen Cloud Based Technology with AI/ML capabilities and enhanced security
- Get-Set-Go quickly by using preconfigured process templates based on industry best practices and processes
- Simple and yet powerful user interface for planning and reporting: web-based Fiori apps or Microsoft Excel based planning capability
- Flexibly interface/communicate with both SAP and non-SAP platforms
- A leading-edge platform offering the roadmap of what more features you can expect in the next 4 quarters and beyond
Set your objectives right!
As the saying goes, better the devil you know than the devil you don't. Before you begin an SAP IBP implementation/rollout, you should be aware of what common challenges you could come across and focus clearly on these as objectives of the SAP IBP Implementation project.
Business Execs/Stakeholder Objectives:
- How to ensure that with the SAP IBP implementation, you bind the process, the tools, and the people together?
- How much of scope is too much of scope especially on what you should automate? How much of SAP IBP’s roadmap can help you to prioritize your IBP implementation in multiple phases?
- What queries can you expect from the user community in terms of their roles and responsibilities with SAP IBP transition?
- What options you have that help you ensure the training needs are addressed, conduct an efficient user acceptance testing (rather than training), and avoid the training gaps post go-live?
- What metrics can help you gain the confidence of the user community during the project and help you steer in the right direction? What metrics can help you get the fullest benefit of the SAP IBP project (during the project and after the project)?
IT/Project Manager Objectives:
- What factors to consider when choosing a 3-tier landscape (IBP Development - IBP Test - IBP Production box) vs a 2-tier landscape (IBP Dev/Test - IBP Production box)?
- What are the important factors to have the right foundation for your SAP IBP Implementation? With SAP IBP, you can choose to use a single unified planning area for performing demand, supply, and inventory planning. Or you can choose to do it in individual planning areas. Do you know the challenges that you will face by choosing one over the other in terms of SAP IBP implementation, SAP IBP roll out and support/maintenance of solution?
- How much of SAP’s services (like SAP Rapid Deployment Solution content) and other tools can you use to accelerate the project?
- What challenges arise to ensure the discipline of maintaining data? Especially if you are extracting data from multiple systems (SAP or non-SAP) to SAP IBP or vice versa, and data is not harmonized.
- What other factors will have an impact on your schedule and budget like SAP IBP Quarterly upgrade schedules? Or other projects that could either run in parallel or planned for in future like business programs/initiatives, year-end, system outages?
Part 2 can be found here
Suresh Sellaiah is the DSC Technology Lead and has been with Olivehorse for over 4 years.