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08 Apr Insights from the Insider (Part 2)

(By Patrick Green)

As the SAP Insider wrapped up on Friday, it was a good time to take a few minutes to reflect on the week’s activities, the plethora of information disseminated and the overall pulse of SCM going forward.   As I thought about it, the thing I found most interesting was the comments from customers and how they plan to improve their supply chain planning in the future.    Looking back, I really noticed two common themes that seemed to consistently come up again and again.

1. We’ve installed SCM/APO/SNC and need to get more out of the solution.    This really isn’t a new theme as every client wants to get more from their systems.   However, in the spirit of doing more with less, clients are not necessarily looking for ways to add more complexity, but are looking for ways to streamline operations and take some of the complexity out.  I heard several times – “How can I take the complexity of the system and still make it work for us”.

2. We’ve heard and seen SAP’s vision for Supply Chain going forward – but what does it really mean to me as a customer in the near future?  How will I be able to leverage the new toolset of S&OP, Demand Sensing or Inventory Optimization and make it work with my current APO installation?  How does this enhance my solution and provide capabilities that we don’t currently have?  The underlying concern consistently being what happens to my current solution and how do we migrate.  Does APO go away?  Do we have to go to HANA next year?  When does current support run out?

SAP certainly has a vision for where they plan to take the SCM Solution – that much is clear.  The thing that’s not clear is when it makes sense for most clients to start migrating in that direction.  It’s one thing to be on the bleeding edge and implement the latest and greatest technology, but the reality is that most companies can’t justify that kind of strategy – no matter how fast the technology team wants to implement new solutions.  The fact is that most companies need a stable, mature and proven solution that works for the business.  Having lived through the early days of APO, I know firsthand the issues that come with a new solution.  That being said, those early adapters will be in a prime position to influence the solution and make sure it works for their business.