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01 Jun IBP Crash Course Series: HCI (In 20 minutes)

(By Wade Smith)

So do you ever have those moments when you want to do something in SAP that sounds pretty straightforward to do, but the consultant sitting across the table from you is making it the most complicated (and expensive) change control since Y2K ? (oops, dated myself there).

We all know that what appears simple can become incredibly complex, but we also know that’s not always the case.  Sometimes you are just being held hostage by a lack of basic information.

I think part of the problem has always been just a basic understanding of the technology – how it works, what it looks like, what it can and can’t do.  Training is obviously the answer, but sometimes we either have a choice between a couple of theoretical high level power point slides or spending a week or two at an SAP training course.  Add to the mix that your role doesn’t touch the technology directly (e.g. project manager, IT Director), and the last thing you have time to do is take hours to learn how something like HCI works – even though you might be signing the checks for an HCI project.

Another challenge that I’ve seen with getting up to speed with any complicated IT system is that you spend a couple of days (or weeks) working through the nuances and learning the system tricks (easy things once you learn them, but frustrating like no other before that), but never remember them 6 months later if you don’t constantly work with the tool.  Sometimes people pick up things really quickly, and sometimes they need to watch something over and over again.

One solution that we’ve come up with is ‘Crash Courses’ … a selection of YouTube videos that gives you the basics on a topic so you can sound intelligent.  We’re trying to keep the big topics in the 20 minute range, and helpful tips in the 2 minute range.

The first set of courses is on learning IBP S&OP in 30 minutes.  So if you wanted to learn the basics, get a picture in your head of what it does, get someone else excited about the tool, and what it can possibly do for you – this is the place to go.  And right now, it’s in the Top 3 on YouTube when you search for IBP S&OP.  Not bad for a couple hours of work.

Our next entry into Crash Courses is all about HCI (Hana Cloud Integration).  I think a lot of people might know that HCI is used to move data from one location (say, ECC or a flat file) to some other HANA location (say, IBP S&OP) – but that’s pretty much where the knowledge ends.  This 20 minute video will walk you through taking a flat file and loading it into IBP S&OP.

You might be asking yourself: when in my job (as a project manager or as an IT Director) would I ever need to know how to do that?

Answer: Probably never … maybe … but ask yourself this: do you have to make a project plan with estimated durations on how long it takes to do something?  If the consultant tells you it’ll take 2 weeks to create an HCI task, when in truth it takes less than 5 minutes, wouldn’t you want to know that?

So you might be asking yourself, “OK, so you’re a consultant, and you’re showing me the secrets behind the curtain?”  Yes, we are.

Why would we do that?  There are lots of reasons, but the main ones are that the more you know, the more you’ll understand the value of some of these tools, and the more intelligently you can talk about these tools to others.

Besides, we don’t think that your knowing how easy (or hard) it is to make a task in HCI is going to put our value in jeopardy – the tech is just like any other tool – you still need someone who knows (and respects) the saw.  So keep in mind that while these videos are useful and informative, but they are just the tip of the iceberg.  We’d also rather spend our time talking about the specifics of a client’s needs and how they run their business, rather than spending hours level setting everyone on a tool’s technology that everyone could have more easily learned from a 20 minute video at their leisure.

So have fun with the videos and send feedback on what you’d like to see next.  You longer have an excuse not to understand the basics.  Yes, I moved a flat file into S&OP in 20 minutes, but a sharp eye can see the prep that was done beforehand, and the skimping on testing that I did in the end 😉

Without further ado, here’s the video!

For more on IBP in 30 minutes, check out our YouTube Channel.

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