At the SAPInsider conference last week, it seemed like SCM Connections was all grown up this time around. If last year was our coming-out party, this year could be summarized as our year of maturity and a bigger presence at the conference. We were definitely a lot better organized and kind of knew our way around. We also had multiple partners speaking on key SCM topics this year. It felt like customers, partners and the competition took notice.
Most conferences seem to have a few key underlying messages and themes. One has to read between the lines to distinguish between marketing buzz, strategic direction and reality. Here are a few that I walked away with:
– The “Internet of Things” made an appearance again in the keynote. It has been around for some time now and is here to stay for several years. The inter-connectedness in our personal lives will naturally transition into the corporate world. We just need to keep an eye out for new applications and processes that will get introduced due to this connectivity.
– SAP continues to explain the Cloud and the possibilities that it opens up. The related IBP media blitz was definitely toned down this year. I believe SAP is doing the right thing by getting product knowledge out to its partners, consultants and customers, which in turn will generate the buzz and interest that is needed for the adoption of any new product. The message around the transition phase for existing APO customers has also improved. It was crucial that SAP did this for both new and existing customers.
– There was a lot of interest in the IBP demos that we did. Both customers and vendors were lining up to see real-life capabilities up-close at the booth. There was an interest in demand, supply and inventory sides of IBP. A lot of it is curiosity at this stage, but we can definitely feel the momentum building.
– SAP continues to adapt its solutions for the personalized market place with Demand Sensing being a big part of the message. Given that variant configuration and characteristics are not a part of IBP (just yet), it is not clear how personalized manufacturing and product networks will become a part of the NEW planning process.
– On the APO side of things, there were several questions on PPDS and its capabilities. At this point, SAP is still leaning towards transitioning PPDS to ECC. I agree with it as one could argue that DS is closer to execution than planning.
I believe that we are going through an exciting phase as SAP, Customers and Partners transition and adapt to new market conditions. It is up to us as companies and individuals to keep the momentum going.