(By Claudio Gonzalez)
Where does the time go? For my 8 year old daughter, apparently it goes really slowly, while for us seasoned IT geeks, it flies by at the speed of light. It has already been 4 years since SCM Connections made its footprint at the SAP Insider in Las Vegas back in 2014. I still remember the excitement of setting up our booth for the first time and feeling ecstatic just to be there. We were an ‘idea’, sure each of us had been successful individually, but we wanted more, we wanted to be successful as a company! We learned along the way that a successful company is made up of individuals, but unless each individual works together and cohesively, we won’t go very far. It was at the same time that we started sponsoring at the Insider that SAP was coming out with its new planning tool, IBP (Integrated Business Planning) and we knew from the beginning that we needed to get on the IBP bandwagon, so we did.
So let us reflect back on how SCMC, IBP and the SAPInsider has changed over the last four years.
- Our company is becoming a force to be reckoned with. When we first started, each of us had a client who knew the value that we brought to their company. The challenge was, how do we expand outside of our small ecosystem? Being at the SAPInsider event was key in growing, in combination with positive word of mouth. It is one of the best feelings in the world for any small company, when a new client seeks our services because they were referred to us by another client. It tells you that you are doing something right, and for us, that has been one of our biggest drivers these past four years, growing by referral! Not only from the client side, but on the resource front as well. New talent is joining our forces because they believe in what we are building and that’s one of the best way to expand. Sure, we are not Google with hundreds of thousands of daily application for a coveted spot, but who knows, one day, on a smaller scale, that could be us.
- IBP went from a possibility to a must have! It was around 2014 when SAP started to seriously make a push for its newest in cloud supply chain solutions. But let’s be honest, it wasn’t even close to be prime time ready. Yes, the Colgates of the world were the first adopters. But of course, being an SAP ramp up customer gives you a platoon of developers on stand by for when things go awry and code can be fixed quickly. For the rest of us, it’s a big gamble to try and implement such a big solution as first adopters. To be fair, SAP has done an exemplary job in getting IBP-ready a lot faster than it took with APO. I would safely say that by the end of 2017, IBP will surpass APO in the areas where they share functionality. The biggest advantage will be that all new features will now be designed within IBP, so the time to implement is now. Not only that, but the implementation turn around with IBP is much faster than what we could ever do with APO.
- SAPInsider, learning how to adapt: I’ve had the pleasure of presenting and attending the SAPInsider events since 2007, in North America, Europe and Asia. The one thing that is always constant with this event is that they keep adapting to the latest technology offerings. Back in 2007, SAP APO was at its prime and the number of sessions related to APO reflected that. Now that we are seeing the transition to IBP, the organizers at the SAPInsider have not been left behind. You will notice that for 2017 (10 years later), the number of IBP sessions have greatly increased. This is one of the biggest reasons why attending the Insider is money well spent. The sessions are always up to date and the new technology is presented for everyone to determine how useful it could be for their own industry. We don’t yet know what 2027 will have in store for us, but the one thing SAP has stated is that APO will be supported until 2025. We will find out if that will hold true a few years down the road.
We don’t have a crystal ball, though it would sure be nice. Nonetheless, is easy to see that this is an exciting time to be part of the SAP realm. We at SCM Connections will continue to do our part and go on this journey with our clients and our team, as always providing brighter ideas for complex supply chains!
Stop by our booth for an IBP demo or just to say hello next week at the Insider. Or check out our presentations. Click to add them to your conference schedule.