The Week of SAPPHIRE NOW: SAP, in many ways, not the same ole ERP.
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In many ways SAP is not one company. On one hand you have ERP—big, lots of integration and modules. On the other hand you have the newer areas for SAP—Ariba, Concur, and the web-centric areas that are breaking into new territory in the market.
In fact, the Fusion conference held just a few weeks back (you can read about Concur and Ariba) was really the meeting place for the new-thinking, new-age web types. Our readers who are procurement and web/business network-oriented will learn more at the Fusion. For those interested in supply chain or manufacturing, SAP will host an event later this spring. Having said that, here are some areas that may be of interest from the supply chain side from Sapphire.
Breathing New Life into APO
Rumors continue to circle about APO’s demise.1 However for those who have invested heavily in APO, gaining real success may require effort. To breathe new life into SAP, Intrigo, one of SAP’s leading partners, has developed a product portfolio that layers over APO and related supply chain products from SAP. It helps planners do their job easily and get more results out of SAP’s supply chain applications. Intrigo now has decades of expertise in SAP products and in particular, supply chain.
I first saw the early stages of what they had done in S&OP two years ago at SAP’s Manufacturing event. They have since developed a robust set of products that cover many of the planning activities. They have created a multi-user, planner-centric solution that overcomes many of the challenges of APO. The user interface allows planners to manage the planning-relevant master data and other planning parameters, provide actionable and understandable planning outputs, quickly simulate outcomes, and determine alternatives.
Unlike pure APO, which can be clumsy to work with, OPTEK, the Intrigo product, allows users to see Demand and Supply, enabling planners to see where they have issues and run what-if scenarios to deal with them. OPTEK (aptly named) allows users to view rapidly changing demand and supply imbalances, or changing demand from customers. The OPTEK application layer (see Figure 1) allows for a multi-user environment rather than the one user/one server architecture of APO.
Figure 1: OPTEK Blended with SAP
The OPTEK solution includes:
Planning Data Management Tool (PDMT)
Managing data across multiple levels
Consists of two components—Supply Planning and Detail Planning & Scheduling
Supply Chain Results Analyzer (SCRA)
Planners can do an actionable analysis
Results are presented with key focus points
Supply Chain Scenario Planner (SCSP)
Planners are provided with an option to create numerous versions of the main plan with modifications to one or more parameters
Supply Chain Model Manager (SCMM)
Planners are able to design the supply chain network dynamically onto a map
Statistical Forecast and Demand Management (SFDM)
Demand planner can establish and manage multiple parameters with related reporting
As you can see from Figure 1, Intrigo can set up an environment for a customer that pulls data from various SAP modules and creates a broad spectrum intelligent planning and execution solution.
In essence, APO becomes an engine in the background and OPTEK becomes the solution, the UI, and allows planners to work alone or in a team setting (such as S&OP). It extends a company’s APO investment and modernizes it.
IoT Hot Topic
SAP announced their HANA-based IoT Platform. This will be private cloud deployments (as with other HANA enterprise use cases) and can integrate with their own or other devices’ cloud applications. We assume this means that the many IoT platforms will be able to integrate here. SAP is offering “for a limited time free and unlimited access to the SAP SQL Anywhere suite” so that this integration may be a bit easier. To support the announcement, Siemens, a company that understands products and things, was announced as a partner with Siemens’ Cloud for Industry. This gives Siemens an IoT platform so they may be able to ‘message’ against PTC. However, the PTC IoT team is way ahead with platform, application tool sets, and device integration to mobile and sensors. As well, the market is full of device and sensor-aware IoT platforms. (See LiveWorx update in this issue.) The Siemens IoT platform, of course, is designed to work with SAP’s HANA Cloud Platform mobile services.
These platforms can get more oomph through use of the SAP Store where partners offer hundreds of apps that can be downloaded (through purchase) and leveraged. IBM, a key partner, also has developed many applications that work in this environment.