15 Percent Failure Rate Exposed IBP Implementation Challenges
By Robert Birdsall, Senior Manager SCMO2
It was my pleasure to take part in a recent IBP Bootcamp presented by SCMO2 and SAP Insider. This seminar covered SAP IBP and SAP Jam functionality through extensive use of demonstrations, exercises and presentations. One aspect of preparation is directly applicable when considering your own IBP implementation, so here’s what we did and what it means to you.
Uncovering an Implementation Challenge
A key pre-requisite in attending the seminar is installation and use of the IBP Excel Add-In. Along with the web user interface, it is the primary “work” interface for end users and a critical component of your IBP rollout. Your planners and other end users will utilize Excel to manipulate master and transactional data, perform graphing and analytics, and project future demand and supply.
Though encouraged to work with their corporate IT departments to install the IBP Excel Add-In prior to seminar arrival, we prepared a number of USB sticks with the most common tools and fixes to troubleshoot any residual issues. While most seminar participants (85%) were able to install/use the add-in out of the box or with a bit of troubleshooting, a small percentage were not able to complete a successful install. The 15 percent failure rate may be attributed primarily to two factors.
Engage Corporate Security Stakeholders
Without admin rights to your PC, you can’t install the add-in. Failure to get desktop support group help prior to arrival for those attendees without PC admin rights meant teaming with others to do the exercises. Any IBP implementation must engage your corporate desktop support group – not a small task and not to be understated. If you do not include this stakeholder group early, you will have problems installing and maintaining this user interface later. We recommend this group have representation on your implementation team from the beginning to ensure a coordinated rollout to individual users.
Maintain Updated OS and Microsoft Office Packages
Installations of MS Office and MS OS ranged broadly, complicating and adding to installation complexities. We had users running Windows XP with MS Office 2010 up through Windows 10 with MS Office 365. A few configurations with varying patch levels led directly to failed instances.
While prepared to address a broad array of laptop configurations due to having attendees from numerous companies, we could not cover them all. If your corporate policy allows for individual system configurations, you add significantly to the complexity and risk in smoothly deploying this Excel Add-In during your IBP implementation.
If a standard policy is in place, now is a good time to pursue consistency, even to patch level, and then plan for ongoing maintenance to ensure no security gaps arise as newer Excel Add-Ins become available.
We recommend laptop configuration consistency above all. The latest operating system and software is not required (though helpful!). Plan for, create and successfully test desktop images for all user groups and configurations you do have. And coordinate with your corporate desktop support group throughout the implementation timeline to eliminate this potential failure rate at end user level.