Starting Your First IBP Project?
Why Experienced IBP Project Management is More Crucial Now Than Ever
By Robert Birdsall, Director SCMO2
At SCMO2, we’ve had clients take on IBP as a DIY project, engaging us to provide trained consultants in a staff augmentation role. Most frequently we see this with clients that have experience in other SAP tools, and have an established PMO group to leverage. The intent is good—reduce costs by taking on the overall project responsibility without the guidance and support of an experienced IBP senior consulting project manager. But the outcomes have been a mixed bag with varying levels of success.
This is what we’ve learned.
Analysts, consultants and functional experts are engaged to develop specific processes, procedures and configurations that are intended to support your overall business objectives. Their perspective is at a granular or functional level because that is what is expected of them. These people are very good at what they do, but they are not trained to help you execute the overall project, nor do they operate as effectively when you pull them out of that process detail.
Because implementation methodology is trending towards an Agile matrix setup that relies on rapid build and test cycles, relying on process-centric experts for guidance will often result in major tasks not being identified until it’s too late to incorporate them effectively into your overall project efforts. You can have 100 of the most brilliant world-class musicians, but it still takes an experienced conductor to get them to play beautiful music.
SAP IBP is also a very different tool than SAP ECC, APO, BW or other “legacy” products with which your IT organization may already have established some familiarity. Like most SAP tools today, IBP is cloud-based, and successful implementation of cloud-planning tools stresses both speed and business-user engagement. With quarterly release cycles and smaller, more nimble project teams, most organizations’ PMO resources still benefit from a consulting mirror, if not a full-time resource, that already has the tools and experience to guide you across the project’s finish line.
SCMO2 project managers are forward-thinking, value-added resources who can draw upon prior experience and help you avoid pitfalls in your IBP implementations. We have a well-documented and executed methodology that excels in bringing your project efforts to their successful conclusion. We know the tasks that need to be done and when to do them, and can enable your project team to flow unabated through build and test cycles, maximizing their effectiveness.
All businesses are faced with the need to be lean and streamline costs to remain competitive. But your premier IBP implementation project is definitely not the place to squeeze out a few more points in the interest of lowering costs. Quite the contrary. This is a moment in your corporate history that you need to get absolutely right to avoid the risk of major downstream loss of productivity and additional expenses resulting from an improper or incomplete implementation.
Your project managers and leaders are immensely valuable human resource assets who need a counterpart now that will train them to manage additional IBP projects—this is not a one-and-done effort. Developing their skills to carry forward will generate much greater realized business value in future efforts than any amount of money that can be saved by scaling back investment in your initial implementation and business planning now.