Four Great Ways to Screw Up Your IBP Project
We’ve Seen Many Great Projects Go Awry. These are the Top Four Problems You Can Easily Avoid.
By Robert Birdsall, Director SCMO2
There is a great tagline circulating in the world of advertising today. Farmer’s Insurance claims “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” And their ads proceed to reenact real-life ridiculous claims that they have received.
Unfortunately, we can relate. Good IBP implementations can go bad for all kinds of reasons, but we’ve seen a few common missteps that will always lead you off the rails. Fortunately, you can avoid them all. We outline them for you here and provide insights for avoiding these frequent oversights.
Each of these problems are united through the considerable pressure in today’s environment to achieve more with less. That pressure creates the temptation to take fatal shortcuts in your IBP project efforts, but shortcuts almost always result in a longer and more expensive route. Proper IBP implementation throughout your enterprise has no shortcut.
Push Forward Without Business Ownership and Engagement
Unlike many tool implementations, everything about IBP is driven by your business strategy and vision. It is not a transactional system (like accounts payable, sales order processing or warehouse logistics). It simply CAN NOT be planned and implemented by a project team working in isolation. You must partner business, IT and consulting to be successful. If you create a system that nobody can (or wants) to use, you will fail to achieve your outcomes 100% of the time.
Forget About the Data
IBP layers tools for planning and analytics on top of a database full of your most critical data. Forgetting or failing to implement robust data cleansing, transformation and validation steps as a part of your project will ultimately destroy your ability to utilize the tool. And it’s not just starting with a clean data set. You need to make sure that date retains it’s integrity over time as the system is used. If you can’t trust your inputs, you will never get trusted outputs.
StAcK iT uP
There’s a tendency for folks to overlap project activities in order to “accelerate” an IBP project. Unfortunately, all your business users already have full time jobs and there’s only so much that the selected business stakeholders on your project can do without bringing along the rest of the organization. Drowning the organization in new processes, without giving business leadership and end users a chance to properly engage, digest or provide feedback, will give always you poor results.
Do Everything at Once
IBP is built to be implemented quickly, with future cycles of updates and enhancements aligning with SAP’s quarterly releases. That means the way you want to do things today may not align three, six or 18 months from tomorrow. So don’t try to implement everything at once. Rather, plan to climb that mountain one step at a time and extend that momentum over the months and years to follow. Aiming to finish everything immediately and right now ensures your system will not scale over time.
IBP is a powerful and flexible toolset that is constantly evolving. If you pretend it’s an old-school IT application, you waste time, money and resources without getting the best results. Remember, we’re always here to help you avoid those pitfalls and bring about a more successful implementation.