Going Big Bang is Not Necessary With an IBP Implementation
Simply Transition and Add IBP Modules as Needed
By Ryan Rickard, Director SCMO2
Upgrading and implementing SAP IBP has its perks, and a huge one is the flexibility to purchase and implement different modules of IBP over time as needed. This greatly relieves the stress of having to do everything at once in a so-called ‘big bang’ implementation.
As an example, many companies choose to implement IBP Demand and IBP Inventory as part of a Phase I effort. Focusing their attention on just these modules allows them to thoroughly think through their processes and do a few things really well. They then choose to implement IBP Supply in Phase II, and IBP S&OP in Phase III, All over the course of two years. A very smart approach.
Take Your Time! We Encourage It.
Because many traditional legacy systems were hosted locally, implementation needed to be configured all at once, or future updates would have been very complicated and time-consuming. IBP’s cloud-based tool is designed to be rolled out—and paid for—in multiple waves. As planning consultants and an SAP Gold Partner, this method is highly encouraged.
Today’s implementation cycles are much quicker. Depending on the size of an organization, a single IBP module (e.g. IBP Demand) can be properly implemented and deployed in just 4-6 months. The cloud-based nature of IBP means the tool’s functionality and technical landscape are standard, not customizable, eliminating much of the more complicated requirements of legacy platforms. So once the initial implementation and configuration is in place and master data has been collected, adding additional modules is even easier because the main design and core is already in place—you only need to add the module-specific data.
Financial, and Functional, Benefits
Phased implementation also allows the user community to more seamlessly adopt new processes and get buy-in from the broader organization as well. Supply users that see demand planners using IBP, will in turn be eager to implement and start using the new tool on their side. But functional areas that are happy with their current planning application can continue to use it, even if others migrate to IBP right away. A demand planning group might choose to stay on SAP APO, while the supply and inventory teams migrate to IBP and source their forecast from APO. This organization can plan their full transition to IBP whenever they are ready (but prior to 2025 when APO sunsets).
Using a unified planning area to aid an end-to-end technical landscape? That scenario is also supported by this phased approach. Though not highly recommended, you can choose to have multiple planning areas for each process area, but using one planning model more tightly integrates the network and overall design. SAP even provides a sample unified planning area which can be leveraged during each implementation.
Perhaps most beneficial, a phased approach also smooths project cost, allowing for a more distributed investment over time. IBP modules and their functionality are paid for only when implemented (do note however that IBP’s cost is based on the revenue generation of your organization).
If you can afford the entire IBP suite now and can transition the entire supply chain organization at once, fantastic! But there is comfort (and many advantages) in knowing that you can bite off and digest IBP in smaller chunks—both functionally and financially. You don’t have to wait until you are ready to transition everything, rather, you can begin your transition over time when you are ready to take the first step.