SAP IBP Gaining Ground in Cloud Supply Chain Planning Space
No Longer Trailing the Pack, IBP Continues to Aggressively Pursue the Lead
By Clay Thomas, Principal SCMO2
In the tryptophan daze of Thanksgiving Day last week, my mind settled upon a decidedly unscientific conclusion—SAP Integrated Business Planning is finally winning in the SCP market. SAP has made steady progress through Gartner’s various Magic Quadrants, they have largely kept to projected functionality advancements in their quarterly Agile tool updates and we at SCMO2 are hearing more about competing cloud tools being replaced in a return or move to a “one SAP” system landscape.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that competitors like Kinaxis were first to enter and establish name recognition in the cloud supply chain planning platform space. SAP was caught somewhat flat-footed, and when they did announce the SAP Integrated Business Planning tool, they froze their own customer base by declaring two startling conditions: IBP is going to be a replacement of SAP APO, and APO would not be supported beyond the year 2025. Not an entirely unreasonable position. But at the time, it was very apparent to the industry that IBP was not even close to being a ready and acceptable replacement. The services we provided were still in high demand for APO and the market for IBP was simply stagnant.
What transpired next however, is significant. SAP did not waver in their strategic goals, but they announced and kept to a doggedly determined rolling 3-month schedule in releasing new IBP versions. Each new release introduced new capabilities that brought IBP more in parity with other legacy SAP tools, as well as new functionality that was not available in those legacy tools. At SCMO2, we launched our own broad-spectrum training and education initiative, believing that getting more and current capability information into the market would help customers determine the right time and best functional areas to pursue in their shift to digital cloud platforms.
We are now nearly 15 quarterly releases into this aggressive IBP rollout, and while it is still more the norm to add the tool to your landscape alongside APO, new customers are beginning to recognize the strides SAP has made. Interest in replacing manual spreadsheet-based processes or reverting from less-then-stellar experiences with other tools has grown, which reconciles with the increasing prominence we are seeing for SAP in Gartner’s Magic Quadrants. Likewise, SCMO2 is growing its number of net new customers, and we have invested significantly in our partnership with SAP—we are now recognized as a Gold Level Partner.
Overall, with new customers, old customers and a better functioning planning tool, we have much to be thankful for in 2019. I think I’ll go have another turkey sandwich, and maybe some stuffing too. Cheers!