We have seen multiple use of SAP SCM based on different planning functions it performs. There are many implementations in different modules of APO e.g. Demand Planning, Supply Network Planning, Production Planning & Detail Scheduling, GATP etc. In all these scenarios, there are Planners, who log in to SCM Box, check planning result, manually change planning data and finally these results are moved to a different OLTP system (often ERP) for execution. Planning functions can be executed either at the front end or back end depending on volume, system performance, time of the day etc. Connectivity between SCM and OLTP system can be established through CIF or BAPIs. If we look at the users in a SCM Box, there are three types 1) Backgrounds users like Batch User, RFC User etc. 2) Business Planners with different roles based on business requirement 3) Technical team supporting the application.
What if we have a SCM Box where no business user needs to log on? Planner can get all information from ERP itself and no need to bother about being familiar with APO? This looks like more of an idea but can be possible if SCM Box is run in the back-ground and RFC User plays a bigger role. From a business perspective, this means all the Planning Run will happen in SCM and data will be published to ECC. To support interactive planning, user will be provided a custom report and interface in ECC that will call APO in the background to fetch data. From a Change Management perspective, this would reduce some effort in User training – user no longer need to know APO interface, only knowing the process would be sufficient. On the other hand, there would be more effort required on building this interface in ECC and managing system performance as this may put a lot of load on RFC.
With the increasing adoption of collaborative planning through Web, more users would be interested in accessing the planning book through web and use their smartphones for interactive planning. SCM Box would be more and more accessed by the technical team for support or implementation. Though Planning would remain relevant, the APO interface would slowly fade away.