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This is the first in a multipart series on how Business Analytics can improve Supply Chain Performance

I’ve been a Supply Chain and Business Analytics consultant for about 13 years now.  In this time, I’ve seen my fair share of SAP Supply Chain Projects. 

I have implemented and project managed SAP APO solutions across the globe – for companies large and medium sized.  And in this time, I’ve had a keen interest in Demand Planning solutions.

 

I’ve seen my share of successes and failures with Demand Planning solutions.  I’ve also seen companies try to adopt various methods to save failing project implementations. 

 

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The Traditional Different Approach

Companies, no matter which method they choose, focus on the Demand Planning process.  And this is the typical implementation plan

 

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The problem with this method is that users only begin fully interacting with the new system during go live.  And there are so many changes to business processes, KPI’s and IT systems that users are confused and often intimidated by the changes.

 

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The solution often provided: CHANGE MANAGEMENT –

yes, get the team involved, do demos, workshops, etc etc, get feedback –

But still you don’t see the results.

But we often realise – all users like Excel.  They all either want to work in Excel or report in Excel.  They trust Excel (I don’t know why…but hey, so do I)

So why not approach implementations differently.  Why not use Reporting and Analytics Solutions (Specifically Business Objects)

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A Different Approach

Instead of a Big Bang Go live, deliver a reporting solution as part of the project.  Let the users get comfortable with the system by reporting and analysing their forecast performance. 

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Technical Go live:

The system works, functional testing complete, the usual project delivery processes

Reporting and Scenario Planning:

hand over the system to the users – but for reporting and analysis only.  Deliver BOBJ Dashboards to do what if scenarios.  Ensure data is correct!  Get the users to trust in the system

Business Go live: 

Once users to using the system, migrate small teams to use the system and drive a iterative benefits approach

  

   

Start by deploying useful reports either using the built in SAP BW functionality, or better yet, prepare WEbi Analysis reports and Dashboards to provide users with useful information.

 

This is how you get them comfortable with the new tool.

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And when the users don’t like the numbers they see, or they can’t justify poor performance – then simply encourage them to use the new tools
to improve the forecast and get better reports!

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               Source: http://www.saptrybeforeyoubuy.com

I’ve used the above implementation method several times now, both on new implementations and to save existing ones to great effect.

<end of Part 1>

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2 Comments

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  1. zimkhita buwa

    You’re right! BI is traditionally treated as an after thought! It is however up to us, the BI Activists, troublemakers, 😏 to make enough noise about BI so that we’re involved from the start of the project! In our organisation we’ve definately made enough noise to see a glimpse of progress BI is now included early on in the project.

    Great blog post though…and thanks Umesh Sita for sharing 🙂

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