How to implement SAP S&OP on HANA

In the following statements I will try to address the question ‘how to implement SAP S&OP on HANA’ than ‘why to implement S&OP on HANA’ and is written for companies/ clients who are either planning to implement or already involved in SAP S&OP on HANA implementations.

S&OP Projects with SAP S&OP on HANA

A successful S&OP project requires more than the implementation of a planning tool. Implementing an S&OP tool does not solve all problems in your S&OP process but it will definitely give your more visibility and facilitate resolving the problems in your supply chain. SAP S&OP on HANA can support S&OP processes by visualizing ( excel UI and inbuilt analytics/ dashboard capability) and fast data crunching (with a set of algorithms if needed) using in built HANA database, but the customization of the tool to meet the exact business requirements has to be done in the implementation project. I cannot stress more on the importance of the gathering requirements during the initial stages of implementation. Success of an S&OP project is directly correlated to the success of the requirements gathering workshops. Even if detailed requirements regarding the use of a planning tool exist, overstated expectations can be a risk for any SAP S&OP implementation. I strongly recommend implementing in phases than a big bang implementation approach. In my experience projects that are implemented in phases have higher adoption which directly impacts the success in the next phases of implementation. On the other hand if you are trying to model all the requirements in one phase or trying to automate the planning process as much as you can in one go or implementing multiple business units which have different planning calendars, these factors could significantly increase the length/ scope of the project.

Typically an S&OP project begins with a business case capturing the reasoning for initiating a project and quantifiable/ unquantifiable benefits case. Next step will be designing the To-be process; a key assumption at this point is that you have a though understanding of the current S&OP process. To-be process should define the planning steps, business functions, user roles and responsibilities in the scope for the current implementation. Initiating change management discussions and training COE’s from initial stages of the project will the impact process/ tool adoption. Active participation of the executive sponsor(s) of the project (usually someone at a high position) in the implementation phase and in the S&OP process after go live will go a long way in the success of the implementation and adoption later on.

SAP S&OP Project Management

SAP S&OP on HANA projects differ significantly from SAP ERP or APO implementation Projects. S&OP projects impact few users in the company when compared to other SAP projects. But at the same time, customizations as per the requirements and the integration aspects have an increased importance. The Configuration of the model and the data integration (using flat files as sources of data or ETL tools like Hana Cloud Integration) do play an important part. The challenges for the project management in SAP S&OP implementations are mainly to

  • define an proper scope,
  • Avoid road blocks in the configuration/ model by validating it with SAP even before you start configuration (even more important if you have to design a model from scratch),
  • Plan the data integration ( using HCI or flat files ) and
  • plan the necessary unit testing, integration testing and UAT  ( including JAM integration testing if needed )
  • Allocate sufficient buffer time for changes, for example increasing the database space if necessary after validating Sizing Requirements.
  • Since SAP S&OP on HANA offers many functions (Snapshotting, Statistical Forecasting, Supply Planning, Optimizer operators) and possibilities, it might be appealing to extend the scope by including too many functions, so that the project becomes too complex to be successful.
  • Master data validation is a must; make sure this is as part of the project plan.

I strongly recommend starting any SAP S&OP implementation project (especially projects that include supply planning operator) with a feasibility study to analyse the modelling/ configuration approach and the scope for the pilot phase and the following phases in the project so you can prioritize the functions, operators and the BUs and agree on the scope and the modelling/ configuration approach. It’s important to create a prototype in the test system with sample/ dummy data during workshop sessions to avoid any misunderstandings in the requirements.

In general the benefits of S&OP/IBP systems like SAP S&OP on HANA are

  • the data transparency and the ability to slice and dice the data
  • the ability to use the complex planning operators and optimizer to improve your plan ( I did not see or implement this ability in other S&OP tools that I had a chance to work on )

Though optimization techniques are often placed in the foreground, in most cases the main benefits even from simple S&OP implementation are  

  • • Effective collaboration enabled by JAM.
  • • Ability to View/ update plan at any aggregated level.
  • • Ability to simulate and run different scenarios before committing to execute to a plan.
  • • Multiple users can work at the same time on the same data online or offline and share results when ready with the click of a mouse.
  • • Making changes to lots of demand and supply data is easily done in Excel.
  • • New product Introduction process take a lot less time to plan than with traditional tools
  • • A hosted solution means already stretched IT resources can focus on other priorities
  • • Two-way integration using DSOD with ERP/ APO or other SQL Databases means data is shared seamlessly between multiple environments

The use of supply planning operator/ optimizer requires some understanding on functionality of the operator. Even though there are cases where optimizer provide a clear benefit, understanding the results is necessary – especially in the initial stages of implementation.

One main advantage of SAP S&OP on HANA to its competitors is its property regarding the integration (through HCI/ DSOD ) to SAP ERP or APO or BW/BI. However both the significance and the complications of the integration to execution system(s)/ other planning systems are usually underrated. Integration of data and processes needs to considered during this phase.

For the workshops/ blueprint phase of a SAP S&OP implementation it is absolutely necessary to perform a prototyping in the test system, which gives the users a look and feel of the final version of the product which in turn translates into productive workshop sessions. During the initial stages of the project the basis team support is needed to install HCI agent which requires administration privileges of the source system. Another important issue which is often neglected is the system management concept, which defines the requirements and procedures for the system administration, e.g. for downtimes and for upgrades.

Also, SAP offers a set of services to check and review the implementation projects at different stages both from a technical and a process modelling point of view. Using these services might help recognizing problems earlier.

Mownesh Devuni

S&OP Architect | Intrigo Systems

42808 Christy Street, Fremont CA 94538

T: 800-440-2137 | F: 800-440-2832 | M: 205-587-2102 |

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