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HANA Simplification: SAP Fashion Management

This week I had the chance of attending the SAP Retail Forum in New York. Being an IS Retail consultant, I was very interested in hearing about the latest about solutions for this industry.

At times it seems people have a hard time perceiving the value of HANA. We all know it is not about the speed in itself, but the transformation it enables. This is also very true for Retail. The new SAP FMS (Fashion Management Solution) is a clear example of what can now be built on HANA.

New SAP Fashion Management | SAP

SAP Fashion Management 1.0 SP01 – SAP Help Portal Page

I had the chance of meeting  Andrea France, ex: Retail Principal for Fashion, today Industry Value Advisor for Fashion.

We had a good opportunity to talk about the future of SAP Solutions around Retail, most focused on Fashion.

As some of you may be aware, SAP’s has had 2 flavors of its business suite to address Fashion industry. That being IS-Retail and AFS (Apparel and Footwear). The former is a fully integrated Industry focused on the Retail business, while the latter is a solution targeted to the manufacturing part of the business. These two solutions have a lot of features, but they address problems differently. The problem arises when a company needs these 2 flavors at the same time. This means that the customer either chooses the one that fits its needs the best or implement them both, side by side. Customers like Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. are examples of organizations that produce goods and retail them on their own stores (or via channel partners). The addition of ecommerce just helps accentuate these mix….

So the need of a unified solution has been considered for a long time, but feasibility has always been the problem. One flavor is optimized for Production transactions while the other is focused in distribution and Retailing.

Here comes the NEW AFS… (only possible on HANA)

SAP introduced recently the new SAP Fashion Management solution. It is often referred to as FMS. It is basically ERP IS Retail with AFS Functionality ported via an Add-on.

Sure this is not a small undertake.

SAP has committed contractually, to a consortium of 4 major AFS customers, to deliver all AFS current functionality under this new Add-on approach.

All AFS functionality will be brought to FMS. The roadmap looks the following:

  • Version 1.0 – GA targeted for Q4. This version is in final Ramp-up and will provide AFS functionality ported around SD (Sales) and MM (Inventory Management and purchasing)
  • Version 2.0 (Including production) – Targeted for July 2015 Q3, this brings the Production flavor of AFS.
  • Version 2.5 – All current AFS functionality will be delivered under this version.
  • Version 3.0 (and subsequent) – This will be the first wave of new AFS functionality built under the new delivery solution.

In the meantime, current AFS solution will be supported until 2020.

The importance of HANA

This solution is ONLY available on HANA. That is for 2 reasons:

  1. The amount of data to be processed (Production or Retail) is huge. This needs to be delivered under a unified platform.
  2. The additional developments for the new solution will be built to leverage the new DB reality. Running on HANA, you can build today applications that were not possible before.

How it started

A consortium of 4 large Fashion customers is behind this initiative. Adidas, Tommy HiIlfiger, Armani and Luxottica form this group.

All (but Adidas, waiting for 2.0) will be live by end of year

Who is it for

This becomes a natural go-to solution for new Fashion customers.  For existing customers, I assume that the adoption will be gradual as customers need to evaluate the business case carefully. While some will rip benefits right away, maybe some won’t. What is inevitable is that this new product is the way to go moving forward and should be strongly considered in any long term strategy.

There seems to be tools made available to help transition existing customers from AFS to FMS, but I didn’t have a chance to get much details on it.

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