Executive Summary

  • This is the Brightwork Research & Analysis software rating series.
  • We rate both the software and estimate the risk of implementing each application.

MUFI Rating & Risk for SAP APO DP

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

VendorSAP (Select For Vendor Profile)


This is SAP’s demand planning application, which is out of the SAP APO or Advanced Planner and Optimizer suite.

Application Detail

SAP DP shares an unfortunate technological heritage with SAP BW/BI, SAP’s data warehouse. This is because both applications use the Data Warehouse Workbench to enable the created of data structures. Demand planning applications are built on top of business intelligence platforms. The SAP Data Warehouse Workbench has the lowest efficiency of any application data modelling functionality that we have ever tested.

Interestingly, in the business intelligence space (which demand planning is strongly related as it is primarily a reporting system or business intelligence data platform. But with demand planning functionality added on top), is moving in the opposite direction of where both BW and DP are present. That is easier to use applications, more self-optimized data structures. In this way, BW and DP are dinosaurs and are primarily sold to low information customers where the IT department are mere “SAP shops,” and has little interest in participating in an actual software selection.

DP has problems with managing hierarchies, with disaggregation, with best-fit functionality, with lifecycle planning, and the list goes on from there. SAP DP has the lowest scoring user interface of all the forecasting applications we test. SAP APO consultants seem to live in a bubble concerning DP. Those that specialize in DP rate that their clients are satisfied with DP and that DP is a very functional application. Manual adjustments can be made with something called phase in and phase out profiles (although users prefer not to use this functionality), but this, unfortunately, requires the creation of often thousands of profiles.

We have first-hand experience-configuring DP and in troubleshooting the application and we do not think it is possible to get very much from the application, and it is even more challenging to maintain the application after the consultants leave. In addition to all of this, SAP DP has the most extended implementation timelines of any forecasting application that we cover, as well as having the most frequent re-implementations of the software. Some clients have asked us if future versions of SAP DP will be better. We have been asked these questions regarding SAP DP for around seven years now. However, DP has stabilized, and most of the development is going into other modules in APO such as SPP and EWM. Furthermore, development effort seems to have been pulled away from APO in general, as other areas such as Hana have increased in importance for SAP versus advanced planning. This, unfortunately, leaves a lot of broken functionality in APO that may never actually get fixed.

For companies that have don’t have SAP DP, the best move is not to purchase it. What to do if your company has purchased it is covered in our Project Planning Package for SAP APO DP.

MUFI Scores

All scores out of a possible 10.

MUFI Scores

Search for the vendor in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table. Shortening Key: 
  • Ma. = Maintainability
  • Us. = Usability
  • Fu. = Functionality
  • Im. = Implementability
Average Score for Big ERP5. ERP
Average Score for CRM6.
Average Score for Small and Medium ERP8.386.78.5Small and Medium ERP
Average Score for Finance8.88.888.8Finance
Average Score for Demand Planning7.67.277.1Demand Planning
Average Score for Supply Planning6.76.976.8Supply Planning
Average Score for Production Planning6.86.976.9Production Planning
Average Score for BI Heavy5. Heavy
Average Score for PLM77.26.87.3PLM
Average Score for BI Light7.78.798.3BI Light
Arena Solutions Arena PLM10101010PLM
AspenTech AspenOne48107Production Planning
Birst88.5108BI Light
ERPNext10107.510Small and Medium ERP
Delfoi Planner866.57Production Planning
Demand Works Smoothie SP910710Supply Planning
Hamilton Grant RM1098.59PLM
IBM Cognos2.731.53BI Heavy
Infor Epiphany7865CRM
Infor Lawson8767Big ERP
Intuit QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions9959Finance
JDA DM97.588Demand Planning
Microsoft Dynamics CRM2322CRM
NetSuite CRM6433CRM
Netsuite OneWorld7788Big ERP
Oracle BI4436BI Heavy
Oracle CRM On Demand4535CRM
Oracle Demantra533.54.5Demand Planning
Oracle JD Edwards World4136Big ERP
Oracle RightNow6745CRM
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS10101010Production Planning
Preactor8737Production Planning
QlikTech QlikView99109BI Light
Rootstock9899Small and Medium ERP
Sage X38878Big ERP
Salesforce Enterprise88.597.5CRM
SAP APO DP3432Demand Planning
SAP APO PP/DS2243Production Planning
SAP APO SNP3484Supply Planning
SAP BI/BW1.5242BI Heavy
SAP Business Objects32.573BI Heavy
SAP ECC336.53Big ERP
SAP SmartOps4475.5Supply Planning
SAS BI6.5796BI Heavy
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting7897Demand Planning
Tableau (BI)9101010BI Light
Tableau (Forecasting)10859Demand Planning
Teradata86.39.76BI Heavy
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)7897Demand Planning
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)56107Supply Planning

Vendor and Application Risk

Software Decisions Risk Defined: (See This Link for Our Categorization of Risk)

SAP DP has all types of functionality problems, which are aside from just the Data Warehouse Workbench, and companies that use SAP DP are dissatisfied with the product. When we review SAP DP implementations, the implementing company is almost always forecasting at a deficient level of sophistication.

When we interview customers of DP that are live with DP, we are unable to find a single satisfied account. While DP may be running on an account, we see that most users are exporting the data and then performing forecast adjustments with Excel. Consultants are repeatedly brought in to fix DP, but both SAP and their partners in crime the major consulting companies hide the universality of problems with DP from clients.

Likelihood of Implementation Success

This accounts for both the application and the vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.

Likelihood of Application Implementation Success and Failure

Estimates are for a typical project. A specific implementation requires details from the project to make a project-specific estimate.

Search for the application in this table using the search bar in the upper right of the table.
ApplicationProb of Implementation SuccessProb of Implementation Failure
SAP Smartops0.390.61
NetSuite CRM0.460.54
Sugar CRM0.620.48
Base CRM0.910.09
SAP CRM0.350.65
Salesforce Enterprise0.720.28
QlikTech QlikView0.820.18
Tableau (BI)0.980.02
SAP Crystal Reports0.460.54
SAS BI0.760.24
Oracle BI0.350.65
IBM Cognos0.230.77
Infor Epiphany0.580.42
Microsoft Dynamics CRM0.260.74
Oracle RightNow CRM0.410.59
Oracle CRM On Demand0.360.64
SAP Business Objects0.320.68
SAP BI/BW0.250.75
SAP PLM0.290.71
Hamilton Grant RM0.890.11
Arena Solutions0.960.04
Delfoi Planner0.70.3
PlanetTogether Galaxy APS0.960.04
AspenTech AspenOne0.550.45
SAP APO PP/DS0.270.73
Demand Works Smoothie SP0.930.07
ToolsGroup SO99 (Supply)0.820.18
Demand Works Smoothie0.960.04
Tableau (Forecasting)0.90.1
SAS Demand Driven Forecasting0.820.18
ToolsGroup SO99 (Forecasting)0.860.14
JDA DM0.570.43
Oracle Demantra0.330.67
SAP APO DP0.280.72
Intuit QB Enterprise0.80.2
Microsoft Dynamics AX0.40.6
SAP Business One0.490.51
Sage X30.620.38
Infor Lawson0.580.42
Epicor ERP0.40.6
Oracle JD Edwards World0.310.69
Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne0.360.64
SAP ERP ECC/R/30.320.68
NetSuite OneWorld0.650.35

Risk Definition

See this link for more on our categorizations of risk. We also offer a Buyer Specific Risk Estimation as a service for those that want a comprehensive analysis.

Risk Management Approach

The best approach to implementing SAP DP is to keep expectations low and keep the configuration as simple as possible. One approach we have recommended many times is to combine DP with a far less expensive application that is much more capable than SAP DP, and then to integrate the applications. Demand Works Smoothie, and Forecast Pro are two good examples of applications that can be used, as A) they are both capable forecasting systems. B) they are inexpensive and therefore, it can be justified to have another demand planning application in addition to SAP DP. Both applications are quite functional in many areas that are DP’s weaknesses. A perfect example of this is attributes and in hierarchies. We have done this several times, and if you require solution architecture assistance and how to configure these systems to work together, contact us.

Finished With Your Analysis?

To go back to the Software Selection Package page for the Demand Planning software category. Or go to this link to see other analytical products for SAP APO DP.