MUFI Rating & Risk – SAP APO DP
MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability
Vendor: SAP (Select For Vendor Profile)
This is SAP’s demand planning application, which is out of the SAP APO or Advanced Planner and Optimizer suite.
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.
All scores out of a possible 10.
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.
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.
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