What is SAP IBP S&OP?

Last Updated on March 4, 2021 by Shaun Snapp

Executive Summary

  • SAP IBP is SAP’s replacement for APO…so what is SAP IBP S&OP?
  • We provide our feedback on IBP.


SAP IBP is SAP’s attempt to replace APO. For whatever reason, SAP decided that it needed a new solution — and this was supposedly an incremental solution, which began with S&OP. So what is SAP IBP S&OP?

Our References for This Article

If you want to see our references for this article and other related Brightwork articles, see this link.

Lack of Financial Bias Notice: The vast majority of content available on the Internet about SAP is marketing fiddle-faddle published by SAP, SAP partners, or media entities paid by SAP to run their marketing on the media website. Each one of these entities tries to hide its financial bias from readers. The article below is very different.

  • First, it is published by a research entity.
  • Second, no one paid for this article to be written, and it is not pretending to inform you while being rigged to sell you software or consulting services. Unlike nearly every other article you will find from Google on this topic, it has had no input from any company's marketing or sales department.

S&OP or Full Planning Solution?

If one reads SAP’s IBP material is confusing as to IBP’s scope. The concept was that IBP would be just S&OP to begin but later grow to encapsulate the planning that exists in the DP, SNP modules at least. GATP and PP/DS have been moved over to S/4HANA, or at least partially. This means that the intent is to keep IBP at a high level of abstraction than SAP APO.

This is a video produced by SAP on IBP. Some of it is educational, but nothing from SAP can be believed without first being fact-checked. The video shows a few screens from IBP, most importantly a collaboration screen, but the parts of IBP shown are mostly underwhelming. 

SAP removed this video from YouTube.

This is one of SAP’s videos on the S&OP functionality in IBP. It explains virtually nothing about the S&OP functionality of IBP. I understand these men can speak German, but their English is weak. Normally it is recommended to get people who can speak English without a heavy accent if the video is going to be in English. This English level will get you through an airport ok or allow you to order food in restaurants, but it is not sufficient to explain concepts engagingly. Both men have limited English vocabulary, and therefore the discussion will naturally be stunted. Amazingly, they thought this was interesting enough to put out on YouTube. 

If the leaders of IBP have limited English skills, it is not necessary to have the presenters be senior members of SAP. They could hire a production company to create videos.

This video appears entirely unscripted, and it is a wasted opportunity to explain IBP. SAP has very few videos on IBP, and those that exist are mostly too high level to learn how IBP actually works. SAP is a $24 billion per year company that can’t seem to develop a consistent video strategy for its products.

By contrast, this is a video for a tiny company that makes a peculiar bike/unicycle. Obviously, IBP is abstract, but look at what a great job this video does in communicating the enjoyment from riding this device?

If I did not know better, I would guess that SAP was a poor company and Half Bike was a wealthy company. SAP puts so little effort into creating engaging content.

SAP could start thinking about creative ways to make engaging videos for its products, rather than having every video it produces being either middle-aged men talking about how great their new product is or just showing some screen captures. It ends up being a slog for the viewer.

Another video that is so bad on IBP I don’t think any human could watch it from beginning to end. It is another video that is highly “accent challenged.”

Getting Misinformed on IBP and S&OP

Overall the material published about the S&OP functionality of IBP is of inferior quality. See this quotation from a highly rated article by Google on IBP and S&OP.

In order to have an efficient and seamless supply chain, enterprises need to focus on accuracy, collaborative decision-making, responses that are timely in nature, and agility to react and adjust quickly to the changing market and business needs. However, achieving this goal can be a faraway reality if the enterprise’s sales, marketing, finance, and operations teams are not in sync and lack effective communication. SAP IBP S&OP allows you to create a cross-departmental S&OP plan that has the ability to balance profitability, inventory levels, and exceptional service. – Intrigosys

Intrigosys is just another SAP consulting firm that will tell any lie they have to sell IBP implementations. It is amazing who would hire a company with obviously inaccurate information on its website or put so little effort into doing anything but repeating standard bullet points. Again, there is virtually no information in this article from Intrigosys, and the information that is contained is not reliable due to Intrigosys’ financial bias.

Clarkston, another SAP consulting firm, has the following to say on IBP and S&OP.

The technology available today is trying to keep up with companies’ transitions to Integrated Business Planning. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are working to provide a backbone to facilitate the process. SAP, for example, has been working on four new cloud-based applications for IBP covering sales and operations, inventory, supply, and supply control tower. Although only partially available at this time, this SAP functionality hopes to help automate some of the more challenging pieces of IBP, especially the scenario planning and planning adjustments.

Again, there is little real information contained in this quotation. The system is “supposed to work like this” or “supposed to work like that.”

All of this is just par for the course when SAP consulting companies try to write about an SAP application or database. Basically, they pushed out some limp and generic content and now would like to be hired to implement your IBP software.

Our Key Observations About IBP

  • If it did not have SAP pushing it, it is doubtful that it would be a prominent application.
  • IBP is confused as to what it is. It seeks to be both an S&OP application and a supply chain planning application — and how it fits with modules like GATP and PPDS that have been moved into S/4HANA is not well explained by SAP. This is a significant disadvantage to IBP, as it means waiting for SAP to figure it out.
  • IBP was introduced back in 2013 and is still being fleshed out and figuring out its messaging.

In evaluating the collaboration functionality that makes up the S&OP, it is not clear that it would be used. The overall solution is not well thought out, and nor is it well designed.


IBP is just a generic planning solution that happens to focus on S&OP. So far, it has not found very much implementation success, and surveys by Lora Cecere have found generally low satisfaction with IBP. IBP does not appear to be worth the implementation, but it is normally priced as a premium application.

Much of what IBP is offering is just usability through export to Excel. However, it is not necessary to move to IBP to get this functionality. For example, provide support for APO that allows us to add several boosters that improve APO and fix significant flaws in APO, and that also enables APO to have data exported to Excel and then brought back in from Excel. This service is available at less than the cost of what SAP customers currently pay for SAP support on APO.