Developed based on SAP HANA, it’s accessible on mobile devices through SAP Fiori, equipped with predictive functions, and integrated with Microsoft Excel: SAP Integrated Business Planning is the ideal complement for SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization, which SAP will continue to support until 2025.

What does SAP Integrated Business Planning feature?

SAP Integrated Business Planning is a planning solution for supply chain management that covers an array of sales and marketing requirements, including in budget and production planning, on a single platform. In relation to the established component SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization, it contains a number of firsts, such as predictive functions that offer a more intuitive interface and mobile app support. The new solution was developed natively on SAP HANA with SAP UI5 technology, which aids in the development of user-friendly interfaces through SAP Fiori. It also accounts for the fact that Microsoft Excel continues to be a preferred tool for many companies. SAP Integrated Business Planning contains an Excel add-on with which users can log into a SAP HANA database and jump straight into planning scenarios.

What modules does SAP Integrated Business Planning consist of?

Supply chain control tower represents the nerve center of SAP Integrated Business Planning. It collects and processes all of the alerts issued by a variety of systems – SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization, SAP CRM, SAP ERP, and even non-SAP software. The solution also comes with 37 predefined key performance indicators (KPIs) and the option to create further custom KPIs.

While SAP Integrated Business Planning for sales and operations is available both on premise and in the cloud, its development has generally followed a “cloud-first” methodology. The goal of the approach is to facilitate “3D planning,” which involves aligning sales, distribution, and marketing with the demands of production and finance in collaborative settings. To this end, it also makes use of the SAP Jam platform.

SAP Integrated Business Planning for demand is the demand-planning application. In contrast to SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization, it comes with new predictive procedures — ARIMA models, for instance — and special pattern-recognition mechanisms that can look ahead and render forecasts on product sales for specific time periods.

SAP Integrated Business for inventory focuses mainly on achieving greater transparency in safety stocks. To help users gain dynamic control of these stocks along the entire supply chain based on the demand situation at hand and related sales projections, it includes “multi-echelon” algorithms from SmartOps – a company SAP acquired two years ago.

Meanwhile, SAP Integrated Business Planning for supply gathers information on the supply of materials, including those necessary for production. This ensures that sufficient material is always on hand for such processes. Allows for supply simulations as an extension of the S&OP process, capable of providing a capacity constrained plan that can be released as demand for further supply processing.

What advantages does SAP Integrated Business Planning offer compared to the existing SAP solution?

As mentioned, SAP Integrated Business Planning for demand supports the use of ARIMA models. The underlying predictive methodology makes it possible to perform quantitative analyses, for example. These were never developed for SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization, which can only conduct analyses based on time series.

Short-term forecasts are now available on a daily basis. Aided by demand sensing, users can thus respond more quickly to the latest sales developments.

Based on data from point-of-sale systems, market research analyses, and even historical sales information, it will soon be possible to develop forecast patterns that offer improved sales projections for individual products.

Since SAP Integrated Business Planning was developed natively on the SAP HANA platform, its performance outpaces that of systems that have merely been modified to use in-memory technology.

While SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization enables users to access Microsoft Excel – the most commonly used analytics instrument among companies – SAP Integrated Business Planning includes support for the spreadsheet program as a standard tool. This provides comprehensive views of current planning situations through SAP HANA.

Through the collaboration platform SAP Jam, users can work together on planning budgets, allocating assignments, setting up meetings, archiving knowledge, and sharing documents on their smartphones and tablets across different departments.

From the transactional side all the way to analytics, a real-time dashboard provides an overview of the current status of projects along the supply chain. This function is also available on mobile devices thanks to SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori.

Finally, SAP Integrated Business Planning makes it possible to display systems that issue alerts on a map of the world.

What’s the current roadmap for SAP Integrated Business Planning?

While SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization will continue to be available as an SCM platform and covered by SAP maintenance until 2025, it is no longer part of the company’s long-term development plans. The next enhancement package (enhancement pack 4, expected in early 2016) will improve the component’s interfaces with the help of SAP Fiori, introduce enhanced availability checks, and include further optimizations in the use of SAP HANA.

In addition to its inclusion in SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization (in the production planning and detailed scheduling module), detailed scheduling will be integrated into SAP ERP at the beginning of next year, making it part of the new SAP S/4HANA suite. That is just the beginning of SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization’s integration into SAP S/4HANA. Enhancement pack 8, for instance, will eventually incorporate production planning and detailed scheduling into SAP S/4HANA as part of a logistics add-on.

“SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization will live on in SAP S/4HANA,” affirms Peter Bickenbach, an SCM expert at SAP.

Customers will thus be able to weigh the benefits of gradually implementing the SAP Integrated Business Planning applications as they continue to improve their planning instruments. The solution’s first module was SAP HANA Sales and Operations Planning, which is now used by more than 50 customers around the world – including the likes of Syngenta, Mondelez, and Exxon Mobile.

The full set of SAP Integrated Business Planning applications will be available in the cloud toward the end of 2015. Companies that opt for the cloud versions of all of these offerings will benefit from SAP’s “textbook approach,” which prescribes the use of the complete range of SAP Integrated Business Planning applications in tandem with the new SAP S/4HANA suite.

How does SAP plan to support customers in their transition to SAP Integrated Business Planning?

Through SAP Consulting services, customers have the option of working with the company on developing a tailored, dynamic roadmap, evaluating their perspectives on the path to SAP S/4HANA, and discussing SAP Integrated Business Planning on demand, along with the incorporation of detailed scheduling into SAP ERP.

An overview of the entire logistics process, from requirements management to the logistics solution scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2015.
An overview of the entire logistics process, from requirements management to the logistics solution scheduled to arrive in the fall of 2015.

Meanwhile, those more interested in diving right in can contemplate building a “model company.” This involves assembling a system landscape and testing the individual modules of SAP Integrated Business Planning based on a master copy of the customer’s system. Here, the goal is to get an idea of the possibilities the software offers, put processes through their paces, utilize KPIs, and compile dashboards — without using customer-specific configurations, however. This “starter package” takes around four to six weeks.

In a corresponding proof of concept, “real” customer data can be used in running through select customer examples. A POC requires approximately eight to 12 weeks.

Customers that are ready to take the plunge can then opt for a rapid-deployment solution that will enable them to implement SAP Integrated Business Planning in short order as part of a fixed-price package.

This information was compiled in collaboration with Peter Bickenbach, head of the SAP Center of Excellence for SCM (DACH), SAP Germany.

Top image: Shutterstock