MUFI Rating & Risk – SAP APO DP

MUFI Rating & Risk – SAP APO DP

MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability

VendorSAP (Select For Vendor Profile)

Introduction

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 modeling 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. In fact, 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 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.

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, and when we review SAP DP implementations, the implementing company is almost always forecasting at a very low level of sophistication.

When we interview customers of DP that are live with DP, we are unable to find a single satisfied account, and 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 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 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, and 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 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.

References

Brightwork Forecast Explorer for Error Calculation

Improving Your Forecast Error Management

Did you know that most companies don’t know what their forecast error is? If a company knows an error percentage but not the interval or the aggregation level measured, that means they don’t know. Most forecasting applications make getting a weighted forecast error extremely difficult. That is why we developed a SaaS application that allows anyone to find out their forecast error with a simple file upload.

The Brightwork Forecast Explorer is free to use in the beginning. See by clicking the image below:

Software Selection Book

SELECTION

Enterprise Software Selection: How to Pinpoint the Perfect Software Solution Using Multiple Sources of Information

What the Book Covers

Essential reading for success in your next software selection and implementation.

Software selection is the most important task in a software implementation project, as it is your best (if not only) opportunity to make sure that the right software—the software that matches the business requirements—is being implemented. Choosing the software that is the best fit clears the way for a successful implementation, yet software selection is often fraught with issues and many companies do not end up with the best software for their needs. However, the process can be greatly simplified by addressing the information sources that influence software selection. This book can be used for any enterprise software selection, including ERP software selection.

This book is a how-to guide for improving the software selection process and is formulated around the idea that—much like purchasing decisions for consumer products—the end user and those with the domain expertise must be included. In addition to providing hints for refining the software selection process, this book delves into the often-overlooked topic of how consulting and IT analyst firms influence the purchasing decision, and gives the reader an insider’s understanding of the enterprise software market.

This book is connected to several other SCM Focus Press books including Enterprise Software TCO and The Real Story Behind ERP.

By reading this book you will:

  • Learn how to apply a scientific approach to the software selection process.
  • Interpret vendor-supplied information to your best advantage. This is generally left out of books on software selection. However, consulting companies and IT analysts like Gartner have very specific biases. Gartner is paid directly by software vendors — a fact they make every attempt not to disclose while consulting companies only recommend software for vendors that give them the consulting business. Consulting companies all have an enormous financial bias that prevents them from offering honest advice — and this is part of their business model.
  • Understand what motivates a software vendor.
  • Learn how the institutional structure and biases of consulting firms affect the advice they give you, and understand how to properly interpret information from consulting companies.
  • Make vendor demos work to your benefit.
  • Know the right questions to ask on topics such as integration with existing software, cloud versus on-premise vendors, and client references.
  • Differentiate what is important to know about software for improved “implement-ability” versus what the vendor thinks is important for improved “sell-ability.”
  • Better manage your software selection projects to ensure smoother implementations.

Buy Now

Chapters

  • Chapter 1: Introduction to Software Selection
  • Chapter 2: Understanding the Enterprise Software Market
  • Chapter 3: Software Sell-ability versus Implement-ability
  • Chapter 4: How to Use Consulting Advice on Software Selection
  • Chapter 5: How to Use the Reports of Analyst Firms Like Gartner
  • Chapter 6: How to Use Information Provided by Vendors
  • Chapter 7: How to Manage the Software Selection Process
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