This Supply Chain Matters commentary is a follow-up to our previous breaking news commentary regarding E2open and its acquisition of supply chain planning, collaboration and response management technology provider icon-scm.

Our initial commentary noted the previous favored Solution Extension partnership that icon-scm had in the area of SAP capabilities in response management or what is sometimes referred to as fast planning. I

In the interests of fairness, we noted that Supply Chain Matters had reached-out to SAP for comment in formulating our commentary, but had not heard back at the time of publishing.

This afternoon, SAP proactively responded and provided additional perspectives which Supply Chain Matters would like to share 

We were informed by SAP representatives that the Solution Extension partnership with icon-scm and the application SAP Supply Chain Supply Chain Response Management by ICON-SCM has not officially be dissolved as yet. There is a prescribed process for winding-down such a relationship in terms of communication with existing customers, attending to existing sales cycles and other matters, but we were informed that the partnership is in all practicality is likely to be closed. 

SAP confirmed that existing customers that have secured SAP support will be assured  that they will continue to receive that support until maintenance contract renewal, or for the life of the application  SAP customers utilizing icon-scm will likely have the option to renew maintenance with SAP or opt for another alternative including that of E2open. Existing customers should rest easy that both SAP and E2open have affirmed a transition support plan.

Regarding some background to the partnership, SAP indicated rather positive customer interest and uptake in the initial year of the icon-scm partnership, not so in the second and third year. Mark David, who has supply chain planning solution management responsibilities for SAP affirmed the importance of customer interest in supply chain response management capabilities.

While a lot of icon-scm interest came from customers from the high tech sector, SAP was challenged to generate customer interest from other industries.  This was not from a lack of effort from the SAP Supply Chain Management Solutions Management team. a muted admission that SAP sales teams did not have either the domain knowledge or patience to ride out elongated sales cycles. SAP customers were apparently demanding a more harmonized approach in integration to the broader array of the SAP Supply Chain Management applications suite and thus willing to continue use of existing SAP planning applications such as APO, awaiting such harmonization.

While SAP viewed icon-scm as strategic down the road, there was apparently not enough momentum to justify a corporate acquisition decision at this time.  SAP however affirmed to Supply Chain Matters that the company has been working on a full harmonized supply chain response management collection of capabilities that would address today’s challenges manifested by multi-channel fulfillment and more outsourced activities. That approach could likely include leveraging of the B2B networking patform provided by Ariba, SAP’s most recent acquisition concerning supply chain and procurement support.  

Obviously, the timetable of that effort has a renewed emphasis and urgency.

Since our initial commentary, Supply Chain Matters has received additional background and other information from E2open which will be shared in a later commentary.

Stay tuned.

Bob Ferrari

Disclosure: E2open is one of other named sponsors of the Supply Chain Matters blog.