This is our second Supply Chain Matters commentary regarding the SAP Insider sponsored Logistics and Supply Chain conference being held in Orlando this week. Readers can review our first commentary at the following link.

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to sit with Lori Mitchell-Keller, Senior Vice President of Suite Solution Management at SAP.  Her responsibilities include the SAP Supply Chain Management, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Manufacturing solution suites.

In our discussion, we touched upon a number of broad topics. They included the contributions that the solution management teams fulfill for SAP, the planning for HANA enabled applications within the future of SAP’s SCM and Manufacturing suite, SAP’s recent solution extension that involves ICON-SCM, and some potential SAP customer confusion related to SAP’s Rapid Deployment Solution offerings related to SCM processes.

SAP SCM focused customers may have noticed that SAP is moving toward broader integration of SCM focused applications with various other SAP applications that include SAP Business Objects Business Intelligence, SAP Performance Management, and other SAP Business Suite and ERP applications.  This effort began almost two years ago under the umbrella of end-to-end process management, and now transitioning into various Rapid Deployment Services (RDS) packaged solution offerings that provide customers the ability to implement in manageable intervals of defined scope functionality.  In our discussion, we specifically touched upon some messaging confusion related to SAP support for S&OP, in that there is already an SAP S&OP support application (Level 1) in release status.  A level two version of S&OP that incorporates more elements of HANA is scheduled for later this year. Supply Chain Matters advises SAP customers to make specific inquiries among their respective SAP account and SCM specialty sales teams to ascertain each of the distinct offerings and release timetables, including S&OP support.  Attendees at this conference should also take the opportunity to seek additional information from various SAP and partner representatives attending this conference.

On the topic of SAP of SAP Supply Chain Response Management, Ms. Keller clarified that there are actually two distinctive parts of ICON-SCM functionality, Response management and Collaboration Management.  SAP has licensed the Response Management functionality of ICON, which has been positioned as a prime integrator with SAP APO SNP to provide customer increased capabilities to perform what-if scenario analysis of supply chain plans and to better respond to unplanned events. As we noted in our initial commentary, SAP moved at an uncharacteristic light speed pace to acquire and integrate this specific part of ICON-SCM.  Keller reiterated that SAP Supply Network Collaboration (SNC) remains SAP’s prime application for supporting collaboration and coordination of a customer’s external supply chain. That stated, there is bound to be continued confusion and SAP teams will need to continue their product roadmap educational outreach efforts.

Stay tuned for our continued Supply Chain Matters and SAP Insider commentaries regarding this week’s conference.

Bob Ferrari