Slaying the S&OP Dragons with SAP HANA

Posted by Bert Legrand on August 23, 2012

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Whether you’re at stage 1 or 4 in the Gartner maturity model, whether you’re using Excel or the latest advanced planning systems (including those masquerading as “purpose-built” for S&OP) – there are some S&OP headaches that seem like they just haven’t changed over the years. You still spend too much time collecting, second-guessing and summarizing data. You still can’t get fast, accurate visibility into revenue/profit impacts and supply requirements after even a basic change in demand. It’s an incredible effort to make sound business decisions, let alone drive execution. I’ve helped over 70 companies now improve their S&OP processes, across all different industries, while working at Manugistics, i2, Steelwedge and now SAP – and the story is always the same.


Why is it that after 30 years, we’re still facing the same challenges? The truth is that S&OP and IBP (Integrated Business Planning) require a lot of data and number crunching. How much? Multiply your number of products by your customers. Multiply that by locations, by your capacity/material resources, by a 4-year planning horizon and the number of demand, price, finance, inventory, capacity and material plans included in your S&OP process. This yields billions of data points – most of which are calculated. And calculations like these just can’t be handled by Excel or traditional database technologies. Hence, the 30-year-old headaches caused when we’re forced to aggregate data (to infamous “product families”) and wait for inaccurate, outdated results.

Is there good news? Thankfully, yes – there is. SAP HANA in-memory technology makes it possible now to analyze massive volumes of data and plan in real-time. And our team has built a slick, easy-to-use S&OP application that leverages its power – the first we would argue that meets the S&OP challenge laid out by Tom Wallace and Oliver Wight. How fast is HANA? 460 billion rows of data in less than one second. Experts like Lora Cecere agree technology is key.

Let’s uncover how HANA can help you slay those ancient S&OP dragons with our new SAP Sales and Operations Planning application. Here are ten S&OP value drivers enabled exclusively by SAP HANA that I’ll review in detail in a series of upcoming blog posts.

Top Ten S&OP Value Drivers Enabled by SAP HANA

  1. Unlimited Simulation: What-if changes by anyone, anytime, on the full detailed demand-supply-finance model from easy-to-use Excel planning views!
  2. Scenario Comparison: Compare and promote scenario plans without compromising speed and model size.
  3. Instant Financial Plan Impact: Change your plans and immediately see the effect on costs and gross and net profit across the entire business.
  4. Real-time Alerts: No more waiting for the alert to show up, it’s already there.
  5. Real-time Customizable Analytics: See the impact of changes as you click refresh in state-of-art analytics!
  6. Real-time Constrained Planning: Change demand and see the impact based on supply constraints – without having to get a cup of coffee.
  7. Load in the Details: Bring in detailed data from APO and any other system without pre-aggregating to simplify data integration among other things.
  8. Calculate at the Detailed Levels: Get accurate results by computing financial and supply calculations at low levels. Even seemingly simple calculations like revenue will dramatically improve.
  9. Drill Down, all the Way Down: Work at the aggregate level (e.g., by Family) and easily drill down to specific areas within the same view in Excel or analytics (and change the detailed mix).
  10. Drive Execution: We keep and compute details by product, resource, customer, component, etc. So the data is ready for use in APO, other planning systems and your ERP—to drive even more value!
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