Perform Demand Planning Over the Web

  • by Shreekant W. Shiralkar, Global Head, SAP Analytics CoE, Tata Consultancy
  • October 1, 2005
SAP APO 4.1 provides a collaborative planning platform for Demand Planning (DP) that helps you to capture demand directly from customers or from your field sales force over the Internet. Learn tips from a recent implementation, and take advantage of improvements in key performance measures like forecast accuracy.
Key Concept
SAP APO 4.1 has an integrated Internet Transaction Server (ITS) and provides a collaborative planning feature, which is easy to configure and deploy. Earlier versions of SAP-APO needed an external ITS to offer collaborative planning, which required an extra piece of hardware. Collaboration improves accuracy in forecasting demand and optimizes transportation and warehouse management functions.
It doesn't take an analyst to appreciate that a highly accurate demand forecast requires direct entry by the demand generator or consumer. The Internet is an excellent channel for capturing such demand straight from the consumer or from a salesperson in contact with the consumer, requiring no intervention by demand planners. Capturing demand over the Web requires an APO Demand Planning (DP) entry option that is easy to use yet mitigates security risk. It should also meet a minimum bandwidth requirement and offer a tailor-made entry screen and options.

Starting with SCM Release 4.1, you can offer DP over the Web using integrated Internet Transaction Servers (ITS). This functionality allows your customers or sales representatives to give planning input directly over the Internet rather than having to use a PC loaded with SAPGUI that is connected to the company's network.

Earlier versions of SAP APO still have the option of using an external ITS. During my own implementation of the integrated approach, I had to do a great deal of experimentation, so I'd like to share with you the fruits of my time and effort and present my recommended method for configuring DP service over the Web. My methods include tasks normally performed by the Basis team — for instance, activating the service. All settings and images contained in this article are taken from SCM Release 4.1, with integrated ITS.

Shreekant W. Shiralkar

Shreekant W. Shiralkar is a senior management professional with experience on leading and managing business functions as well as technology consulting. He has authored best selling books and published many white papers on technology. He also holds patents for innovations. Presently he is global head of the SAP Analytics Centre of Excellence at Tata Consultancy.

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