IBP and the demand for consulting expertise:
SAP is betting big on IBP. A case in point is the exciting roadmap (1) that the company has in store. Furthermore, the announcement that APO will be out of mainstream maintenance come 2025 has reinforced SAP’s commitment to IBP and has generated a sense of urgency among APO customers to climb on the IBP bandwagon. For other companies, the confidence SAP has reposed in IBP’s ability to become a worthy successor of APO coupled with the bold vision of digital business planning has emboldened them to invest or consider investing in IBP. In this scenario, one can expect the demand for knowledgeable IBP consultants to rise for the foreseeable future.
Consulting skillset needed to thrive in the IBP market:
It is important to note that the skillset needed for consultants to succeed with IBP are quite different from what was needed for APO. There are a couple of main reasons for this. With the emphasis on digitalization, there is a need for processes to be designed outside-in (think of trends such as customer centricity, high degree of personalization etc.). This requires a deeper understanding of the business environment (compared to a more traditional environment that was at play with APO). A second factor that is crucial is the technology platform itself, which is cloud based with a quarterly release cycle. This places greater demands on the consultant to constantly upskill herself/himself.
Thirdly, and also related to the technology platform, IBP is a highly flexible solution and offers a wide array of ways to solving a specific problem (more so than APO). This, along with the higher degree of influence of external/market variables on design, makes design choices more nuanced and requires greater expertise on the part of the consultant to select the right “tool” for the job at hand.
IBP bootcamp structure and USP:
To prepare IBP consultants for challenges they will face, alphachain has put together a bootcamp that adopts a case-study based approach to hands-on training in IBP. The case study provides a realistic business context and challenges participants to think through problems and come up with sensible solutions that are fit for purpose. It also provides ample opportunities to introduce conceptual tools and structured approaches to problem solving (e.g. a systematic way to move from business problem to design options to design decision to configuration building blocks to actual system implementation and testing). The bootcamp will not only prepare participants to pass the certification exam from SAP (2), but also gets them project ready, which we believe is a feature of the case-study based approach.