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How the Cloud Helps Midsize Companies Grow and Compete

IT Becomes a True Business Partner with SAP Integrated Business Planning

Cloud computing has taken off as a way for enterprises to cut costs and increase agility, but the benefits don’t stop at large corporations. The cloud also provides practical solutions to the challenges facing the limited IT budget and headcount of midsize businesses. This is especially true for scenarios involving supply chain management or business planning, which can require in-depth technical capabilities that midsize companies may find difficult to obtain. For that reason midsize businesses can benefit from implementing SAP Integrated Business Planning in the cloud not only to improve IT efficiency, but to even radically change the nature of the service they give to business users in their company by evolving from operating as a technical function to becoming a true business partner.

Bringing IT and the Business Together

SAP Integrated Business Planning can act as a unifying platform for companies that are growing organically or through mergers and acquisitions. Processes that have been driven by multiple (and frequently inconsistent) Microsoft Excel spreadsheets can instead be centralized into a common, end-to-end business planning process, offering a global view of every aspect of the business.

This same single version of the truth can be used by all concerned business functions. Teams, business units, and even companies learning how to work together post-M&A can benefit from better business alignment as well as increased productivity due to a reduction in manual and technical work enabled by a cloud implementation of SAP Integrated Business Planning while harmonizing data and business planning at a global level, cloud implementations of SAP Integrated Business Planning also enable users to perform real-time data aggregation and disaggregation due to the speed and processing power of SAP HANA’s inmemory technology. In practical terms, this means that midsize businesses now have the ability to perform planning and decision making at multiple levels, from stock keeping units (SKUs) to product families, and from distribution centers to markets and industry aggregations.

Empowering Midsize Businesses in the Cloud

Deploying SAP Integrated Business Planning in the cloud also frees up IT teams from time-consuming, low-value-added activities. Application upgrades, server sizing, back-up, and IT maintenance are done by SAP when the solution is deployed in the cloud, leaving the IT team with more bandwidth for business-centric activities and for helping the business drive strategic decisions. Fewer technical workers are focused on maintenance tasks and can spend more time on value added activities such as data analytics that can then drive strategic insights for the business.

With a cloud implementation, companies can achieve the widely recognized financial benefits by shifting
from a capital expenditure to an operational expenditure, but there are also speed and return on investment
to consider. By avoiding a complex on-premise implementation, project risk is lessened and time to value is increased. Additionally, the user experience is easy to learn and understand, making adoption much easier

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A cloud implementation of SAP Integrated Business Planning allows midsize companies to replace scattered, inefficient planning processes with a consistent, central, and scalable solution. This aligns all stakeholders towards the same goals and aligns IT more closely with the business. When implemented in the cloud, SAP Integrated Business Planning becomes a key platform for growth in midsize businesses.

Authors: Luca Massasso and Krishna Mamidipaka, Bizbrain Technologies’ Co-founders in collaboration with SAPInsider.