MASTER DATA AND INTEGRATION BETWEEN CORE SAP AND APO / SCM

Despite APO or SCM now being on its sixth sojourn, it is still a long lost cousin in SAP integration terms. APO has many master data tables that mirror core SAP but generally with different names and with more attributes that are specific to planning. APO also has various planning versions which support what-if planning, each planning version can have its own version of master data.

The overall picture is one of a lot of master data complexity to support the functionality. However the complexity is really needed to support these calculations when you understand that SAP is highly configurable and has to deal with many different scenarios. Of course your company might be only interested in 20% of this opportunity and the other 80% is essentially noise! This isn’t a APO fact, this is a SAP one and to be fair one that is general for all configurable enterprise systems and not just SAP.

Where APO and data does become complicated in a peculiarly SAP way is that it has something called the Core-Interface that passes master data and transactional data between core SAP and APO. As transactions and master data changes pass through this interface, trying to keep the two systems in synchronization, they can frequently get stuck when activities happen out of sequence! This places heavy demands on the users (of various departments) to do their activities following a script with a specific sequence.

When activities happen out of sequence, transactions for the material or product in question get held in a queue needing manual intervention. Someone will then have to diagnose the problem and unpick it! Working with APO requires specific technical support in this area. For a large company this role will be a full time job and for an international company, there could be a team of people doing this!

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