Chapter 3. Supply Chain Landscape

It will pay to note that SAP Supply Chain Management Advanced Planning and Optimization is not Microsoft Excel, and while it does in fact contain some spreadsheets, in and of itself it is simply not a spreadsheet product. Respecting the profound power of spreadsheets, SAP has bolted that power onto APO by way of BW (SAP Business Information Warehouse), which enables dynamic reports in Excel based on real-time extracts from APO.

“And why might I care?” the reader should probably be asking. APO’s distinction from Microsoft Excel is noted first and foremost because it is possible, even desirable, to have instructional treatments of Excel that are entirely business neutral. That is, Excel can be taught in total isolation from a business context. Spreadsheets are intended to list, cross-list, display, and slice and dice information—any kind of information that can be reduced to dimensions or quantities. One can use Excel to draw up project Gantts, to analyze stock market data, to list schedules, or to write cooking recipes. Excel is a veritable “Switzerland” of software applications. So business neutral is Excel that it need not be used for business at all: It is a perfect solution for all manner of scientific and mathematical operations. Excel will do it all; it does not care and is designed not to care about the kind of data a user applies in it. As such, instruction on Excel need not address any particular knowledge domain; in fact, a good instructional ...

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