“An Introduction to SAP CAR” with Roshan Gupta
What is SAP CAR?
SAP CAR is an abbreviation for SAP Customer Activity Repository. SAP CAR is powered by SAP HANA’s real-time computing capability to provide Point Of Sale data transfer from stores to the SAP CAR platform and then provide sales analytics, inventory visibility, and demand forecasting in real-time.
In a nutshell, SAP Customer Activity Repository:
- Consolidates Omnichannel (Sales, Price & Promotions, Inventory, Availability and Sourcing) data to provide real-time analytics for the consuming applications/businesses
- Provides accurate demand forecast and optimise Replenishment processes/decisions
- Provides a strong platform for better promotions and product assortments that can be used for personalised marketing
- Provides real-time standard Fiori apps covering a wide range of SAP standard business processes/solutions
Why SAP CAR?
Basically, the current SAP POSDM (Point of Sale Data Management) technology is going to be out of maintenance support by Dec 2020 so the next technology upgrade over SAP POSDM (on Oracle) is SAP CAR (on HANA).
In addition to the capabilities mentioned in the SAP CAR introduction space, the SAP CAR is a more reliable platform. It accumulates all the POS data from various autonomous systems, processes it as per standard or bespoke business processes and provides a harmonized and single source of truth POS data for all the downstream consuming applications.
SAP CAR is a better technology platform considering it provides a lot of inbuilt standard features (depends on CARAB bundle version) which can be readily used for the effective business/operational activities.
Considering that the SAP CAR platform is a one-stop-shop for Inventory Visibility, On-Shelf availability, Promotions Management and Fiori Analytical Reporting, it helps to reduce the number of other “bespoke” systems doing the same work and keep the SAP landscape lean. This helps reduction in the operational/maintenance costs for those “legacy” or “bespoke” systems and keep the overall SAP landscape simple.
What are the timelines to Greenfield implement SAP CAR?
I think this is a subjective question because the timelines are derived from various factors such as and not limited to the:
- Organization’s Architectural Roadmap or business appetite to implement whole CAR suite including POSDTA (Point of Sale Data Transfer and Audit), PMR, UDF(Unified Demand Forecast), OSA (On Shelf Availability), Inventory Visibility, Fraud Management et al
- Duration to build a stable SAP CAR – Infra platform (on Cloud or On Premise)
- Total Number of customizations those need to be accommodated on top of the SAP CAR standard offerings
- Total Number of upstream and downstream integrations and their respective customizations
- Duration to prove the Latency, Volume throughout or other Non Functional Requirement
- GoLive Strategies (i.e. Pilots/Rollouts or a “Big Bang” approach) based on the organization’s desire to take a risk
What are your recommendations for organizations seeking SAP CAR as a future roadmap?
I believe that considering POSDM’s end life of 2020 is just a year away, organizations planning SAP CAR as a future roadmap should start the journey as soon as possible to disassociate with the POSDM platform before the end of 2020.
Starting the SAP CAR journey early will not only help to avoid the SAP’s out of maintenance support operational risks but also allows organisations to stabilise the new platform well ahead of time. This will also initiate the business improvements based on real-time data analytics.
Leveraging SAP CAR offerings i.e. Inventory Visibility, OSA, POSDTA, PMR, UDF et al. is a real game-changer as these all help the organisations in better planning and decision making which at the end of the day improves the customer’s shopping experience so it’s a win-win for both organisations and consumers.