7 Secrets to SAP BW – APO Integration

Table of Contents

Supply Chain Management Plays a Key Role In Our Economy


If you’re like me, you were quite impressed when, in his February 13, 2001 address to the U.S. Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Alan Greenspan mentioned  “new technologies for supply chain management … that “perceive imbalances in inventories at a very early stage … and cut production promptly in response to developing signs of intended inventory building". 

That was quite a while ago, and though we have suffered through a financial crisis and any number of calamities since, improving the supply chain and eliminating the bull-whip effect all up and down the supply chain remains an ongoing challenge. 


Supply Chain Tools


Fortunately, many tools exist, as they existed in 2001, to help smooth the flow. 


Those tools have continued to advance, however, even in the latest release of the SAP APO (Advanced Planner and Optimizer), part of the wider SAP SCM (Supply Chain Management) suite of products, one key question about SAP BW (Business Warehouse), always arises, and that is, how to integrate the two.


SAP APO Has a Mini SAP BW System Built In


You may not even be aware that SAP APO contains within it a mini-SAP BW system, but it does! 

You may not know that a key decision to be made on every SAP APO-SCM-BW project, based on the Planning Model(s), is whether to stick with a BW data mart approach or to use the more likely scenario of a SAP BW stand-alone system integrated to SAP APO. 

Today, we will do a high-level overview of what is available with regards to integrating APO and BW from an existing Business Content stand-point.


SAP APO BW SCM ModulesMain SAP APO Modules List


Get The Latest Master Install Guide

Consult the PAM


First, always keep in mind that for any scenario, you need to download and review the Master Install Guide and as well, consult the Product Availability Matrix (PAM).  This will at least ensure you have the proper components installed as a baseline.

Beyond that, you will to need identify the relevant SAP APO Business Content and install it. 

The list above is a very top-level view of the main areas you will be choosing from which include: 

  • Advanced Planner and Optimizer
  • Demand Planning
  • Maintenance and Service Planning
  • Production Planning/Detailed Planning
  • Sales Scheduling Agreement Processing
  • Supply Network Planning
  • ICH (Not Shown)
  • Transport Planning/Vehicle Scheduling (TP/VS), now Transportation Management or just TM


For most companies just starting out on their SCM journey, they either will be implementing Demand Planning or Supply Network Planning to start with.

This is not a 100% ironclad rule and many companies may be implementing different SAP modules in different sequences or even modules that are derived from the APO solution but are specific to an industry requirement, depending on their business requirements and industry.  As well, there are further specialized pieces of content for the process industries that need to be considered as well.

Decide on Required SAP BW Content

Regardless of which SAP APO module you are looking to implement, when it comes to which pieces of BW content you need to activate, as well as any manual enhancements done, the procedure is basically the same as any other piece of  SAP BW BI content activation.


  • Define the Requirement (and we have a BW Definition Guide you can download at the end of this for this purpose)

  • Identify the relevant content

  • Assume that the BI Content automated search is not 100% capable of finding all related and relevant content

  • Transfer it

  • Decide which method you want to use, i.e., all before, all before and after

  • Install and Activate

  • Check

That's about all there is to it, but of course, as SCM is a vast, complex system, this is highly simplified but the basic approach is the same regardless of scope and scale

One caveat to keep in mind when deciding on BI Content is revealed in the following screen-shot

Required APO BW Elements


Ensure Your Requirements Are Fully Defined


As mentioned earlier, you should start by properly defining your requirement and to that end, we provide a template for you to start the process with.


Download SAP BI  Technical Specification  Template


Remember, integrating SAP APO and BW can be both simple and extremely complex.  If you need SAP BW support, then we may be able to help.


Request SAP Services



Download SAP BW Mindmap

Learn what SAP Business Warehouse is and what it does in under five minutes

Get this Mindmap

Lonnie Ayers

About the Author: Lonnie Ayers is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing consultant, with additional certifications in Hubspot Content Optimization, Hubspot Contextual Marketing, and is a Hubspot Certified Partner. Specialized in demand generation and sales execution, especially in the SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Partner space, he has unique insight into the tough challenges Service Providers face with generating leads and closing sales using the latest digital tools. With 15 years of SAP Program Management experience, and dozens of complex sales engagements under his belt, he helps partners develop and communicate their unique sales proposition. Frequently sought as a public speaker in various events, he is available for both inhouse engagements and remote coaching.
Balanced Scorecard Consultant

He also recently released a book "How to Dominate Any Market - Turbocharging Your Digital Marketing and Sales Results", which is available on Amazon.

View All Articles by Lonnie Ayers

The SAP Blog

Subscribe to our blog and receive SAP BW Updates, demand generation, inbound marketing, sales enablement, technology and revenue generation insights and ideas delivered right to your email.