Since 2007, when SAP acquired Outlooksoft, SAP BPC has been a part of SAP’s product portfolio and the number of SAP BPC customers quickly grew from mere 700 customers in 2007 to tens of thousands of customers and users over the years. SAP BPC provided a rock-solid on-premise planning solution for customers. When the world economy embraced cloud technology, SAP was able to satisfy that need with SAP Analytics Cloud, its flagship analytics and planning SAAS solution. Though SAP has promised customers using on-premise solutions that their investments are safe and secure as announced in its product strategy, the on-premise users themselves are facing a number of challenges. The current economic, social and technology scenario posed formidable tests and trials for planners of on-premise solutions. This is not only because of Covid-19 but also because of other factors as well. Let us briefly discuss the challenges that posed to planners today.
Changing customer expectations driven by disruption in the economy
We are living in an era of disruption of all kinds. Supply chain disruptions due to lockdowns, wars, sanctions; monetary and fiscal disruptions due to high inflation, global debt, currency volatility and added to that is the digital disruption where data is the new oil and enterprises that can leverage the ever-growing data to make decisions can thrive while those who can’t, will be left behind. The business planners are facing new challenges like
- How to empower through process automation to free up time to do more meaningful work
- How do we drive maximum cost synergies to fund innovation
- How do we better engage our employees to attract and retain top talent
- How do we deliver a next-generation customer experience in a world of disruption
- How do we focus on spending and resource requirements today and for tomorrow
Covid-19 and beyond
Since 2020 Covid-19 has presented unprecedented challenge to all enterprises and tested the technological and managerial limits of planners all over the world. The annual plans and forecasts had to be changed frequently, the drivers for the plans had to be adjusted every week if not every day, the agility of business planning solutions to adapt to changes in the planning models underwent stress test. After this pandemic goes into the history books, for many businesses, it will take a while to return to the pre-pandemic state. The challenge to the business planners is how to smoothen this ride and find opportunities in this challenge.
All these factors are leading the organizations to move to the cloud-based planning solution from their traditional on-premise solutions and SAP BPC is no exception. The easiest and smoothest transition for SAP BPC customers to cloud is SAP Analytics Cloud. With SAP Analytics Cloud, customers can leverage Planning and Analysis on a single solution. SAP Analytics Cloud provides a set of rich planning capabilities that allows organizations to plan across various lines of business, connecting operational to financial plans. SAP Analytics Cloud is always online with your most trusted data. It is an unbroken experience of agility and value. All this leads to a world where business decisions and strategies are constantly informed and updated with confident, authoritative planning.
Why move now?
Moving now to SAP Analytics Cloud allows organizations a lot of benefits. Here are a few of them:
Extended Planning and Analysis
Extended Planning and Analysis (xP&A) is the evolution of financial planning and analysis; creating and connecting strategic, financial, and operational plans across the enterprise to optimize performance.SAP Analytics Cloud is well suited to execute Extended Planning and Analysis (xP&A) strategy. Let us discuss this strategy a bit more to understand how SAC helps to execute this strategy.
- Crowdsource plans and budgets – Typically organizations consist of many lines of business such as sales, marketing, information technology, supply chain, human resources etc. Each line of business in turn plan their annual activities, budgets and monthly/quarterly forecasts. The planning cycle includes preparing the planning model, identifying planning drivers, importing master and transactional data; scheduling planning processes; entering plan data and adjustments; doing the planning calculations, spreading, distributions and allocations; reviewing the actual vs budget variance; and finalizing and publishing the results. Each line of business follows these steps with some minor variations. When an organization prepares strategic plans and annual budgets, they crowdsource the plans budgets from these various lines of businesses. SAP Analytics Cloud can help in planning and forecasting for various lines of business. Moreover, it has delivered content for those lines of business. Crowdsourcing plans and budgets from the lines of business becomes easy with SAP Analytics Cloud since all those models reside within the same solution.
- Linking operational and financial planning – The plans of the individual lines of businesses need to be linked together. If there is no linking through exchange of master data, assumptions and results, the plans and forecasts crowdsourced from the lines of businesses tend to be siloed. For example, operational budget in terms of sales units to be sold in different territories, product mix, supply routes etc. should be in sync with the plans and forecasts of cost of sales, cost center expenses etc. The planning models for various lines of business can share the plan data using the functionality such as public dimensions, cross model data actions etc. within SAP Analytics Cloud thereby facilitating linking of operational and financial planning.
- Embed within enterprise applications – The transactional data required for the actual vs budget variances comes from the enterprise applications. SAP Analytics Cloud has built-in connectors for various enterprise applications such as Success Factors, S/4 HANA, SAP BW, Ariba, Concur, Fieldglass etc. that allow direct acquisition of the required transactional data.
Next generation FP&A (Financial Planning and Analysis) tools
The corporate decision making has evolved from being linear or top-down following hierarchical order to dynamic, self-service, involving faster iterations to augmented and decentralized decision making that involves instantaneous and continuous adjustments using artificial intelligence. SAP Analytics Cloud provides the machine learning and predictive tools for augmented analytics.
Integration with S/4 Hana
SAP Analytics Cloud provides two-way built-in integration with S/4 Hana to import and export the data. In addition, it allows you to perform analytics with live connectivity to S/4 Hana where the data never leaves the customer firewall. SAP Analytics Cloud is even embedded within S/4 Hana for analytics.
When you move to SAP analytics Cloud, you can avail the pre-built content available to get a head start for your implementation and get started with SAP analytics Cloud with ease. The available content includes the content developed by SAP as well as the content developed by SAP partners.
Smart Insight and Smart Discovery
SAP Analytics Cloud provides a single solution that combines planning, analytics and predictive. You can leverage the smart insights smart discovery provided by the predictive tools to incorporate into your planning models, visualize the results, use advanced features such as visual formulas, simulations using value driver tree etc. to take your planning to the next level by incorporating the strategic business insights into your plans and forecasts.
Hence there is no better time than now to move your BPC applications to SAP Analytics Cloud.