by David Williams, SAP
Today at the SAPInsider Financials 2012, we announced the support of SAP HANA from the SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation application, version for SAP NetWeaver. But what exactly is happening with respect to these two solutions, and why are so many partners and customers calling the combination a “killer app”?
Question 1: What’s Happening?
What do we mean by “coming together”? Simple, SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation supports the version of SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (BW) that sits on top of SAP HANA—so a nesting of all three products. The support package for SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP NetWeaver that makes this happen is currently slated for availability before the end of March (subject to change)
This is only the first step. Over time, we plan to deliver additional support packs with enhancements and new functionality based on the planning engine within SAP HANA itself. Jens Koerner does a great job describing this from a technical perspective in his SCN blog post on SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation and SAP HANA.
To see the combination action, watch the demo video – or better yet, if you’re in Vegas right now, come test drive it at the Financials 2012 EPM Lab.
Question 2: What’s the Big Deal and Why the Demand?
SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation has been one of the most requested applications to run on SAP HANA since SAP HANA first hit the scene. Why, you ask?
- SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation is the market-leading unified planning and consolidation application, designed with maximum flexibility to foster agile planning processes to help finance professions respond faster and better support the business.
- Finance owns and controls the application.
- Planning in a simplified sense involves accessing data, inputting data, running computations, and wrapping in best practices/processes with the appropriate interfaces so that everyone that needs to be involved in planning activities is.
While financial planning is most often thought of in the context of spreadsheets, it occurs throughout the business (i.e., sales and operations planning, headcount planning, etc.) – with the goal to make is easier, faster, and linked throughout the organization, enabling everyone to sing off the same song sheet – in other words integrated business planning. When you leverage in-memory technology and planning together, you get a true 1+1 = 3 for a totally new experience that makes this easy.
How so, you ask?
In-memory technology allows you to access larger volumes (one of the “V”’s of big data) of data instantly, so you can plan at lower levels of granularity on larger data sets (a particular need for operational planning) and drastically shrink long planning cycle times (a chronic issue for most organizations today), setting the stage for more real-time planning and reporting processes (such as real-time variance report). It also lets you ask questions that you stopped asking because it took hours or days to get results back. Often, we just act on gut feel alone.
Harnessing the power of the SAP HANA planning engine in the context of SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation makes the “impossible” possible and is where we see the combination providing maximum benefits for customers.
SAP’s Mobile-First Strategy
As I mentioned earlier, finance wants to get all relevant front-line business stakeholders engaged in the planning processes and really become a true business partner. Mobile technologies like the iPad help do this. Their intuitive, easy-to-use, take-anywhere interfaces help extend the reach of performance management processes beyond the desktop. iPads are now standard issue for the C-suite, sales teams, and beyond in many organizations.
That’s why we demonstrated an end-to-end planning process driven by this powerhouse combo using a prototype of our new EPM native iPad application. While most vendors focus solely on mobile BI, SAP is going one step further, providing transformational ways to interact with information through mobile devices and take action, like updating a forecast directly from your iPad and performing a complete end-to-end performance management process.
Be sure to follow #BPCHANA on Twitter for the latest conversations happening around this new release, and check out these additional resources for more information:
- John Appleby’s The Real-Time Organisation post
- Demo video: SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP NetWeaver, powered by SAP HANA
- Newsbyte: SAP to Usher in New Era of Enterprise Performance Management Powered by SAP HANA
- SAP mobile strategy post
- SAP HANA December 2010 launch press release