Finance owned and managed SAP CPM – Part II
We covered few features in our Finance owned and managed SAP CPM – Part I of how the SAP CPM offerings are finance owned and managed. Here we start to look at some more of the administration features that are very usable and flexible.
Concept of ‘Save As’
Every business user likes this term so much. It is a very simple concept but is one of the highest used and most powerful features of any software product. This goes back to the way every business user is used to do his or her work. No body starts from scratch in about 75% of the cases unless it is a totally new initiative. Every business user likes to start from an existing content and modify the same to suit his or her needs. For example, someone who is doing a weekly status report would do a ‘Save As’ of last week report and edit the same. Someone wanting to do a customer presentation, would do a ‘Save As’ of an existing presentation and modify the same with new content. This is a global phenomena and ‘Save As’ is therefore the highest used feature in any software product.
Taking the above concept forward to CPM, the concept of ‘Save As’ is a highly required feature to enable business users to own and manage budgeting applications or reporting. Let us take the simpler example of reports. Business users do not find time to create reports from scratch. So they start using ‘Save As’ feature where they open an existing report and edit the same before saving the report with a different name. Having the feature for reports is not a big deal, but nevertheless it is important. Let us now consider budget modeling. Budget modeling involves complex data modeling, powerful allocation logics, interlinked driver based what ifs etc. So it takes time for the business users to build a single model. But once they build a complex model, they realize they want to tweak it and see what is the result based on different drivers. For example, in the initial model they would have created a revenue model without market segmentation, whereas now they would like to add that to create a new model. How are the business users going to be able to do it. Are they going to start doing a new model from scratch. If they will have to do it from scratch, they may not do it and this means lesser scenarios for planning discussions. Now comes the concept of ‘Save As’ that facilitates in building incremental or multiple models without much effort.
As we explained the concept of ‘Save As’, it is very clear that this is going to be a feature that is a must have for CPM solution, if the same is to be business user owned and managed. SAP Business Planning and Consolidation(BPC) offers this feature at various levels and this would be the only solution available in the CPM space that offers this feature at all of these levels. SAP BPC offers ‘save as’ at the following levels (in the order of simple to more complex):
Dimension – Users can ‘save as’ an existing organization unit dimension into a new organization unit in order to make the changes to new
Data sheets or Schedule – This is the planning input sheets to get budgeting or forecast numbers. There is frequent need to modify these input sheets to include more information, and ‘Save as’ is an important feature to facilitate quick change of schedules
Reports – This is one of the most frequently used need for ‘Save as’ as business users need to build new and enhanced reports every time, per the changing needs of business
Business rules – The calculations sometimes would need a different approach and the ‘save as’ feature would enable the business users to try out different logic and their results. This will also ensure that the original business rules are intact
Application – This is where the power of ‘Save As’ feature starts showing up in a big way. SAP BPC allows for entire planning model that includes dimensions, data sheets, business rules and all other artifacts to be brought into another scenario, and before saving the same allows for modification of some of the content.
Application sets – This is all encompassing. Application set is combination of multiple applications. The ‘Save As’ would allow the business users to create the entire planning and consolidation model into a new set and play with the same to build additional scenarios. It is very simple to do a ‘Save As’ with SAP BPC, and achieves the whole process in minutes compared to what it would take to build such a capability in days in other solutions in the space.
Excel embedded administration interfaces
We all know that business users love Excel/spreadsheets and they are used to working with the same for all the years now. So with SAP BPC, the business users get to own and manage administration with the most familiar interface they are used to i.e. Excel, embedded into administration cockpit. Imagine where the budgeting user goes to build a new product structure for the next budgeting cycle. Where do they start, they start to build it into excel/spreadsheet. So with SAP BPC, they can copy paste the structure, into their familiar excel interface, or they can open their own excel page within the administration cockpit. Business users can use all the excel features to model the structures or easily build formulas. They can use all of the regular tool bars available in excel. Also check out our blog on How are EPM solutions better than spreadsheets? though they leverage the user interface very effectively. See the screenshot below:
Hope you (if you are a business user) or your company’s business users are going to be excited about the above capabilities.
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