Why Run from Excel?
I used to ask myself: “Why in the world are so many companies still stuck with excel sheets when they are doing their planning? Don’t they know that it is bound to lead to data problems?” Well, if you read the customer cases they are bound to run into data issues – duplicate master data, versioning and endless numbers of varying definition of data. Of course, they know there are issues with this, but if you look at the upside to Excel, we can begin to understand why it is so prolific. It’s just easy to use – most users know how to make pretty complicated formulas in excel.
Let’s just face it – excel spreadsheets offer a familiarity and ease of use that don’t often come with traditional planning solutions. If we look at BPS and Integrated Planning, we can find some areas where the user interface isn’t that intuitive. Some quick examples: Web Interface Builder in BPS, the Planning Modeler in IP and not to mention FOX formulas – don’t say it’s easy. The fact is that they just aren’t easy to use. Also, don’t tell me that the query definitions for planning layouts are easy to create. They just aren’t. I know that there are brilliant, smart and well educated consultants that can help customers overcome these issues, but it just isn’t going to cut it in the future.
SAP knows this – what customers want is ease of use in a seamless environment that offers security and data integrity.
So, what is SAP’s response? Well, it’s the SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC). Here, you get the user friendly Excel interface that controllers know and love, which you can combine the security and integrity that we have in SAP BW (if you’re using the Netweaver version). Also, as a bonus you get a solution, where you can run both planning AND consolidation. There is a 2 for 1 sale at SAP.
In conclusion, if you have a planning solution that currently consists of excel sheets and you have master data issues, take a look at SAP BPC.