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Optimized in-memory planning leveraging SAP HANA

Since the vision for SAP HANA was first announced in May 2010 at SAPPHIRE NOW, the interest in the market has continued to gain momentum at a staggering pace that few technologies have ever experienced.  One of the most compelling use cases for in-memory is planning, and not surprisingly the first application delivered on HANA was a planning application – Strategic Workforce Planning.  Some of the most common questions I get is when will BPC be delivered on HANA, when will it be optimized to take full advantage of the in-memory capabilities, and what about other planning solutions like BPS and BW-IP.  Here’s an overview of SAP’s strategy for optimized in-memory planning leveraging SAP HANA.


Support for BW-IP and BPS on SAP HANA
BW-IP, SEM-BPS and BW-BPS will continue to be supported by SAP NetWeaver (including HANA as the database) with no additional license consideration other then HANA itself.  However, it is important to note that NONE of these solutions will be optimized for HANA to take full advantage of in-memory planning capabilities. 

Support for BPC NW on SAP HANA
BPC 7.5 NW support for SAP HANA is planned to be delivered mid-2012.  It will benefit from SAP HANA but will not be optimized.  BPC 10 NW will be optimized for in-memory planning on SAP HANA in 1H/2012.

What is non-optimized vs optimized?

To explain what we mean by “optimized”, this would be analagous to DVD’s  and high definition Blu-Ray discs.  A Blu-Ray disc player is able to  play the older DVD technology and will also slightly improve the picture  and sound quality because a DVD can leverage some of the inherent benefits of the Blu-Ray disc player.  However, in order to get the most optimized  experience and take advantage of future innovations (i.e. 3D) you need  to use Blu-Ray discs and the Blu-Ray disc player together.

Frameworks on SAP HANA
A framework concept (i.e. predictive, planning, etc) has been introduced as a way of delivering capabilities on top of HANA, while still being able to embed calculations, logic, engines, etc directly within HANA in order to optimize performance and scalability. 
Introducing the planning framework on SAP HANA
A planning framework on HANA is being introduced that will allow delivery of all planning capabilities on HANA.  The planning framework will be the foundation to build Planning applications by Line of Business (LoB) or Industry to achieve Integrated Business Planning (strategic, financial, sales & operations, operations) and Enterprise Business Planning (IBP + Execution systems, I.e. ERP, CRM, SCM).  You’ll be hearing a lot more from us on EBP starting with the Influencer Summit the week of December 12 in Boston, so stay tuned for more updates.
The planning framework on HANA will initially consist of BPC 10 NW and the Planning Applications Kit (PAK), which are both optimized for HANA and based on BW 7.3.  PAK was delivered with BW 7.3 SP5 in Q4/2011 and is now in Ramp-Up.   BPC 10 NW SP 6 is planned to be delivered in 1H/2012 and will focus on certification and support for SAP HANA, however there will be some optimizations simply by running on SAP HANA.  Starting with SP 7 (and in subsequent SP’s), optimizations and enhancements are planned for BPC 10 NW including Automated Variance Analysis (AVA), driver-based planning, business logic scripts/allocations, etc.  This has been one of the most requested applications by customers on SAP HANA.

PAK is based on components of BW-IP plus new functionality and technology, and is optimized for in-memory planning with HANA as the database.  Customers can very easily migrate their existing BW-IP configuration to PAK.  PAK provides the ability to build IT owned and maintained, centralized planning applications.

BPC 10 NW provides the ability to build flexible, end-user maintained planning applications.  Use cases that utilize both BPC NW and PAK are also possible and some are currently being evaluated.   Going forward, SAP recommends that customers and partners who have SAP HANA use BPC 10 NW and/or PAK for planning applications.  We’ve also started looking at options to converge BPC 10 NW and PAK to seamlessly provide the “best of both worlds” which is what many customers are requesting.


Excel Clients

Today, there are multiple Excel Clients available including Analysis for Office, EPM 10 Excel Client (Add-in), and the soon to be released TPM (Trade Promotion Management) Excel Client which is a hybrid.  Based on strong customer feedback and as we move to IBP/EBP, SAP is currently working on a strategy and roadmap to harmonize the user experience of the various Excel clients and integrate them into a common framework.  The final goal is to offer a well integrated and interoperable set of Excel scenarios for analysis, reporting and planning.  This will be a key market differentiator and customers are really excited about this. 


First Customer Success Story

‘SAP runs SAP’ is an internal program where SAP adopts new SAP solutions and technologies and is usually one of the first Ramp-Up or Beta customers.  Since November 7, SAP has had BPC 10 NW and BW 7.3 running on HANA in a productive landscape.  This will become the new Financial Planning solution that SAP uses internally.  Today, it also includes BW-IP as well, and will soon take advantage of PAK.  Users have had a very positive experience with no issues reported so far, which is great feedback for a pre-Ramp-Up solution.  More details on the complete scenario as well as future plans will be shared shortly so stay tuned.

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  • Hi Bryan,
    will the new Excel client work with BW-IP and PAK? To my knowledge, MDX and ODBO won’t handle that BW-specific functionality.
    I fear that this is a sequel to the [BOBJ] reporting client story when WebI & Co were positioned as successors to BEX thereby lacking a lot of BEX’s performance and features.
    • Hi Alistair,

      Yes, it should be able to support both BW-IP and PAK.

      BPC 10 NW and EPM 10 Excel Client can take advantage of the new BICS connectivity in BI 4.0 to report off of the Transient Query that is generated by BPC. This allows users to connect to BPC in the same fashion as they would with their other BEx queries and in a much more robust fashion using the BICS layer instead of the public BW ODBO provider.


      • Hi Bryan,
        honestly, your answer confirms what I’ve feared. You are arguing on transient queries, ODBO, BI 4.0 etc. which is the read-only piece of the story. OK, so your new Excel client can read data from BW. BUT what about the planning / write-back portion? I’m surprised that you have avoided that in your answer because that’s were the music will play.
        • Hi Alistair,

          We are currently working on a strategy and roadmap to harmonize the user experience of the various Excel clients and integrate them into a common framework.  The final goal is to offer a well integrated and interoperable set of Excel scenarios for analysis, reporting and planning, which would obviously include write back for the planning framework.


  • … with hope to get some clarity. I just returned from SAP TechEd Madrid a month ago, where RIG guys told me BW-IP is optimized for HANA (in line with “innovation without disruption”), BW-BPS is not (and will not be). Now I read that BW-IP is not optimized either, and just benefit from better IO when reading data.

    Time to pack for a flight to Boston. Regards. -Vitaliy