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Author's profile photo Matthias Wild

How SAP HANA accelerates Profitability Analysis (CO-PA) business processes at SAP

In 2001, I started at SAP and joined a small IT team, which worked very close to the line of business controlling. In parallel one more colleague started in this team at the same time. Both of us learned the basics of CO in ERP and how to use Report Writer, but afterwards moved to different focus topics. He became the expert for Profitability Analysis (CO-PA) and I became the expert for Profit Center Accounting (PCA). PCA was the first module within SAP moving to Business Warehouse for reporting with intraday data delta-loads in 2002. CO-PA followed to use BW soon, but it was a real challenge to build the right aggregates to speed up the reporting on top of the complex and powerful data models at this time.

10 years later and with Business Warehouse 7.30 powered by SAP HANA the possibilities are exciting. In the area of PCA we moved from summary record to line items (I need to tell you more about that some other time) and for CO-PA … we did something completely different.

One question before I go into details. You already know the story about SAP HANA in general, right? – No? Then let’s get an introduction from SAP’s Steve Lucas:

‘SAP HANA opens up a new generation of possibilities.’ The need for performance and reporting flexibility was the main driver for the outsourcing of transactional CO-PA processes and analytics into the BW environment in the past. But due to this system split you did postings in the transactional system and waited for the upload into BW. Then you did the Profitability Analysis and checks in the reporting system and would have to go back for reconciliation and corrections within the transactional system. You do this multiple times during a financial closing, so the effort and the duration is significant.

What is the solution? Bring back analysis and checks into the transactional system!

Ok, so in the last 10 years I told my business colleagues to extract data to BW for complex analytics. Today I am part of the team to setup the SAP HANA infrastructure to accelerate the business processes at SAP. For me this is a game changer (no kitties killed).

Back to the project facts:

  • The Global Controlling department at SAP rolled-out the CO-PA Accelerator in November 2011.
  • The project setup a 1TB SAP HANA appliance side-by-side connected to our Central ERP System.
  • The side-by-side HDB in combination with Classic DB accelerates the standard CO-PA Line Item Report and Research (Transaction KE24 and KE30)
  • Our new BW powered by SAP HANA hosts a Virtual Info Provider to run some classic BEX reports, as well as the innovative SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Microsoft Excel, which allows the business community to format, reorganize and perform calculations while using familiar Excel features


Speed – not just performance – is still a big driver to establish this kind of real time environment. One of the proof points was to shorten processes in the financial month-end-closing with the CO-PA Accelerator at SAP. But of course there is a high expectation that a solution like CO-PA Accelerator powered by SAP HANA should deliver a great performance as well. And it does!

Before the CO-PA Accelerator go-live a line item or total reporting on basis of ~85 mio line items was not executable. Aggregation did allow data access for research, but with limitations for drill-down and further analysis. Now the Controlling department at SAP have access to research on line item level with a response time <10 sec.

COPA Performance Results.jpg

And here is what a Group Controller at Provimi thinks about using CO-PA for his business processes (I like the beat!):

Is the global roll-out and the solution design completed? No, not yet. We started on a 1TB SAP HANA single-node appliance in 2011, but this does not fulfill the business requirements for a global roll-out and a high-availability solution. During Q2 2012 we will move to a scale-out 4TB multi note SAP HANA environment and start the global roll-out.

What’s next? Now is the right time to bring processes back into the transitional system to fully leverage the power of CO-PA in ERP.

Do I have concerns in regards the role of BW? No! BW is moving in a new position with strong integration to SAP HANA and into the SAP BusinessObjects platform. But there is nothing bad about integrated systems, is there?

In April my blogs will focus on the BW powered by SAP HANA system. Especially on the Business, Planning and Consolidation 10.0 add-on and how we setup a High-Availability Solution to service business critical processes.

Best regards,

Matthias Wild – proud to be part of SAP Global IT where SAP runs SAP.

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      Author's profile photo Tom Van Doorslaer
      Tom Van Doorslaer

      Well documented article. Thumbs up

      And I really should start following the HANA space as well.

      Sooner or later, I'll have to learn the ins and outs.

      Author's profile photo Matthias Wild
      Matthias Wild
      Blog Post Author

      Thanks Tom!

      In 3 to 4 weeks I will post the next blog about how to setup High-Availability for BW on HANA. Exciting times in IT.

      Author's profile photo Ranjit Simon John
      Ranjit Simon John

      excellent article. simple and informative

      Author's profile photo Mark Finnern
      Mark Finnern

      Having implemented CO-PA back in the days, actually on R/2 I thought that it would be amazing to put the power of HANA underneath it, as the number crunching analytics always limited its use. Great to see the first results confirming this. Well done, Mark.     

      Author's profile photo Neelesh Jain
      Neelesh Jain

      Thanks for the information.

      I am not clear with the difference between CO-PA RDS and CO-PA Accelerator, can you please provide some pointers on this.....

      Author's profile photo Martin Maruskin
      Martin Maruskin

      hi Matthias,

      interesting stuff, well done!

      As I understand this model, we are not longer loading any transactional data into BW. Only master data is still being loaded. Speaking of an efford on BW side. I still need to prepare my Virtual Provider and create BEx queries (not considering BOBJ at the moment). Is that right?

      Theoretically speaking... Can I run model that you prepared within your project with BW on HANA (BW has no RMDB anymore; it just has HANA DB instead)? or do I need to have full HANA deployment side-by-side with my ECC (ERP) system.

      Is CO-PA Accelerator included in BW on HANA scenario? Or is it licensed separatelly?

      Thanks, martin