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Some years ago I have been invited to a due diligence weekend in the SAP Headquarter in Walldorf to see and experience a financial planning solution. The backend – MOLAP cubes on SQL servers – served the needs. The authorization concept wasn’t ‘enterprise ready’. But the modeling capabilities with strong power user enablement was impressive. With me was the SAP colleague Holger Faber. The leading IT architect for our internal corporate financial planning process based on an SAP SEM Business Planning and Simulation (SEM-BPS) installation in the central SAP Business Warehouse system. A very powerful solution and perfect for corporate processes, while the tool of choice for de-central and regional planning was still Microsoft Excel.

Now – some years later – I run the SAP internal BW powered by SAP HANA basis and infrastructure setup in the New BI program. Holger Faber is the project lead to design a new planning solution in this environment and the product became SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.0 running as BW add-on.

The first challenge: Our new SAP internal BW system landscape moved to SAP HANA in September 2011 already. At this time SAP HANA SP3 included standard BW optimizations for data flow and reporting. So Holger and his team started to use, architecture and optimize BPC on BW powered by SAP HANA a long time before the solution was announced in March this year (see also this blog from Jens Koerner). In November 2011 the solution was running – very impressive from my point of view and the proof what you can achieve with a shared Business/IT-Vision and a high performance team of experts.

The second challenge: You can find a lot of blogs and chats asking one question: ‘Should I use SAP BW Integrated Planning OR SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation?’ With BW IP you can achieve Stability, promise Reliability, guaranty Integration and provide Standardized Planning Functionality. With BPC you strife for Flexibility and Scalability, but still with full Compatibility to standard BW data-flows and reporting. The first one is for IT experts, the second enables business power users. It is corporate vs. federated. But – do you work in a company which needs one part only? I do not.

The idea is simple, the solution architecture a little bit more complex. Use both – and use them integrated with an Interface Layer and powered by the SAP HANA.

The package:

  • BW IP planning cubes for the corporate and core processes
  • BW DSO (HANA enabled) in the interface for the transactional data exchange
  • BW architecture for central master data, customizing and analysis authorisation
  • BPC planning cubes for flexible and de-central processes
  • BW Virtual Infoprovider to view joins without data redundancy
  • SAP HANA for sustainable performance and views on real-time data

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A planning application may not sound like a typical big-data solution. But I am sure some of you experienced already the typical lifecycle of staged planning data with several versions for periodically forecast processes and simulation needs. Then you know the challenge to provide a stable and reliable performance and user experience in a fast growing environment.

In this way SAP HANA as a database will not only enable reporting and planning performance, but bridge between business processes. The need to find a solution for two significant different business requirements was the driver for Holger Faber and team to combine two strong products into one innovative solution. Now this solution will enable various business areas to cooperate much closer for budget and forecasting – and creates the need to align their processes and timeline much more than in the past.

One more highlight: The user interface is fully web and Microsoft Excel enabled on IP and BPC. Did you hear rumors about a BPC mobile app? It will be available soon – stay tuned.

User Interface Example: Cell based comment feature

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Important note: When you move your BW 7.30 on a HANA database you might have the BPC 10.0 add-on already installed. It is very important to upgrade to BPC SP6 to leverage the full performance improvements!

Get connected: I will be available at the SAP runs SAP booth at SAPPHIRE Orlando on May 14-16. Step by if you want to get more insights in our BW powered by HANA projects and the setup of the High-Availability environment.

Best regards,

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

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4 Comments

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  1. Henrique Pinto

    This is really great! Getting the best of each tool and making them work together. Any idea whether this (or something like it) could be wrapped up for customer delivery (RDS perhaps)?

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  2. Holger Faber

    Just would like to add that this implementation is the result of a great collaboration between IT, Business and TIP. It was a pleasure working together with them. Special thanks to Peter Bruns, our BPC Solution Architect, Thomas Kabon, the IP Solution Architect, our Business Leads Thomas Guddat and Thomas Marquardt, the NewBI Infrastructure team and William Yu, our Engeneering Angel from TIP. Without those and the rest of the team this would not have been possible.

    And to give a short update on the status: Currently we are working on Migration of IP to PAK (Planning Application Kit) to fully leverage HANA capabilities in the IP area and evaluating mobile Frontends for Planning.

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  3. Steve Wisz

    Hi Matthias,

    Is your Excel cell based comment example from BPC or IP?  I am just trying to confirm if AO with PAK support cell based comments.

    Thanks!

    Best regards,

    Steve

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