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Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas

Gaining an understanding of simplification – Finance, BI – SAPPHIRENOW ASUG Annual Conference

The first part of this covers my notes during part of this SAPPHIRENOW keynote last week:

Last part covers a follow up from the Steve Lucas Google Hangout last week where he indicated we would hear more about simplifying the BI suite.  The answer is found in an ASUG session and slides.


Figure 1: Source: SAP

Figure 1 shows server deployment over 20 years, with 1 GB memory; today we can have 6 TB of memory

SAP said they have 45K suite implementations.


Figure 2: Source: SAP

Aggregates are removed.  Flexible coding block in SAP Finance is used in the US for extra information:

  • – Used in management reporting
  • – Aggregate free system
  • – Working in 22B company – perfectly (SAP’s)
  • – Simplistic

We can keep all data in memory

The column store is better for math

For 42 years need to update totals tables; now there is no need and no need for indices


Figure 3: Source: SAP

Figure 3 shows many of our FI table structures today with BSIS, BSID, BSAK being indices that makes it faster for us to report out of FI.

It reminds me of my first SAP project long ago, where SAP’s Diane Fanelli said “what’s this posting key 40, 50” ? (translation – debit and credit).

Figure 3 table names are cryptic.  Several table names/indices need to be updated in one FI document posting, along with GLT0 the totals table.


Figure 4: Source: SAP

BKPF is document header, BSEG contains document line items.

Figure 4 shows three updates and accounting is done

SAP said they replaced “pre-emptive aggregation to produce meaningful results:

Now you are ready to do “simulation and prediction”.

It is minimalistic and cannot fail

It has been working for 4 weeks without any problem at SAP

Algorithms are easier to program than hierarchies

Some features include the “freedom to arrange on the fly”, with 1 second response, 8 seconds max for heavy task

You “do not wait for more than 8 seconds for a complex answer”

It is “non-disruptive” for existing customers

Data footprint goes down (storage on disk)w ith 20-15 times data reduction

New UI

  • Sustainable innovation
  • Parallel manner
  • – User decides when to make transition, with “zero downtime”

SAP said archiving and backups run 20X faster; through simplifying systems, run cheaper faster

SAP “made organizations last 40 years to work the SAP way”.

SAP said this is the “Biggest step forward in enterprise systems”


SAP’s CIO Helen Arnold provided a demo of the new Finance system.

SAP went live with SAP Smart Finance

System is run on line item level, with no reconciliation for both finance and controlling

You can go from an income statement to line item level


Figure 5: Source: SAP

With the state of finance, the user is alerted that things aren’t going well, but where?


Figure 6: Source: SAP

Figure 6 shows more information about finance.

She next clicked on Operating Margin (which is not going well)


Figure 7: Source: SAP

When she clicked on operating margin, it is processing 380M records

The problem in Expense area as shown in Figure 7, in South America


Figure 8: Source: SAP

Figure 8 shows the results of drilling into the line item level details.

The message was “Simplify anything, do anything”

As a customer, this is good news, but for sure I have additional questions like “what about Funds Management”?  Will we see simplified finance there?

Business Intelligence

See Re: Future of Business Intelligence with SAP BusinessObjects

I recall the other week watching Steve Lucas on the Google Hangout – you can watch it here:

One of the questions was surrounding simplification of the BI client tools.

The answer is found here at 0201 The Future of Business Intelligence with S… | ASUG

Planned Future Direction – Convergence (no timeframe):


Figure 9: Source: SAP

Figure 9 shows future direction, with no time attached to it, and the usual legal disclaimer applies that things in the future are subject to change.

In the discussion at Re: Future of Business Intelligence with SAP BusinessObjects it is important to note what SAP’s Ian McAlpine says:

“…so even when BI4 eventually moves into maintenace, it will continued to be maintained for 7 + 2 years.

Customers have commented that SAP has too many products in the BI4 suite which resulted in confusion about which product to use. You will have heard at Sapphire that SAP’s goal is to simplify everything to achieve anything… in the cloud and on mobile devices, with HANA as the foundation.

This requires the development of new tools and part of the simplification is to reduce the number of products. As the slide indicated, in this new environment in the mid-term, you can expect that capabilities delivered today by separate products in BI4 such as Predictive analysis, Set Analysis, Explorer and Analysis OLAP, are planned to be delivered in Lumira.

Thinking specifically of Analysis OLAP, in the new environment there will not be a dedicated OLAP client tool, but instead the OLAP worksflows will be addressed by Lumira and Design Studio”


A killer app for SAP HANA?

SAP Simple Finance launched at SAPPHIRE NOW 2014

SAP Simple Finance – Dawn of a New Age

Lumira Roadmap Webcast Notes Part 2 – Planned Innovations Future Direction

Preview of New Smart Accounting Part 1

Preview of Smart Accounting Part 2 – FI-CO is Changing Reporting

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Blog Post Author

      Slides from the ASUG related session: