SAP Cloud for Planning was launched earlier this year delivering a new approach to how companies complete their Budgeting, Forecasting and Planning activities. The solution is built on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform ensuring that in addition to the superior performance SAP HANA provides, it is a completely a SaaS based solution. Additionally analytics capabilities are embedded directly within the solution allowing planners to create their own visualizations that highlight the key metrics and data points they look to. Finally understanding that the process (establishing, monitoring and collaborating) is quite important in the planning cycle, use of chat and discussion panels that can be tied to objects in the tool (e.g. reports, events) as well as on a mobile platform helps make this the next generation individuals involved in the FP&A function have been waiting for.
There are three themes upon which this product was based and these include:
- People Centric – Remove the complexity between you and your plans
- Future Oriented – Completely based in the cloud
- Analytics-Embedded – Fully integrated into your work
When it comes to being people centric, I’d like to first focus on Related Discussions. In the video below, watch how within SAP Cloud for Planning, a budget user has the ability to open up a report and can automatically see that there is a notification presented to the user on a discussion. The user can easily click on the chat icon and a discussion pane opens up where various conversations are available for the user to engage in (with completely different users that are required to participate) and the discussions can have reports embedded directly within the discussion pane to provide the context required. This is a powerful feature for FP&A folks as most organizations right now go through multiple iterations of reports sent through emails that can easily be lost, leading to versioning and notification issues.
Almost all individuals in this day and age have some sort of mobile device which they use not just for voice communication, but communication of all sorts and apps that provide support on all aspect of our lives. We’ve taken that approach by providing a consumer grade user experience with our SAP Cloud for Planning app for the iPhone. In the video below you’ll see how users can log in to the app to be notified of planning related “Events” that they need to be aware of that have tasks involved. This can include for example budget reviews that require updates to reports, or forecast reviews that individuals to update their flash forecast. Within the collaboration tab in the app, users can “chat” directly with event owners in relation to the event or the tasks related to the event. Users can also leverage the mobile device to create new discussions pertaining to any topic and invite other users that are part of the planning cycle to participate in a real time manner.