The next generation consolidation solution: Real Time Consolidation
In October 2016, SAP delivered the latest release of S/4HANA which is S/4HANA 1610. Inside 1610, a new consolidation solution is also delivered so called ‘Real Time Consolidation’ (RTC) which is the deep integration between S/4HANA Finance and SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation (BPC).
What is Real Time Consolidation?
In a simple word, Real Time Consolidation provides the capability for the real time data access for your consolidation solution which includes both transaction data and master data. In this way, customers don’t have to replicate their financial data or minimize the data replication into the consolidation system.
Why we need Real Time Consolidation?
In traditional consolidation solutions, normally financial data needs to be replicated from the financial system into the consolidation system with some kind of data aggregation and transformation.
But such an approach also disconnects the financial system and consolidation system. The data in the consolidation system can’t reflect the latest data in financial system. This will lead to several disadvantages such as:
- High dependency for IT support, normally the data replication is done by the IT department
- Less transparency between consolidation system and financial system
- Long response time between the synchronization for data
The Real Time Consolidation can improve these aspects by getting rid of the data replication to provide the real time data access capability.
What’s the architecture for Real Time Consolidation
The architecture for Real Time Consolidation solution can be divided into three layers:
In S/4HANA, all financial data is saved in one single HANA table: ACDOCA which is also known as the Universal Journal table.
For Real Time Consolidation, a similar HANA table is introduced which is ACDOCC. This ACDOCC table has a similar structure compared with ACDOCA with some extension designed for the integration with BPC. This table is designed to save the consolidated data which comes from BPC.
Several HANA views will be created based on these two HANA tables, and through these HANA views, BPC and BW can read the transaction data directly from S/4HANA without replication.
Also in S/4HANA, the master data for all related fields in the universal journal are also saved in separate HANA tables. The corresponding HANA views can also be created to provide the data view for the master data.
In the BW layer, several BW objects need to be created.
The first is the InfoObjects which represent the corresponding dimensions for the consolidation. In some of these InfoObjects, instead of persisting the master data in the BW, the master data can come from HANA views which are the ones created in S/4HANA for those fields. By using these InfoObjects (we call them Virtual InfoObjects), the BW and BPC can read the master data through those HANA views without replicating or persisting the master data in BW.
Of course, there will still be some InfoObjects whose master data are persisted in BW (we call them Physical InfoObjects). This is because for those InfoObjects and the related dimensions, they don’t have the corresponding fields in S/4HAHA, such as the Audit and Group dimension used in BPC which are only consolidation related.
By using these InfoObjects, a Virtual InfoProvider can be created which is designed to write the data back to S/4HANA. Since the HANA views can only provide data read access, to write the data back to S/4HANA, a Virtual InfoProvider and it’s write back class is needed. As mentioned above, the consolidated data will be written back to ACDOCC table through the Virtual InfoProvider.
Above the Virtual InfoProvider, a Composite Provider will be created to include both the HANA views for transaction data (created based on ACDOCA and ACDOCC) and the Virtual InfoProvider.
Of course, two extra InfoProviders are needed for BPC consolidation which are the Ownership InfoProvider and the Rate InfoProvider.
For BPC, a consolidation model is created based on the Composite Provider.
Please notice that, here the consolidation model is a embedded model instead of a standard model. Unlike standard model, a BPC embedded consolidation model can be created based on an existing BW InfoProvider including the Composite Provider.
By this architecture, BPC can read and write the data via the Composite Provider which can directly access the data from S/4HANA without replication.
The real time data access is just the first step. We will continuously improve the Real Time Consolidation solution to provider more features and capabilities in the future.
For Real Time Consolidation, there’re already some EKT (Early Knowledge Transfer) materials available as part of S/4HANA 1610, which can be found via:
Very Nice blog.I am not able to download the early Knowledge Transfer document which you shared at the bottom.I have few questions around real time consolidation
1.In consolidation, can we write account based Business rules and Intercompany Business rules? How the Business rules will be called? In Classic environment, we call the Business rules by script
2.in IBPF, we have standard Business content and we can activate it.For Consolidation, do we have Standard Business Content?
3.Write back is done to ACDOCC table.If Business have a requirement to post consolidated data to ECC, then how can we achieve it?
Please check my comments in sequence.
Thanks for the blog Roy.
Not able to open EKT materials with the link provided at the end of the blog.
Couple of questions on Real time consolidation(RTC) :
manually? Moreover, ONE key figure concept has to be followed so is it ok to use /ERP/AMOUNT key figure for all 3 Infoproviders?
is there any way to make it part of standard?
Please check my comments in sequence.
Please check it.
Thanks Roy, you have explained it crisp. Can you please shed more light on the Rate and Ownership model that you have built in your system? Example: the Dimension and Key figures for those models? Thanks in advance.
The EKT link is not working. Can you please check or do we need special access for this?
Looks like this link is only for SAP employees 🙂
Documentation currently is not very good for real time consolidation on S/4 HANA. I hope SAP can be a bit more active on this forum as it is in early stages.
Nice blog post.
HANA is shifting SAP back to old days with better hardware and performance ( getting closer to SAP ECC again) .
Real Time Consolidation ( RTC ) looks like just a similar step SAP had taken for Planning piece of BPC to IBPF. Again just like IBPF there are some grey areas for which will need your comment / SAP comment.
1.Business Rules - How well it is supported on the RTC platform.
All the hard work that SAP had put in the BPC classical consolidation related to Elimination & Adjustments ,US Eliminations , Equity Pickup ,Currency translation , how much of that is available on RTC ? Are there any functionality limitations ( may be right now on which some upgrades will be happening in future )?
2.Is there a straight forward migration tool available to move from BPC 10.1 NW -> RTC ( Doesn't seem like considering the platforms have changed and background structures have also changed ).So is SAP providing any guidelines for best approach for moving Classical Implementations to Real Time Consolidation platform?
3.Master Data Maintenance - Is RTC allows the same flexible master data attributes / properties maintainance as available with classical ?? ( considering it is pulling the master data from ECC tables using HANA views and classes to read that ).This is crucial piece for configuration in consolidaiton.
For business rules in current release of S/4 1610, only US Elimination and Equity Pick Up are NOT available yet. And US Elimination will be available in the 1709 release.
For all supported business rule, since the consolidation on embedded model (RTC) shares the same consolidation engine with standard model, all supported business rules actually have the same capability compared with standard model.
For migration tool from moving standard model to embedded model or RTC platform, due to the different nature of standard model and embedded model, it's really hard to provide a migration tool to directly move your existing standard model implementation to embedded model or Real Time consolidation.
For master data maintenance, in real time consolidation, there are some pre delivered infoobjects for BPC consolidation. And in those infoobjects, all BPC consolidation required attributes are delivered together. But so far, the maintenance for the master data/attributes need to be done in S/4HANA instead of BPC web client.
Please check it and thanks a lot.
Thank you for sharing the information.
I would also be very interested to understand how the engine deals with the periodic data coming from S/4 Hana.
The BPC Business Rules are primarily designed to work with Year-to-Date data, especially the way scope changes and copy opening works. Has the engine been modified to handle periodic data for opening period and scope changes ?
Yes，the consolidation for embedded model has taken this into consideration.
Please check it.
Thank you for your feed-back, I am currently setting up an RTC model and wanted to check these points.
I however ran into a problem in how to deal with flows. As far as I know, the BPC consolidation engine can only handle one opening and one closing per account (you can use several opening define / several opening/closing flows in the carry forward, but you can only assign the FLOWTYPE "OPENING" and "CLOSING" to one flow.
In ERP, you would traditionally have several opening and closing flows on accounts (gross value, depreciation, ...), has the BPC consolidation engine been extended to support this ?
Is there a SAP note for the S/4 Consolidations for Release 1709 or which Release will cover this functionality?
Yes its available already.