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: