On June 14, 2017, the world of SAP finance descends on Amsterdam for SAPinsider Financials 2017 to learn from one another, discuss how the office of the CFO can adopt best practices, and see the latest in SAP technologies to support this function. One area that will drive a lot of interest and discussion is the latest innovation in SAP’s EPM portfolio—SAP Business Planning and Consolidation 11.0, version for SAP BW/4HANA.
We all know what SAP BW/4HANA brings to the table—a simpler, faster, and more flexible data warehouse. The structures have been vastly simplified, the ability to integrate data from SAP and non-SAP sources provide a single source of truth, larger volumes can be handled, and it’s enabled for both the cloud and/or on premise.
SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) 11.0 is ready to take advantage of this latest SAP BW/4HANA platform and provide more innovation and value to finance users to drive better business decisions. Those in the office of the CFO are the stewards of the enterprise, but for too long many of them had to wait before providing financial guidance, or when they did provide guidance the information was old or required edits and/or manipulation.
At SAPPHIRE NOW 2017 in Orlando, I had the pleasure of providing a sneak preview of SAP BPC 11.0 for SAP BW/4HANA. There, I focused on a few key themes: advanced analytics, the cloud, and integration. Today, I’ll outline each.
SAP BPC 11.0 brings built-in, real-time analytics into the application’s Web Client. Users can easily create graphs and charts to visualize variances. Additionally, these can be shared amongst colleagues and attached to reports or pinned to the home screen as a favorite.
Further analytics are also available with the full integration of SAP BPC 11.0 and SAP Analytics Cloud. The SAP Analytics Cloud platform allows users to independently perform planning, business intelligence/visualization, and predictive modeling on their data sets. The integration with SAP BPC 11.0 allows users to seamlessly move their data and models into the cloud for self-service visualization and predictive models.
The predictive analytics has the potential to be a game changer for finance. Business users can take their actuals and plans and run them through predictive processes and gain meaningful insights using machine learning. Before running a budget or forecast, finance departments can leverage the predictive functions to see where their current data set aims to take them and then uncover influencers and business challenges.
With the world moving rapidly towards the cloud, SAP BPC 11.0 offers a tempered pace at which organizations can move their planning and consolidation platform. This latest release is available not just on the SAP HEC, but also on AWS, Azure, Virtustream, and other cloud providers. Finance organizations can have rapid deployments due to the ease of cloud enablement as well as utilize hybrid scenarios, which are quite popular. The platform can start on premise and then move to the cloud. Additionally, the integration with SAP Analytics Cloud allows organizations to have part of their platform (SAP BPC) on premise/cloud and then integrate with a public cloud platform for seamless integration.
Integration has been discussed a few times and it’s more than just bringing data into SAP BPC. Finance users will clearly benefit from being able to bring data in from SAP S/4HANA and other SAP data sources and non-SAP data sources via the integration that is native in SAP BW/4HANA. The key is what to do with the integration and why this matters to finance.
Accountants, analysts, controllers, and others will have the ability to bring all actuals (from ERP, logistics, marketing systems, human resources, and others) into SAP BPC to get a true reflection of actuals and compare to plans. What this leads to ultimately is one powerful financial planning system that allows organizations to perform true Integrated Financial Planning.
We all know that the CFO resides not just in finance, but in every department (like sales and marketing), every geography, every region—everyone has a finance team providing true fiscal guidance. Those silos now have the ability to come together in this integrated platform and provide a universal platform for planning.
SAP BW/4HANA also has the ability to capture things like sentiment analysis, which can be groundbreaking for finance individuals. Such analysis enables them to use market sentiments from Social Media and other sources to judge the direction of the budgets based on real-time market feedback.
SAP BPC 11.0 with SAP BW/4HANA is poised to be quite the game changer for the office of the CFO and their ability to be a business partner across the enterprise. With all the tools at their disposal, gone are the days when finance responds with “I’ll get back to you.” Now, they can lead and help drive business decisions.