SAP has released a number of new products into the EPM market over the years and continues to do so. Due to current diversity in system landscapes, having this extensive range of options can provide a solution that fits your unique requirements. However, navigating across all these options has become increasingly complex. Taking a look at SAP’s roadmap for EPM solutions, we will analyse the available options.
SAP are re-inventing the EPM market with three focus areas:
- Large data volumes – the use of HANA database from SAP and a simplified data model provides a more performant platform to allow greater volumes of data to be processed in an acceptable timeframe.
- Journey to the cloud – significant investment into SAP Cloud’s planning tool (SAP Analytics Cloud). The functionality is growing and the ability to consume data from S/4HANA. Group Reporting is the cloud option for consolidation when deploying S/4HANA.
- Real time functionality – first, BPC 10.1 became available to be deployed within S/4HANA (known as BPC Optimized). This removes the need to replicate data from ERP into a BW platform for BPC. Later on, BPC 11.0 was introduced as the BPC option for BW/4HANA, that leverages SDA technology to provide “real time” access to your source data.
The product vision is clear with a continued development and integration improvements for SAP Analytics Cloud and enhancements in underlying platforms – S/4HANA and BW/4HANA. Looking at the announced improvements below, there is a massive focus around the areas identified above:
- SAP Analytics Cloud Integration
- Unified user experience between SAP Analytics Cloud and SAP BPC
- BW/4HANA 2.0 support and extended maintenance
- Usability, legal compliance and incremental functional enhancements based on customer feedback
Following current EPM trends, SAP provides a clear separation between planning and consolidation as two processes with different requirements:
- Planning: SAP’s primary strategic solution for planning moving forward is SAP Analytics Cloud. SAP BPC for S/4HANA can still be used for real-time financial planning (not generic planning) and SAP BPC 11 is recommended for stand- alone on-premise deployments.
- Consolidation: Group Reporting is SAP’s strategic consolidation solution moving forward – especially in S/4HANA landscapes for both cloud and on-premise deployments. For customers requiring a stand-alone on-premise deployment independent of data source, BPC on BW/4HANA is the recommended option.
Based on this information from SAP we can define the diagram below.
In summary, BPC 10.1 and previous versions are still supported for customers with implementations, BPC on S/4HANA is an option to consider for financial planning (supported until 2024) but as recommended versions we should focus on BPC 11 for both Planning and Consolidation on-premise deployments and SAP Analytics and Group Reporting for Cloud deployments.