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Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas

A Beginner’s Guide to Use SAP Analytics Cloud for Business Planning #ASUG Webcast Recap


Source: SAP

This was a webcast from yesterday.  Replay is available here.

Speaker is Pravin Datar, SAP

Beginner’s guide

Will not assume any previous knowledge of planning


More upcoming webcasts can be found here:

April 3 BI: Smart Predict Update

April 4 BI: Tips & Tricks for Optimizing Story Performance in SAP Analytics Cloud

April 9 BI: Data Protection & Privacy with BW/4HANA

April 10 BI: What’s New with Application Design in SAP Analytics Cloud

April 11 BI: Hybrid Planning Scenarios Built by SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation


We have some SAP Analytics Cloud Planning sessions at ASUG Annual Conference listed here.


Source: SAP

The legal disclaimer applies


Source: SAP

Core principals

Planning, budgeting and forecasting…is there a difference? Is planning same as budgeting, forecasting?

What is planning? Overall process for direction, financial objectives of an organization; gives you a broad idea of what trying to achieve.

Strategic plans for overall objectives, long-range plans 3-10 years, most companies plan annually

Budgeting – planning may go through several iterations, once plan is approved, then try to achieve what is planned, and it becomes the budget, and budget provides execution path – limits for spending, travel, target for revenue; types of budgets are listed above

Planning leads to budgeting

Forecasting – as year progresses, changes happening outside company, and if they impact plan, update forecast to project rest of year performance


Source: SAP

Some terms with planning

Top down – we want to increase revenue by 10% and it trickles down

Bottom up – start at a unit, how many units sell, then aggregate as you go up hierarchy

Organizations do a combination of both

Driver based planning – identify drivers to do planning – allocate training budget across organization, how? Use number of employees in each cost center as a driver

Strategic planning – overall corporate direction

Financial planning – more to do with dollars – expense budget

Operational planning – quantity – how many units sell

Scenario planning and what-if is an important – what if British pounds fall after Brexit? Come up with scenario so you are not caught off guard

Integrated business planning – integration between financial, operational and strategic planning – convert unit to dollar terms

Centralized planning – planning from HQ/central planning

Decentralized – units do their own planning, their plans are aggregrated

Departmental planning – plan for their own department, cost center head, trade promotion

Hybrid planning – on premise and cloud planning


Source: SAP

Planning goes across different lines of business and at every level manage risk, scenario planning may help with that


Source: SAP

Every planner has to be an analyst; reverse may not be true

How manage variance, changing circumstances


Source: SAP

Themes of SAP Analytics Cloud planning

“act in moment” – analyze, plan, predict in one application

Collaboratively plan in the tool in context


Source: SAP

In today’s business environment, things move too fast to take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to planning. The volatile environment makes it extremely difficult for businesses to forecast and evaluate different courses of action when planning for the future. Many find that by the time the plan is ready, the plan is no longer feasible due to events that occurred while the plan was being developed.

The analogy provided was an old car navigation systems used to be planning a static route based on an origin and a given target location.

Modern car navigation systems uses current traffic information, road closures, and driver preferences to determine the recommended route for the driver.

Future car navigation systems would leverage predictive capabilities, big data, and connected vehicles to provide a recommend route based on future outlook of different segments of your travel path based on ETA, road conditions, weather, etc. The recommended route is not only optimized for the driver, but also will help optimize the overall traffic for the area through crowd sourcing.


Source: SAP

How to achieve?

High level architecture for SAP Analytics Cloud

Core capabilities that go across analytic capability

This is based on SAP Cloud Platform, allowing you to connect to on premise and cloud sources

BPC – SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning can be used with BPC for hybrid planning; 2 way integration

If using BPC embedded, SAC can use Live data; SAC can be web front end


Source: SAP

If you are using S/4HANA Cloud, you can integrate with ERP


Source: SAP

If using S/4HANA cloud, can take advantage of pre-delivered content

Financial planning is bi directional


Source: SAP

In the age of digital transformation where there is a strong demand to improve customer experience across multiple industries, companies are no longer complacent with the centralized approach for BI/planning processes. Delivery of insights and data ”in the moment” becomes crucial to the success of a insight-driven business:

  • To support human decision-making and planning activities with just-in-time insights
  • Embed analysis into business processes from the top floor to the shop floor
  • Employees at all levels are empowered to make smart decisions without the need to resort to the traditional top-down approach

For example, supply chain managers in planning can get a glance of their current stock on hand to determine if it will be enough to meet production goals. Recommendations can be provided on-the-spot for best vendors to address shortages or how to load trucks for more efficiency.

(source: SAP)



Source: SAP

Can share, discussion, plan on the fly, in context, anywhere on any device


Source: SAP


Source: SAP

You can distribute inputs to a large number of people

If you are using IBP, SAP has connectors to IBP into SAC.


Source: SAP

Leverage machine learning/smart discovery to develop drivers, what is driving cost, influencing KPI’s


Source: SAP

The application of machine learning/AI technologies within the planning and analysis is not to replace human professionals. Rather it is to empower business users to gain insights and make decisions with more confidence and agility by:

  • Automatically detect hidden trends and recurring patterns
  • Predict future values based on historic trends and latest economic and market factors
  • Recommend preferred course of action based on given assumptions and priorities
  • Provide a more intuitive human/machine interface with smart assistant capabilities

The end result is that users will spend less time exploring data and more time acting on the insights. Decisions will be made based on machine-augmented systematic analysis as opposed to personal bias or guesswork to give greater confidence and accuracy.

For example, imagine that instead of spending countless hours of analyzing different excel spreadsheets while trying to understand the relationship between different tables to determine the root cause of declining sales in China, you can simply ask the smart assistant the following questions:

“Why did the sales for China declined last quarter?”

“Propose recommendations to mitigate this decline to bring us back on track” (source: SAP)


Source: SAP

Type in questions/queries in plain English and see the results


Q: Where are the slides?

A: Slides are here

Q: Is any plan of SAC to connect classic BPC through live data connectivity?

A: Except for BPC embedded, need to acquire data; effort going on to live connectivity

Q: SAP BPC is the integrated planning tool supported by SAC. Does SAC support SAP IBP in the future? Thank you.

A: Yes, great question, absolutely, there is a connector available today to get data into SAC– near future, data from SAC to IBP (disclaimer applies)

Q: Can we enhace/modify pre-delivered content which is provided for S4HANA cloud, based on customer requirement?

A: yes

Q: I don’t see procurement analysis/planning called out specifically, like I do with segments like sales forecasting or customer data. Is procurement inferred in the encompassing title of “Corporate Strategy” or is there some limitation, like transaction volume, that would prevent us from using SAC for procurement analysis?

A: you can use procurement data today, if you have it on HANA, you can create HANA views; if procurement planning, and using SAC, then you need to acquire data to SAC

Q: Will we have a session for SAC planning advanced capabilities ?

A: See upcoming webcasts:

Q: SAC Planning can consolidate multiple models in one model?

A: data from models are not moved- data blending is happening virtually

Q: Good morning! Do you have any deep-dive sessions planned for business planning in SAC?

A: more webcasts are set up here:

Q: We are not interested in Hybrid. Is SAC going to replace BPC Planning on the long run? When will SAC planning features become mature enough for complex financial planning scenarios?

A: BPC is on premise solution whereas SAC is cloud; not all organizations are ready to go to Cloud for planning. SAP does not want to force anyone to go to cloud; depends on governance cloud policy


A: S/4HANA integration; see slide – can push to to S4 – yes

Q: Can we transform data using SAC planning as we are currently doing in BPC-IP with planning functions?

A: yes; planning functions are available in SAC

Follow up after the webcast from Pravin:

In our webinar there was a question about SAC Planning training course. Here is a course that may answer that question:

Also if anyone wants to see the list of certifications that we offer today, here is the list:

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