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Hybrid Planning Scenarios Built by SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation Webcast Recap

This was a webcast last week – you can watch the replay here: BI: Hybrid Planning Scenarios Built by SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

For ASUG Annual Conference, please consider adding this session to your schedule:

Session ID SESSION TITLE
ASUG83271 SAP Analytics Cloud Planning for the Hyprid Enterprise

More ASUG Annual Conference sessions can be found here.

More upcoming ASUG webcasts can be found here.

 

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Source: SAP

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The legal disclaimer applies; anything in the future is subject to change.

Background

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Most users are using Excel. When using Excel, not able to use planning process. Planning is a process

Source: SAP

Most organizations are still using standalone spreadsheets for EPM processes. This is a problem as spreadsheets are highly manual (not automated aggregation of data), error prone (who has the right numbers?), and lack any form of process management/compliance. Recent research from Ventana shows that while just 30% of respondents used a dedicated planning application, those participants said they are satisfied with their planning process and that their process is well managed more often than did spreadsheet users.

Source: Ventana Research Benchmark Research: Next gen business planning January 2015

 

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Challenges – how integrate planning and analytics in a digital economy

Planning processes live in silos

One common planning process

Reduce planning cycle

Move to a planning platform, reduce time from 3 weeks to 3 days

No connection between plan and forecast

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Requirements regarding integrated planning solution

“Collaborative Enterprise Planning addresses the most pressing challenges with FP&A in the Digital Economy”

Enterprise planning can include, but isn’t limited to:

• Expense Planning

• Cash Flow Analysis

• Capital Planning

• Balance Sheet Planning

• Workforce and HR Planning

• Profitability Analysis

• Integrated Business Planning

• Production Capacity Planning

• Sales and Operational Planning

• Strategic Planning

Source: SAP

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Source: SAP

Cloud strategy

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) continues to be a key part of the Analytics portfolio, specifically for those requiring an on-premise planning application.

Reasons for requiring an on premise application include:

  • Regulatory requirements related to status of data storage
  • Corporate policy or contractual agreements
  • Ability to deliver deeply integrated planning capabilities as an integral component of an on premise SAP data warehouse
  • Requirements for customization beyond the scope of a public cloud solution

Major new planning enhancements will be delivered in SAP Analytics Cloud; BPC customers can leverage these enhancements via “hybrid” integration with Analytics Cloud* ensuring a path of continuous innovation. In addition, BPC will receive incremental enhancements based on customer feedback, and be maintained to ensure compatibility with underlying technology components and legal compliance.

Source: SAP

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Huge history of planning applications with BW

Demand in market for cloud planning applications

BPC 11.0, version for SAP BW/4HANA is a new product on new platform

It’s NOT a legal successor of BPC 10.1 NW Source: SAP

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This slide provides technical details of data acquisition and live data connectivity data sources for SAC and Smart Data Adapters from SCP/HANA.

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State of the art planning solution, cloud solution

Overview BPC 11

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BPC 11 next generation

An add-on to BW/4HANA

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Simplicity, from BW/4HANA team

Reduce modeling objects results in faster implementation

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Able to load information from any source system

Replicate data

Direct access mode

Hybrid Planning

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Bi directional integration details can be found here.

According to SAP:

Bring together the “best of both worlds”

SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning integrates (bi-directionally) with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation for hybrid on premise and cloud scenarios. For example, a customer may run BPC as their central planning app in Corp. Finance but want to role out a public cloud (SaaS) planning app in another business unit or line of business that plugs into the central plan in BPC.

This hybrid approach allows SAP Analytics Cloud for planning to be positioning, not as a successor to BPC, but rather complementary. This allows existing customers to bridge their transition to the cloud, offering:

  1. Offer modern web-based reporting, visualization, collaboration and predictive capabilities via the Cloud

  2. A new contribution interface directly BPC, or an adjunct SaaS planning solution for LOB scenarios

  3. The ability to combine the best of SAP’s mature and proven BPC solution with leading edge Cloud-based capabilities (source: SAP)

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2 options

BPC Embedded – live connection; just use SAC as a client. No replication of data to SAC

Import/write back BPC Standard – closer to data model to SAC; copies model from BPC standard to SAC. All SAC features are available; downside is replication

System has 3 components

1. Model

2. Engine – reads data from database tables, does calculations, produces grid layout

3. Client displays grid layout

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When publish data in BPC, will be in SAC

Use SAC features

Not a real-live solution, and have replication

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Similar to BW live connection in SAC

Model not brought to cloud

Future development – integration planning functions

Hybrid Planning with BPC Standard

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BPC Standard provides two mechanisms for integrating with SAC Planning:

1. Batch integration – Master-data and transaction-data is pulled into SAC, and contributors plan on the data until (near) completion. The resulting plan (or LoB) plan is then pushed back to BPC. In this scenario the SAC calculation engine is used heavily, and all SAC Planning features are available.

2. Near real-time integration – This scenario is similar to 1, except that the individual user can save updates to BPC. This changes are pushed back to BPC after the commit, and any updated results based on dependent calculations in BPC are then returned to the same user session. In this scenario the BPC calculation engine is used heavily, but most SAC Planning features remain available. Source: SAP

Hybrid Planning with BPC Embedded

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BPC Embedded integration will use a live write-back paradigm. In this case the BPC (and BW) calculation engines are used almost exclusively. Certain SAC specific planning features are not available (e.g. private versioning, allocations, data spreading, Data Actions, etc) (source: SAP)

Questions and Answers

Special thanks to the SAP speakers for answering *48* questions ​after the webcast​:

Question Response
One question if I may ask? Are we expecting standard BPC models to have live connections to SAC ? No – for BPC standard we are only targeting replication scenarios or writeback.
During another webinar I heard that there is a live-connection planned for BPC Standard that is in development now and will work only under certain conditions. Can you elaborate on that and possibly confirm? There is no work on a BPC Standard live-connection. Replication time is short so it is near-real-time but is not a live connection like BPC embedded.
In Hybrid scenario for BPC Embedded with SAC – Do you plan to gradually close the gap between AfO and SAC Web front end so that only SAC Front end is used by end users? There are some key features available in AfO that don’t appear on SAC road map like flat file upload with planning sequences etc so if that is a requirement – SAC Front end is less appealing and could possibly kill the whole idea of SAC Hybrid because users will have to be exposed to AfO and SAC Front-End anyway. There are different features for the different technologies. Some features are excel-specific. There are some features available soon including execution of planning sequences and others.
In the case of having a hybrid scenario, SAC for subsidiaries and BPC11 for headquarters, for example. In the case of a live connection, do the users of the subsidiaries also need to have BPC licenses? Yes, please check this kind of questions with our sales colleagues
Slide 21 – does it mean that AfO shouldn’t be used in Hybrid for BPC Embedded ( in Embedded box: ‘Client’ is greyed out)? Sure you can use Analysis for Office as a front-end for BPC Embedded. But then you are not using SAC at all so this is not ‘hybrid’.
Can we use a Live Connection with BPC Standard No. For BPC Standard, you ee to replicate the data
Are there any beta testing programs for SAP Partners for SAC in Hybrid Scenarios? You would need to discuss with product management to find out if there are any opportunities for beta testing. You can also contact your partner manager for information about workshops available to partners.
Are these changes recorded to BPC embedded models via the Live Connection? It works the same way as if you had Analysis for Office as your front end. When you leave the cell in SAC, they change values go to BPC and are recalculated by the analytics engine.
We understand that SAP is no longer licensing new editions of BPC. How much of this could you do in SAP analytics without BPC? SAP is shipping a new version of BPC 11.1 for HANA. SAC has similar features and in some respects different features. The capabilities will not be identical.
BPC embedded is BW planning model? BPC Embedded is a planning solution on top of BW
do we need to have BPC licnse for this? yes
What about licenses?with live? SAC + BPC
SAC allow to send the data back to BPC Standard Yes, not while live, but via write back. If you have BPC standard integration. Data is copied, modified, and published, it automatically gets written back to BPC standard.
are the planning capabilities for live connections associated to a specific new release? Or it is planned for sometime next month? The BPC live connection is available since Oct 2018. BPC version needs to be 10.1 for embedded live connection. There are some restrictions regarding SPs. The PAM has the relevant details.
For new customers – what does SAP recommend? SAP BPC Standard or BPC embedded with SAC? SAP would recommend looking at SAC first. They do recommend look at hybrid solutions that have strong footprint in BPC standard/BPC embedded.
On the template that was demonstrated, how complex are these to build and what defined fields were required to build these? There are a few minutes to do the basic technical steps but the formatting and layout can provide additional time to improve the sheet design.
In the Demo, was Excel sheet connect to SAP or to BPC Embedded? BPC embedded. SAC just acts as an alternative front end
for consolidation, which solution you recommend? BPC or Group Consolidation
What is the maximum # of records you can import from BPC standard model? please see documentation
Shall we propose hybrid for customers as the main strategic planning product in current phase? Depends on customer – if the customer has strong BPC footprint, then yes. If not go for SAC native
can we have multiple hierarchies on a dimension in Planning model BPC Embedded: yes – just as in BW
For BPC Embedded, is there a limitation on the HANA Sizing on the planning data used? not really
When Planning on SAC will match BPC (either versions) script/formulas capabilities? we do have scripting (advanced formulas) in SAC already!
When will SAC planning features and advanced scripting get powerful enough so that no hybrid developments in BPC (standard or embedded) will be needed anymore. As we don’t like the hybrid limitations, and want to benefit fully from flexible modelling & calculations by business (key) users. we are commiting a great effort in further developing SAC and are confident that we already have reached a feature parity in many areas
What is the best solution tool for Consolidation in a scenario where there is ECC (non-S4) and Hybrid Planning (BPC11 and SAC)? Would you suggest Consolidation on BPC Embedded or a different solution for Consolidation? it depends what you want to do. consolidation in ECC is probably stronger than the one in BPC
Is there a significant performance difference between BPC embedded and BPC standard? As the model behave quite differently and as performance heavily depends on the modelling one cannot answer this in general
why we can not add Data action based on Model from BPC in SAC ?? No SAC data actions on BPC live as they require SAC engine, but BPC embedded planning functions can be used
Can you please share the slides Please refresh your screen. You should be able to see these slides in the resource list. Thank you for joining!
What are the Planning capabilities which SAC cannot cover yet when compared with BPC? we are covering nearly all capabilities, differences are rather in the details
Is it possible to use SAC functions (calc. KF, formulas, Allocation etc.) with Live BPC data without transferring data to SAC? cal KF yes (as shown in demo), allocation no. For more details please have a look at documentation https://help.sap.com/doc/00f68c2e08b941f081002fd3691d86a7/2018.18/en-US/649064923f034c5d9d60732f0497ad6a.html
Does SAC write back to BPC Embedded, at all? yes, as proofed in demo
Are Data Import connections available/valid for BPC Embedded? The visual only shows live connections no import connection (yet)
Will there be an BPC Addin for the upcoming cloud AfO or is current EPM Addin close to EOL? No EPM addin for Analysis for Office in cloud as this is a front end for SAC
On the line of the question you are answering now, our current planning solution requires collections of Excel upload templates which are then uploaded in in a custom transaction to the IP cube. Is there any type of direct mass file upload capability planned for SAC? not decided yet, copy and paste as work around
Can trial accounts be used with live data or write back connections? unfortunately not
Where to we create Planning function and Planning Seq in SAC Modeling of planning functions/sequences are done in BPC emdedded
Do you need as many BPC licenses as users working on SAC to work with live connection? Does this means that every user must have two licenses(SAC and BPC)? yes, two licenses
what is functional benefit of Analysis for Office if we have SAC ? Excel… some customers just require an Excel front end
Are there advantages of SAC BPC Live vs. AfO BPC as a frontend for planning? similar capabilities, some differences in the details. SAC: easy modeling also for power user, some customers request font print less web front end
Is there any RDS for SAC & BPC? no for SAC, some for BPC
Why professional planner license is needed to create SAC model in Hybrid? All the modeling is done anyway on BW side so no modeling is done on SAC side various reasons
will you please get my questions answered? we do our best
For BPC Standard write-back, do we need to be on BPC11? or is this available on all versions of BPC standard. Please confirm No. Also oloder versions of BPC are supported. Please have a look at Product availability matrix(documentation for details
Where BPC optimized for S4 fits into this? BPC optimized queries can be used just as any BW query in live connection.
Like you suggest … I am new i will use SAC…. but Can i Perform strong planning In SAC also not only financial ? Customizing planning functionality like allocation you can also perform non financial planning in SAC. It is also a generic planning tool
How well does SAC export to Excel? export from table and export from model is possible
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