How does S/4 HANA Group Reporting fit in SAP’s financial consolidation product portfolio?
SAP has a number of products on their financial consolidation product portfolio to support customer’s requirements on that matter, being SAP BPC the usual choice for the majority of customers. However, with the release of SAP S/4 HANA Group Reporting in May 2017, the latest addition to the financial consolidation solutions portfolio, SAP is redefining the consolidation landscape.
On a high level overview, SAP BPC delivers planning and financial consolidation capabilities in a single platform that can be deployed on premise or cloud. BPC has a powerful ETL capability to integrate SAP and non-SAP data and can be part of a hybrid deployment with SAP Analytics Cloud that enhances the planning and reporting functions.
On the other hand, Group Reporting is embedded in S/4 HANA Finance providing financial consolidations. This close integration with S/4 HANA Finance reduces drastically the room for error and data silos. Group Reporting also helps companies to embrace continuous accounting goal, accelerating their book-closing processes.
Figure 1 – Traditional Group Reporting vs Continuous Accounting and Group Reporting
The table below is based on the information released by SAP and compares the main consolidation solutions from a high level perspective.
Figure 2 – Consolidation tools comparison overview
From a functionality perspective SAP BPC is a mature, full blown planning and consolidation solution with thousands of live running implementations whereas SAP S/4 HANA Group Reporting is a recently released consolidation solution, therefore some functionality that exists in BPC may not exist yet in Group Reporting. However, S/4 HANA for Group Reporting is SAP’s strategic consolidation solution moving forward so customers should expect to see innovations coming to Group Reporting in future releases.
The table below compares the functionality of the systems at the time of this writing.
Figure 3 – Consolidation functionality comparison overview
As mentioned before, Group Reporting is a rapidly growing solution but still on early stages so some of the functionality that exists in BPC it is still yet to come. Features like Ownership manager, Journal portal and BPFs haven’t been fully replicated in Group Reporting just yet. However, Group Reporting stands on the shoulder of the existing consolidation solutions in SAP’s portfolio such as SEM-BCS/EC-CS, SAP BPC and SAP FC, hence we should expect to see in Group Reporting features seen in the mentioned solutions.
Integration with non-SAP entities is an area where BPC is still ahead to Group Reporting, mainly because BPC leverages BW ETL capabilities to connect to different data sources and incorporate that data to the platform. However, SAP has recently released an app called SAP Group Reporting Data Collection that is hosted on the SAP Cloud Platform and enables customers to gather financial data for business units, which definitely enhances Group Reporting’s ETL capabilities.
Business users have always enjoyed the reporting functionality on BPC. The integration of the EPM plug-in with MS Excel allows users to consume their data on a way they are familiar with and with the connection between BPC and SAP Analytics Cloud, the reporting side of the solution has been taken to the next level. At the same time, SAP S/4 HANA Group Reporting delivers 3 reporting cubes to cover different requirements and SAP Fiori, SAP analytics Cloud and SAP Analysis for MS Office can be used to consume Group Reporting data, depending if the solution is hosted on premise or cloud, so finance departments reporting needs will be fully covered by Group Reporting.
Having a look at SAP’s consolidation roadmap, it comes down to whether customers are already in SAP S/4 HANA or not. For non-SAP S/4 HANA customers that require a standalone and on premise solution, SAP BPC is the recommended solution. For SAP S/4 HANA customers, SAP recommends Group Reporting as consolidation solution, independently of whether they are cloud or on premise.
Figure 4 – SAP’s Consolidation Roadmap
Regarding the group reporting roadmap, there are quarterly releases planned for the cloud version and yearly releases for the on premise version which should bring new functionality to the solution.
The figure below shows the innovations that are planned for Group Reporting.
Figure 5 – SAP S/4 HANA Group Reporting Roadmap
In conclusion, SAP BPC is a mature solution with a proven track record of supporting financial consolidation processes across multiple sectors are geographies. Therefore, SAP will continue delivering complementary and new innovation through integration with SAP Analytics cloud and will maintain enhancements in underlying platforms to drive continuous improvements. On the other hand, SAP S/4 HANA for Group Reporting is SAP’s Strategic consolidation solution moving forward, in particular for customers implementing SAP S/4 HANA irrespective of deployment option (cloud or on premise) as well as for customers looking for a public cloud stand-alone offering.