SAP & BlackLine: Improving the End-To-End Financial Close Process, Together
If you’re running SAP or closing with BlackLine, you may have already heard that BlackLine is an SAP Solution Extension. But you may be wondering, what exactly is a Solution Extension? How do SAP and BlackLine work together?
A Solution Extension is a strategic third-party solution developed by an independent software partner that offers innovation and cross industry functionalities that complement your SAP business solution. SAP Solution Extensions by BlackLine include:
- SAP Financial Close Solutions by BlackLine which includes solutions for Account Reconciliation and Task Management, Variance Analysis and Compliance, Journal Entry Management, and Transaction Matching.
- SAP Intercompany Governance by BlackLine
This partnership represents the top tier of SAP recognition, and enables SAP to offer an extended, end-to-end solution for the financial close. BlackLine has been an strategic partner for many years and an SAP Solution Extension Partner for over five years.
I sat down with Stephanie Miller, SAP’s Vice President of North America S/4HANA Finance Center of Excellence and Molly Boyle, BlackLine’s SAP Solutions Expert, to talk about how the partnership benefits SAP and BlackLine customers.
Stephanie, can you explain what the Solution Extension partnership is? How are solution extension partners different from other SAP partners?
Stephanie: The Solution Extension partnership is by invitation only. It’s not something you apply for. SAP initiates and says, “We think your offering will complement the SAP solution area.” With this partnership, SAP sells SAP Solution Extensions by BlackLine—so they’re part of our offering to provide end-to-end solutions for the financial close.
Also, our product road maps are integrated, so we work together with BlackLine when developing and enhancing our product set for the financial close. In addition, there is a rigorous testing process, called premium qualification, that ensures the Solution Extensions are upheld to the same high-standards as our own internally developed SAP solutions.
Finally, it’s important to note that there are over 18,000 partners in the SAP ecosystem, but there are less than 30 Solution Extension partners.
Molly, what does being an SAP Solution Extension partner mean for BlackLine?
Molly: By being a Solution Extension, SAP has recognized BlackLine solutions as complementary to its ERP platform by addressing manual processes performed outside of the ERP—this proves that we are truly a leader in this space. As Stephanie mentioned, it not only says that BlackLine solutions complement your SAP environment now, but also will in the future, as we work together on the product road map.
There are over 1,300 customers that run SAP and use BlackLine to help transform their finance and accounting processes. We’re excited to continue serving our existing customers, while also serving customers that are net new to both BlackLine and SAP by providing end-to-end solution for the financial close.
How does SAP sell the SAP Solution Extensions by BlackLine?
Molly: SAP customers have the opportunity to access the BlackLine products directly from SAP.
Stephanie: That’s correct. SAP customers have access to SAP Financial Close Solutions by BlackLine. This includes solutions for Account Reconciliation and Task Management, Variance Analysis and Compliance, Journal Entry Management, and Transaction Matching functionalities.
The other offering is SAP Intercompany Governance by BlackLine, which is BlackLine’s solution to manage the full end to end process for intercompany. It can be purchased independently from or in addition to SAP Financial Close Solutions by BlackLine.
What value do SAP Solution Extensions by BlackLine bring to customers during the close process?
Stephanie: SAP and BlackLine solutions both have powerful functionality. Through this partnership, they’re helping customers improve the end-to-end record to report process.
Together, SAP and BlackLine solutions bring automation, speed, quality, and governance to our customers’ close processes. This enables a Continuous Accounting approach, increasing efficiency, reducing risk, and enabling finance and accounting to focus on making strategic contributions to the organization .
Molly: In today’s environment, many companies are focused on enterprise-wide transformation, and one of the goals of those initiatives is streamlining the technology stack to avoid too many silos and point solutions.
As an SAP Solution Extension partner SAP performs an annual Premium Qualification – an extensive testing program which ensures the quality of the entire integration scenario after which SAP takes on a support obligation. As such an SAP Solution Extension partnership goes way beyond a simple certification.
It’s also worth noting that data can flow seamlessly between BlackLine and SAP via a premium qualified connector, which provides connectivity between the two platforms and ensures data integrity and completeness. This qualification was no small feat and delivers significant time savings to SAP customers using SAP Solution Extensions by BlackLine.
One of the exciting aspects of this partnership is that it allows customers the opportunity to purchase a complete solution from SAP.
Want to learn more about SAP Solution Extensions by BlackLine? Check these out:
A Blog Series to Answer Your Questions
There are a number of common questions about BlackLine and SAP and how our solutions work together. We’ll be writing blogs over the next few weeks to cover them. Here what we’ve got so far:
- SAP & BlackLine: Improving the End-To-End Financial Close Process, Together
- Understanding the many applications of “Reconciliation” – How SAP Financial Close Solutions by BlackLine Complement SAP S/4HANA | SAP Blogs
- How SAP Financial Close Solutions by BlackLine Complement an SAP Central Finance Deployment | SAP Blogs
- The Universal Journal and Journal Entry Functionality in SAP Financial Close Solutions by BlackLine Explained | SAP Blogs
- Making Sense of Transaction Matching: How SAP Financial Close Solutions by BlackLine Enhance SAP Innovations | SAP Blogs
- Managing Financial Close Tasks: An Ideal Combination of SAP Solutions | SAP Blogs
- How SAP Solutions Enable Stronger Controls and Compliance for Finance | SAP Blogs