BPC, SAP’s Business Planning and Consolidation application, is one of the best-kept secrets in SAP’s portfolio. If you are not familiar with BPC, it supports planning, forecasting, management and financial reporting, consolidation, and closing. It is part of SAP’s Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Suite.
Many clients have licensed BPC, but it remains either on the shelf or underutilized. How can you unlock the benefits of BPC for your company?
Depending upon the version you use, it integrates with ECC and other sources and is the preferred tool of the Financial Planning and Analytics (FP&A) community.
Why is BPC underutilized and how can you leverage the capabilities of this solution?
The three questions that need answering are:
1. What are your goals for BPC?
2. Which BPC version is right for you?
3. Who will own BPC?
What are your goals for BPC?
Keep it simple – start with one process – planning – and build up the internal business processes, product capabilities, and skill level.
One of our customers had over 200 static spreadsheet templates to support their planning process. With BPC, we helped consolidate these spreadsheets into five dynamic and interactive templates with multiple tabs on BPC for S4 HANA.
Spreadsheets are easy to use and familiar to most users. However, they are not easy to control and are prone to mistakes. In the example above, our customer had a central FP&A group that distributed annual compensation planning spreadsheets to each department and facility.
The volume of data and nuances of compensation plans, labor unions, taxes, benefits, promotions, and transfers made the annual process tedious and error-prone. Providing the users with the ability to enter the data into a template with data and versions and version control simplified this rather complex process.
After streamlining this process, the overall time was reduced by approximately 30% with improved data quality and integrity. The productivity gains were achieved through fewer iterations of the data capture steps, better collaboration amongst planners and customers, and trust in the values due to better controls.
Once planned data was centralized, integrating ADP payroll data populated the cubes and allowed for analysis of the plan and actual data. Labor forecasts for each department provided a baseline for short and long-term planning, all within the same platform.
Which BPC version is right for you?
Multiple versions of BPC exist and selecting the right one is integral to the success of your BPC journey. Multiple versions currently exist:
• BPC 10.1 for Microsoft
• BPC 10.1 for NetWeaver
• BPC Optimized for HANA
The Microsoft version is the rage of the legacy BPC users and dates back 15 years before SAP purchased the platform now known as BPC. SAP also offers a BPC on HANA which is also available in the cloud.
SAP’s vision was to position BPC in their industry leading analytics offerings. BPC functionality is now integrated into SAP’s BW solution and has developed the Classic (AKA Standard) version and the Optimized (AKA Embedded) version.
The primary difference is the use of the BW cubes. The classic version sits on BW, and BPC has cubes dedicated to BPC; separate from the pre-delivered SAP BW cubes. The embedded version has cubes shared with BW and comes pre-delivered with specific SAP BW content. If you are an experienced BW consultant or administrator, the terminology between these two solutions is easy to confuse – just a fair warning.
Determining which version is right for you can also entail comparing other criteria:
• Data Modeling
• Hierarchies and Master Data
• Planning Engines
• Analytics Engines
• Transaction Considerations
• Performance Requirements
We are not trying to compile a feature list in this article but the guidance of these and other considerations when deciding upon the best platform for you.
Who will own BPC?
Another factor influencing BPC is ownership (e.g. FP&A or IT). Historically, FP&A systems required a team approach to capturing data at the right level of detail and from trusted sources.
From the scenario mentioned above, populating ADP payroll data into the department cubes was a team effort. The data sources were integrated to enable the simulation and forecasting.
Self-service is often a primary driver in FP&A software decisions. Business users will want to slice-and-dice the data to facilitate analysis and to provide the forecasts, simulations, budgets and plans. BPC has all the necessary functions, features, controls and checks to ensure data integrity, but depending on the complexity of requirements requires differing levels of IT involvement.
If you need help establishing and planning your BPC project goals or are uncertain about which version to choose or Best Practices for Modeling for Planning, Forecasting, Reporting, or Closing, ask Titan’s BPC and Analytics experts to show you a roadmap to enterprise business planning and consolidation. Contact David Geaslen at email@example.com
832.422.3251, or your Titan Sales Director.