Enterprise Performance Management and digitalization: A hybrid scenario

In my last blog I wrote why EPM needs to become more effective. Why predictive functionality is important and how the cloud can help. In this blog I will show you my test scenario: We set up BPC 11 on BW/4 HANA and connected it to SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) via Cloud Connector. These are my findings.

SAP BPC 11 and BW/4 connected to SAP Analytics Cloud. This is how it works and what you get

With BPC 11, SAP offers the latest release of an established EPM solution. SAP Analytics Cloud is a cloud based analytics tool that also does financial planning and analysis. SAP Analytics Cloud provides easy connectivity to BPC 11, hence BPC data models can be used as cloud application.

This means Analytics Cloud can be used as web based front end for BPC 11. Moreover, the synchronization between SAP Analytics Cloud and BPC 11 works automatically during save of data. There is no explicit synchronization necessary. This was not possible with prior BPC versions.

Setting up the HANA Cloud Connector

To connect BPC to SAC it is required to install the HANA Cloud Connector on your local server. After the installation of the Cloud Connector you are almost ready to setup the connection between BPC and SAC. But prior to the initial configuration, you should open a SAP Product Support Incident requesting SAP to configure your subaccount for data acquisition on SAC.

Once your subaccount is configured, you can add the subaccount to the HANA Cloud Connector. Next you are able to create a connection to your BPC installation on SAC.

Importing your BPC to model to SAC

The established connection provides now the option to create a model on SAC by using BPC as data source. This way you can replicate your BPC planning model to the cloud. By mapping the dimensions, you can set filter to determine the required data for the import. I set up a model for financial planning and enabled the currency conversion for the cloud model.

For the currency conversion SAC requires a currency conversion table with exchange rates. You can either import the rates from BPC or enter them directly on the cloud. Once you are done, your data will be converted to the default currency of your cloud model during the data import.

And now you are ready to explore your BPC data in the cloud!

Using planning functions in SAP Analytics Cloud

Besides analytical capabilities SAC provides also planning functions like allocations and a predictive forecast function. The predictive forecast allows fast and automated creation of unbiased forecasts based on historical data. In my examplae I created a forecast for the first quarter based on previous years actual data. One thing to keep in mind: The predictive forecast works currently only for the default currency of the SAC model. But since the currency conversion is enabled for my model, it is also possible to view the forecast in local currency.

 

Of course, it can be required to enhance the predictions by manual adjustmensts.  Users can simply enter and spread adjustments on the planning schedule. In difference to predictive forecasts, manual adjusments can be booked in local or default currency.

Once the forecast is completed, data can be synchronized with BPC. Via the version management of SAC users can just save the forecast data and it is automatically transferred to BPC.

Conclusion

In this scenario I demonstrated the combined usage of on-premise installations with a cloud application for EPM.  Entering data via SAC input schedules overcome the requirement of numerous installations on local clients. With the usage of SAP analytics cloud it is also possible to integrate predictive functionalities into planning processes.

But enterprises still keep the control over data. And the full capabilities of an on-premise BPC installation remain for central processes.

In summary, the scenario shows how EPM can benefit from digitization and that digitalization can be a real chance for improvement!