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BPC on BW - is it ready for prime-time?

by Dr. Berg

April 12, 2011

By: Dr. Berg

In 2007 SAP acquired the planning software company called OutlookSoft. This was a boutique vendor with a growing customer base that wanted an alternative to the myriad of planning tools from the ERP vendors.

Previously, SAP had offered financial consolidation and planning as part of their Strategic Enterprise Management tool (SEM). SAp also maintained the Integrated Planning (IP) solution that was launched in 2004. Both these tools is running on-top of the BW data warehouse without the need to extract the data to other platforms.

However, as part of the Outlooksoft acquisition, SAP discontinued sales of the SEM solution and decided to only support the tools Integrated Planning (IP) and OutlookSoft's Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC). The reason were simple: SAP-IP ran on-top of BW, while BPC only worked by extracting data to a SQL database and could not run on-top of BW.

In the backroom SAP was working on bringing BW and BPC togethers as one platform. After two years in 2009, the 'baby' was born and SAP was ready with the first BW based BPC solution.

This was called the BPC 7.0 release. The challenge was that o nly a few of the advanced planning and consolidation functions was supported, while the Microsoft SQL based solution had much better functionality. So, most customers, either continued work with IP, or selected the BPC version for Microsoft (this was rather unchanged from the old Outlooksoft release).

However, in the fall of 2010, almost four years after the acquisition, SAP was finally ready with a solid BW based release of BPC (v7.5). With this release many of the benefits of BW as the underlying platform was achieved. Now you can use the transport of code, process chains, in memory processing through BW accelerator and the tool is also database independent. In addition, BPC 7.5 implemented most of the advanced planning functions that exists in the Microsoft version.

So, what is my take on the BPC story?  It is short: with BPC 7.5 for BW, the time has come to remove the old Hyperion HFM solutions, retire Integrated Planning and shut-down SEM: we now have a tool that has been integrated into the SAP NetWeaver landscape quite successfully and BPC 7.5 for BW is ready to PrimeTime!

 (Next week I will give some observations on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and how BPC can help you deliver these)...

Thanks for your time... Dr. Berg 

Summary of The Major Features of BPC 7.5

1. Financial Consolidation

Consolidate your income, balance sheet, equity and cash flow statements into a single tool, while taking advantage of:

 ¦ Simplified global chart of accounts and alternative consolidation methods

¦ Multi-currency, Inter-company eliminations, amortizations, depletions, depreciation and automated reconciliation

¦ Alternate hierarchies for Strategic Business units (SBU), product lines or major initiatives

¦ Reduced monthly close times and better insight into daily financial performance

¦ Ad-hoc and what-if analysis through web based and Excel based solutions

¦ In-memory processing for hyper-fast financial reporting and real-time tracking

2. Financial and Business Planning

Create business and financial plans through advanced analytics, including

 ¦ Predictive plans based on statistical functions and business input in a single interface

¦ Generated plans based on historical performance, cyclical and time period trends

¦ Consolidated plans for multiple business entities, chart of accounts and business activities

¦ Performance tracking and status monitoring, re-planning,  plan and forecasting accuracy analysis

¦ Exception based reporting and alerts through hyper-fast in-memory processing

¦ Ad-hoc analysis of plan vs. actual performance in OLAP, MQE, scorecards, Excel and dashboards

3. Financial Budgeting

Create solutions for budgeting, insights and time period tracking, including:

 ¦ Budgets based on areas of hig
h priority and strategic initiatives
¦ Historical based budgets with user input, re-allocation, consolidation and allocations in a single interface
¦ System generated budgets based on business rules
¦ Tracking of spend vs. budgets, analysis of projections and spend rates
¦ Alert based and periodic automated distribution of budget reports
¦ Strategic management reporting and summarized periodic results
¦ Ad-hoc analysis of budget performance, capital needs, cash flow, distributions, reserves and targets

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