In this interview recorded live at Financials 2014, longtime SAPinsider Financials speaker Mitresh Kundalia of QS&S discusses the CO-PA module and the benefits of running the module on SAP HANA. Topics covered include misunderstandings about the CO-PA module, the future of CO-PA on HANA, and how longtime users of CO-PA can get started with SAP HANA.
Lucy: Hi, this is Lucy Swedberg with SAPinsider, we’re here live in Orlando for Financials 2014, and I’m really excited to be joined by our longest-time speaker here at the Financials event, Mitresh Kundalia. He’s a director of the SAP practice at Quality Systems and Software, or QS&S for short. Mitresh, thank you so much for joining me today.
Mitresh: Thank you!
Lucy: Great. So Mitresh, you always give a lot of sessions here at our Financials event, I thought today we could focus our discussion on CO-PA and HANA, which I think is an exciting and newer topic here. So to get started, let’s just talk about the CO-PA module in general. Could you just describe for our attendees and our viewers at home just some general characteristics of the module, maybe some things that they don’t quite know about it, what it’s used for, etc.?
Mitresh: Sure. So when it comes to CO-PA, CO-PA module is SAP’s core module which tracks profitability, what it means with revenue, margins, gross margins, and various different margin components. It provides you the detailed analysis by customer, who is the most profitable customer, what is the most profitable product hierarchy, product groups, region, and things like that. So, believe it or not, Co-PA module is there with SAP for many, many years, more than 20 years CO-PA, SAP has been offering this CO-PA module to track profitability by various different business segments as we call it as.
Lucy: Great. So what would you say are some of the common challenges that SAP customers run up against when they’re looking at CO-PA implementations?
Mitresh: Yeah, so I’ve been writing on CO-PA for many, many years and perhaps in my mind, in my opinion, CO-PA is perhaps the most powerful module in SAP, but perhaps CO-PA is also the least utilized module in SAP and primarily I would say that there are two great challenges when it comes to CO-PA. One is a misunderstanding about what CO-PA does. CO-PA is based on revenue matching principles, unlike the General Ledger which is a period accounting principle, so it’s very common feedback, common complaint from the customers saying that “my numbers are not matching, GL says $1 and CO-PA says something else” and things like that. So once you overcome that concept, what a period accounting and revenue matching principles are, the second biggest challenge is CO-PA takes a lot of time to run. It’s very common that many of the CO-PA reports will time out. CO-PA reports always shut down. So it’s very, very frustrating to the customer base that in spite of it giving you the most granular and detailed analyticals on profitability, you are not even able to run it! So how frustrating it could be for the customer base. It is so common, that many times we do not even configure the functionality because we know that it’s not going to work. So, line item reports, customer details, analysis, many of the times we don’t even turn on those functionalities because we know that those are the things not going to work. So, the huge data volume and the time taken to process the analysis is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to CO-PA.
Lucy: Sure, so it strikes me then that HANA might play a role in especially the second challenge that you mentioned. Can you talk a little bit about HANA and its relation to CO-PA, and sort of what the future is there?
Mitresh: Definitely, and now think about these challenges, what CO-PA used to face in the CO-PA world. Now, bring in a scenario with HANA. With HANA, whatever it used to take hours, forget the minutes, now it’s going to happen in seconds, in a flash, as the lightning speed as they call it as. So when it comes to CO-PA, it’s perhaps the most useful candidate to deploy the CO-PA solutions in, using HANA solutions, HANA accelerators, that way you’re able to get the CO-PA solutions in HANA environment.
Lucy: Great. So you mentioned, I know in your session and you just mentioned now about CO-PA accelerators with HANA, can you tell our viewers a little bit about what that means, and why that might be something that they might want to look into?
Mitresh: As the name suggests, the accelerators, accelerators are pre-defined configurations, ready-to-deploy solutions. So based on the experience of SAP’s implementations, SAP has already developed some pre-defined configurations, pre-defined setup for you to deploy your CO-PA solution into HANA. So you don’t have to change your CO-PA design, you don’t have to change your CO-PA operating constants, you continue with your current requirements, in the existing world you had to run the reports in CO-PA environment—now, the CO-PA database is replicated in HANA, and HANA will be able to provide you the reporting aspect out of it. So instead of waiting hours to get the profitability, now the HANA will be able to provide you the same solutions in minutes; in fact, within seconds, on the fly.
Lucy: It sounds like, from what I’ve been hearing from SAP as well, that this is a really good use case for HANA, I think people sort of see HANA and think about where to get started, it seems like this might be a good spot. So let’s talk about that a little bit, if I’m convinced, if you’ve convinced me that I should go forward with this, what’s next? What should I do to sort of get this set up?
Mitresh: And you’ve got it right, exactly, when it—of course, HANA is new, new solutions are getting deployed and things like that, you don’t want the whole ERP to be deployed in HANA, so you have to choose what processes, what modules, what functionalities you want to move to HANA.
Mitresh: Although I’m a GL guy, you don’t want to move your GL trial balance to HANA because you’re not going to get the value out of it. When it comes to value, for your investment, CO-PA is perhaps the number one candidate, for you, for your organization, to get the most value out of it and ROI-calculations wise, CO-PA will give you the most out of it because by nature, by DNA structure of CO-PA is what; large volume, detailed analysis, line item reporting, used to take a lot of time and very valuable to the organization. Now, all those challenges with regards to the speed and performance and the sluggish reporting, you get the value out of it within HANA. So what accelerators are, what this CO-PA accelerators are, these are pre-defined configurations, you can deploy, copy into HANA world, and start leveraging this right away, these are not like, six to nine months’ projects, there are not 20 consultants, army of consultants coming on the site, these are couple of weeks of projects and then you’re ready to run and you’re ready to get the most out of CO-PA.
Lucy: Great, and I’m sure our attendees will learn more details in your session but I thank you very much for sharing today at a high level what CO-PA and HANA is all about, so thank you so much Mitresh for joining me! Again this is Lucy Swedberg live from SAPinsider Financials 2014 in Orlando. Thank you so much!
Mitresh: Thank you!