Pras Chatterjee, Senior Director of Product Marketing, EPM, SAP, joins SAPinsider at the 2015 SAPinsider BPC Bootcamp in Las Vegas to discuss BPC Optimized for SAP S/4HANA Finance.
This is an edited transcript of the discussion:
Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider and I’m at the SAPinsider SAP BPC Bootcamp, and here with me today is Pras Chatterjee, Senior Director of Product Marketing, EPM, SAP. Pras, thanks for being with us.
Pras Chatterjee, SAP: Thanks for having me.
Ken: I know you’re speaking at a lot of sessions here this week; a topic on a lot of people’s minds is Integrated Business Planning. I was hoping you could start by telling our viewers a little bit about the solution.
Pras: Sure, that’s a great question and in fact I should let the viewers know that it’s no longer called Integrated Business Planning for Finance, rather we’ve changed the name to SAP Business Planning and Consolidation Optimized for SAP S/4HANA Finance, because again S/4HANA Finance is now the new name for what was previously Simple Finance, and we want to let our customers know that BPC, the tool that they invest in for their planning and consolidations right now, works and is optimized for S/4HANA Finance.
Ken: Why the name change?
Pras: I think part of the reason for the name change is people started thinking about Integrated Business Planning for Finance as a separate product, and started asking us “How does this compare to BPC?” In reality, it was always just BPC you needed your BPC licenses, but when you use it as part of Simple Finance, or S/4HANA Finance, you had this deeper optimization and content and real-time integration as part of your S/4HANA Finance or Simple Finance investment. So to eliminate the confusion and letting people think it was a separate product, we basically just said “Hey, it’s your BPC investment optimized for S/4HANA.”
Ken: What would be the difference between SAP Cloud for Analytics for Planning, and BPC?
Pras: Great question. We introduced SAP Cloud for Planning earlier this year in February, and we’ve now renamed it SAP Cloud for Analytics for Planning. SAP Cloud for Analytics is a cloud-based application where you can license and use features for BI, or planning, in the future predictive, and GRC capabilities. So for the planning piece right now it’s a completely cloud-based planning product with no Excel interface whatsoever, you can do visualization on your planning data using the BI functionality as well. So what makes a difference is BPC is on-premise but can be hosted in the HANA Enterprise Cloud, whereas Cloud for Analytics for planning is a completely SaaS-based planning solution.
Ken: So an organization can take their existing on-premise planning tools and consume them in the cloud with Cloud for Analytics for planning?
Pras: Yes, absolutely. So right now what companies can do is they can extend their BPC investment. So for example they might have BPC on-premise, but they might have regions or subs that want to do planning very quickly and don’t want something on-premise. We’ve built in bi-directional integration between BPC, both Microsoft and NetWeaver versions, and Cloud for Analytics for Planning so that they can for example do their planning or forecasting in Cloud for Analytics for Planning and move it into BPC or push out master data from BPC directly into Cloud for Analytics for Planning, so giving bi-directional integration between both products.
Ken: Moving forward, what is the SAP BPC roadmap?
Pras: It’s actually an amazing roadmap coming up. At some of the sessions I talk about the Microsoft roadmap where we’re doing a lot of investment and consolidations. For BPC itself we’ve got a lot of great features coming up, starting with real-time consolidations. That’s something we’re hoping to have next year where within BPC companies instead of doing consolidations in a static manner they can do consolidations as part of their S/4HANA Finance investment instantaneously. So if they’re doing management consolidations through the course of the month they can just view instantaneously what the consolidations would look like. So that’s a great investment there. Deeper integration with Design Studio and Lumira to do advanced visualization on top of their BPC data as well. We’re looking to increase the incremental consolidation feature so that companies can just consolidate a lot quicker and faster, so accelerating the financial close process.
Ken: Throughout the week here, what kind of questions are you hearing from attendees? Maybe some misconceptions they might have, or things they’re interested in bringing back to their own organizations.
Pras: The first is exactly what you started with, Integrated Business Planning for Finance. A lot of the confusion came from the fact that people thought it was a separate product, and people also thought that because it was labeled as Integrated Business Planning that there was integration with the IBP and supply chain, IBP and sales and operation. So by re-naming it as BPC Optimized for S/4HANA Finance, I think that is making things clearer. We’ve also talked about our robust planning portfolio, whether it’s BPC Microsoft, BPC NetWeaver, as well SAP Cloud for Analytics for Planning, so I think customers have more clarity, but then they’ve been asking when to use what and which one to go with. So I’ve tried in the sessions to help explain for example if you’re an SAP shop, do you want a cloud-based planning solution? If the answer is yes, you move to SAP Cloud for Analytics for Planning. If the answer is no, then you move to BPC. Or, if you want a hosted model in the HANA Enterprise Cloud the option is BPC. But I think it always starts with “Are you open to cloud or not?” Cloud for Analytics for Planning is not a replacement for BPC, it’s not BPC in the cloud, it is a completely separate product that we’re investing in that can complement BPC or work in a standalone way.
Ken: Pras, thanks for joining us today.
Pras: Thanks for having me.