Scott Cairncross, Partner Principal, TruQua Enterprises, and JS Irick, Principal Consultant, TruQua Enterprises, visit with SAPinsider Studio during the BPC Bootcamp and SAP Simple Finance Bootcamp in Las Vegas to discuss SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) Optimized for SAP S/4HANA.
This is a transcript of the discussion:
Ken Murphy, SAPinsider: Hi, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider, and I am at the SAPinsider BPC and SAP Simple Finance Bootcamps. Joining me today are two gentlemen from TruQua Enterprises. On my left is Scott Cairncross, he’s a Partner Principal, and on my far left is JS Irick, who is a Principal Consultant, again with TruQua Enterprises. They’re both speaking here at the events, and today they’re here to talk to me about SAP Integrated Business Planning for Finance. Thanks for being with us today.
Scott and JS: Thanks for having us.
Ken: I was hoping we could start if you can tell the viewers a little bit about SAP Integrated Business Planning for Finance. What is it, and what do people need to know about it. Is it really just BPC in the S/4HANA architecture, is it something more? What do people need to know?
Scott: That’s a great question, and in typical fashion SAP changed the name. And you’re right, Integrated Business Planning, or IBP for Finance, is actually BPC inside of S/4HANA and as recently as last week they changed the name from IBP for Finance to BPC Optimized for SAP S/4HANA. So just in that, I think that tells a lot to viewers about what IBP for Finance is, it really is a BPC system embedded into your S/4HANA Finance architecture that allows you to remove a lot of the operations that typically bog down planning implementations. Typical data loading, in order to get your actuals into your planning system. Those types of processes are removed. So instead, by leveraging the HANA architecture and the HANA framework, BPC is able to access your ERP actuals directly within the underlying tables that make up S/4HANA.
Ken: So eliminating a lot of data latency.
Scott: Exactly, and in removing a lot of that data latency, our planners and analysts can get to the types of activities that they really need to be doing – analysis – instead of loading data, going through the process of reconciling that data, they know the data is accurate because it’s pulling directly from their Financial system.
Ken: JS, I know you had a session this morning. What are people here at this event asking, what questions do they have about this solution?
JS: I think people are excited to see a simplified process, and excited to be in the system now. You’re starting to get more questions about specifics, and you’re starting to be able to show the customers what the system is going to look like. People are very excited to keep their reporting investment. We see users getting better and better with the tool; I see a lot of end-users on implementations making reports that are very impressive. And to have those same reports not need to be changed but to be up-to-date and not waiting for the newest load, and not waiting for the email saying it’s time to go into the system. And that’s exciting for users, because they want to be up-to-date. They’re on their cellphones, you get the latest information everywhere else in life, and then you go into work and it’s yesterday’s news and that’s frustrating. And it’s really exciting for the change management to be so simple yet to get such an improvement in the process.
Ken: And so what about the organization ready for a new planning solution, but really isn’t ready to take that step to SAP S/4HANA, or they don’t see that in their immediate timeline?
Scott: We have actually one customer right now that is really excited to go to S/4HANA and wants to but to your example it’s a few years out for them. So what they’re doing is saying, “Look, we want to be on the latest and greatest. We want to align with SAP, but we’re not ready to go there yet. What can we do that’s not throwaway?” And basically those types of customers can set up a sidecar HANA system, which has been around for five years now, and replicate their EPR data that makes up the actuals that interoperates with their Financial planning processes in order to get that real-time or close to real-time effect without actually loading data. You can say that that replication is in fact loading, but it’s using a completely different technology that is on-the-fly, it is a piece of software that does that loading vs. having people sitting in the office overnight running loads and monitoring those processes. Instead it’s just happening in real-time. It eliminates the need to have a lot of work functions. So the benefit for customers with Integrated Business Planning for Finance, or BPC Optimized for SAP S/4HANA, is really cost savings from headcount reduction and not having the necessity to run these data loads, and having the benefit of real-time analysis within their planning cycle. Especially at month end when people are closing out their books, or doing analysis. Having all that information at your fingertips is critical.
Ken: Are customers having an easy time seeing the ROI behind this? You’ve touched on a lot of examples on what it can do for your planning environment; I’m wondering just how transformative it really is, and how easy is it to see how much a planning environment can change?
Scott: Integration has always been the crux of every enterprise software implementation. We see it now today with all the public cloud solutions that are coming out in a variety of different spaces. It’s brought to bear this entire new space, iPADs or integration platform as a service. Well, what SAP solved 20 years ago was integrating all these different business functions together within one suite. Now there were some things that just didn’t work the way you wanted them to because of technical deficiencies. Well those technical deficiencies with HANA are gone, and S/4HANA brings that to bear so it really is the digital platform where you have everything integrated in one place. And Simple Finance, S/4HANA Finance, is the first step in getting there. And being able to embed your planning solution directly in that I think really enables customers to do amazing things going forward.
Ken: Thanks for joining us today.
Scott and JS: Thanks for having us. Appreciate it.