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Extending SAP BPC with SAP Analytics Cloud

SAP BPC is a reliable workhorse in Planning and consolidation space. The BPC we know and rely on has proven capabilities like business process centric tool, used and managed by business users, familiar excel interface, comprehensive script logic capabilities, robust security interface, ability to publish book and distribute offline reports and many others.

SAP BPC has served very well to corporate finance groups over the years and help them to manage corporate and LOB planning processes. The corporate team rely on salespeople spread across the geographies for sales related inputs, the cost center managers provide their own budget and forecast data to corporate teams and so are other functions.

The BPC excel interface help these LOB teams to integrate their own excel sheets with more granular data with corporate planning templates, but this is not an ideal way of planning in this cloud centric world.

How BPC works with SAC

The SAP Analytics cloud with its native two way integration with SAP BPC allows planning teams to provide zero footprint data input or collection mechanism to line of business users. The LOB teams can create their own supplementary planning models and lower level calculations in SAC and sync it with SAP BPC

Key Areas where SAC can enhance BPC experience

SAP BPC is great in handling complex user requirements and formats using EPM add-in but it does not provide a ready to use dashboarding tools or ad hoc analysis tools

SAP BPC provides unified planning model and present the data in easy to use formats but there are no capabilities to carry out predictive analysis

SAC allows user to easily create dashboards, data grids, do ad hoc analysis and predictive modeling by simply importing the ready to use BPC model in SAC.

Example Chart

The typical use cases for SAC and BPC

SAC as reporting and Dashboarding for BPC: This is the low hanging fruit in SAC- BPC landscape. A simple read only BPC model can be created in SAC for reporting and dashboard creation.

SAC as a data input interface for BPC: SAC can be used as a data input tools for departmental teams with BPC acting as a main planning model

SAC as a predictive tool for BPC: This is a specific use case where BPC BPF step can open an SAC story with prepopulated BPC data and user can run the predictive analytics feature to generate a forecast and submit that back to BPC for further optimization.

SAC as LOB Planning tool with BPC for Corporate Planning: This is the most desirable use case where SAC is used to do LOB planning and data get synced back with corporate BPC environment. The reporting can be done from both BPC and SAC

If one consider the complimentary capabilities of SAC and BPC, This  extended planning solutions provide robust on premises planning solution extended with web based planning, reporting, visualization and predictive capabilities with a native two way sync of transaction data and master data.

Happy Planning!! Image source : https://blogs.sap.com/2019/04/15/hybrid-planning-scenarios-built-by-sap-analytics-cloud-for-planning-and-sap-business-planning-and-consolidation-webcast-recap/

The Entity Dimension in BPC

download (1)The Entity dimension is one of the most important dimensions in BPC. The SAP ECC has four different objects that can act as Entity like Cost Center, Profit Center, Business Area and Company Code. The planning can happen on any of the above based on company structure and planning requirements.

The question is how we build the Entity dimension, by encompassing all four objects into one entity dimensions or by keeping them as separate dimensions. Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Keep Cost Center, Profit Center, Business Area and Company Code as separate dimension

Pros:

  • Easy to integrate and automate master data from ECC to BW to BPC
  • Duplicate members can be tolerated, many times same member id is used for business area and company code in ECC

Cons:

  • Sparse data model, extra number of dimensions make data sparse and unnecessary big model
  • The availability of data decides the relationship and not hierarchies. If a transaction exists having a particular cost center and a particular business area then they are related. The hierarchy across these objects does not exist.
  • Become difficult to locate the data across these objects.
  • The usability goes down as user has to select all four objects correctly to find the require data
  • The chances of wrong data submission due to user error increases

Integrate one or more into a composite Dimension

Pros:

  • The BPC data model becomes smaller and easy to manage
  • The data available at Cost Center get rolled up to company code.
  • The planning and reporting become easy and intuitive

Cons:

  • The four objects need to be integrated in an hierarchy in BW or BPC using custom logic
  • Duplicate members require renaming with prefix like BA or COMP, etc.
  • The relationship between cost center, profit center, business area and company code needs to be many to one and not many to many. This may need redesign in ECC

The Take-Away

The composite dimension in BPC has efforts in the design and development phase but it makes the life of the end-user easier and reporting more robust. Entity dimension is one of the most important dimensions in BPC and its design has long term consequences on success or failure of BPC implementation. Considering each BPC implementation has its own set of challenges, it requires a careful study of the pros and cons listed above.