First off, let me address the elephant in the room – why a Top 9? Well, because nearly everyone does a Top 10 and I figured I’d take this opportunity to be a little different.
As you may have heard by now, the latest version of SAP’s Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) solution was released a few months back and is the edition that has added planning and consolidation capabilities to the BW/4HANA next-generation data warehouse solution that came out in fall 2016. The official title of the latest version is “SAP BPC 11.0, version for BW/4HANA”, and one key facet for current BPC customers is that this is an entirely new product with a separate license from any past BPC version; therefore, it is more of a ‘migration’ to get to 11.0, not an ‘upgrade’. For customers exploring BPC for the first time, you’d be coming from some other tool, so it’s for these two reasons why the word ‘Move’ is in the title of the blog. Well, without further ado, our Top 9 Reasons to Move to BPC 11.0:
9) Faster data loads and thus quicker process execution due to simplified data integration.
In keeping with the simplification theme of its S/4HANA ERP solution, SAP introduced a greatly simplified BW/4HANA product that reduced the number of objects available for building out content of the data warehouse. What this means is there should be fewer ‘hops’ that the data needs to make in order to get to BPC, thus reducing the amount of time it would take to execute a process—making business users happy—as well as, reducing the amount of redundant data in the system—making IT happy. A win-win.
8) Process extension and enhanced visualizations by integrating with SAP Analytics Cloud and Digital Boardroom, allowing for management and executive participation in the process and review of results.
SAP’s cloud-based planning and BI solution, SAP Analytics Cloud touts the ability to open up your planning processes to users outside of finance and accounting and Digital Boardroom allows for real-time insights into your business that executives crave. By using these tools to supplement your planning process, you get better forecasted results and participation organization-wide, and integration with BPC 11.0 to support the complete forecast could not be simpler.
7) Predictive capabilities, potentially increasing forecast accuracy and simplification of process through integration with SAP Analytics Cloud.
That data integration between BPC 11.0 and SAP Analytics Cloud further extends to the use of the latter’s capabilities for predicting future results. By analyzing past operational and external data to predict future financial results, you could get a much more objective (and quite possibly more accurate) look at your forecasted revenue or expenses, giving your leadership teams the ability to react to the market and make changes to your business to compensate.
6) Modernized reporting and data inputs, as well as, enhanced visualizations using the improved BPC web interface, allowing more personnel to interact with BPC than before in cases where the users did not want or have the ability to access via the Excel add-in.
BPC has traditionally been greatly coveted by the core accounting and finance user-base, who more or less spend their time in Excel, which is the main user interface for BPC. But, for those folks outside of those areas, Excel is sometimes a dreaded necessity and would prefer some other way to interact with the solution. BPC 11.0’s web experience has been completely re-written using Fiori design principles and should allow for more of these users to experience the power of the tool.
5) Reduce time it takes to execute consolidation and planning processes thanks to calculation performance improvements in HANA.
It goes without saying that BPC 11.0 is only available with a system that uses HANA as the underlying database, and given it’s rise since it was introduced over six years ago (can you believe it!?) it has been allowing customers to re-invent their business processes due to the speed at which it performs calculations on even the biggest sets of data. With BPC 11.0, additional performance enhancements have been built in and more will continue to be developed, allowing for process improvements such as a greater use of “scenario” planning which can make your business more agile and responsive to the ever-changing and faster-paced economic environment.
4) BPC 11.0 opens the possibility for more complex planning scenarios with greater forecasting accuracy and granularity by connecting with Big Data sources more seamlessly.
There was a time in its infancy that BPC could not reasonably support millions of data records or thousands of dimension members, but those times have passed. We’ve successfully built out extremely detailed planning models that even get down to the bill of material level for 5,000+ products in order to perform calculations. These types of solutions would not be nearly as achievable without utilizing an in-memory database such as HANA as the underlying technology.
3) Reducing time to implement by using Eclipse-based modeling tool for easier build of BW content.
One of the things that developers have raved about BW/4HANA is the simplicity of the Eclipse user interface for creating content. Not only are there fewer development objects available—making it simpler—but the interface is much more appealing and user friendly. This is great for those in IT, but from a business-user perspective, what this means is that it should take less time for building out data integrations and/or certain BPC-related content, and thus shorter development cycles and quicker to project completion.
2) Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) through availability of more cloud deployment scenarios.
In today’s world, the move to the cloud is seemingly on everyone’s radar and BPC 11.0 is no exception. With this latest release, there are more cloud deployment options available whether it be Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud or even hosted solutions with third parties such as us, at itelligence. Moving to the cloud can help control and reduce cost of ownership of traditionally on-premise solutions such as BPC.
1) BPC 11.0 is the platform of the future
Given that BPC 11.0 is the latest product offering built on the next generation BW/4HANA architecture, it truly is the place to be for the future. Most feature enhancements will be likely be made to this version first—and perhaps exclusively—by SAP so if you’re looking to partner with SAP to build out new functionality, you’ll want/need to be (like in Spinal Tap) all the way up to 11.0.
To learn more about upgrading your finance technology to see real process improvements at your organization, download our eBook on achieving a faster financial close.