The corporate financial planning team plays a very significant role in companies by performing budgeting, forecasting, and analysis supporting the decision taking process of the management. The corporate financial plan evaluates the company’s progress toward achieving its goals and maps out future goals and plans. Digital transformation requires finance department to deliver live insight into the business and create new business models. The demand for ad-hock decision support and analyses from finances is likely to increase in the next years.
Selecting the right software can be very critical for the success of the whole company. Different companies have of course different needs. What is a perfect solution for small company can be totally not applicable for middle size or big company.
Probably the most used tool for planning is still Microsoft Excel, which is a must knowledge for finance experts. But it is not enough. In times of high competition between the companies the fast and reliable data analyses become critical for the success. For good financial analyses and plans the quality and availability of data is crucial. So, the software used by the companies for collecting, storing and analyzing data becomes more and more important.
SAP was trying to keep up with the fast growing demand for real-time analyses and presented big variety of planning solutions like BPC (Business planning and consolidation) standard, BW Integrated planning, SAP BPC standard, SAP BPC embedded, SAP Business Objects Lumira, SAP Analytics Cloud.
In addition there are a lot of tools for the front end of the planning applications – Business object design studio with its successor Lumira , SAP Analyses for Office.
Financial planning can be organized also with other not so popular tools offered by SAP like Integrated Business planning cloud solution, SAP Product Lifecycle Costing, SAP Profitability and Cost Management.
All of these solutions and combinations of them can be used for planning purposes. But this big variety of choices has as many advantages, but also disadvantage: there is always the question, which tool will survive the next release and proves its quality in the future.
Cloud first strategy
Currently the SAP Analytics cloud is the primary strategic solution for financial planning, which SAP offers. The SAP Analytics Cloud solution for financial planning is setting a new standard for financial planning & analysis by combining business intelligence and planning, together in the cloud.
But still there are a lot of companies, which are not ready to migrate completely to cloud solutions. For customers requiring an on premise solution SAP still offers BPC optimized for SAP S/4HANA on premise or BPC for BW/4 HANA. There is actually integration between SAP Analytics cloud and BPC. Such scenarios are called hybrid. They are combination of the on premise and cloud solutions. The majority of new enhancements for planning will be delivered in SAP Analytics Cloud.
But what is actually behind the name BPC?
BPC is not any more only BPC standard. The version of SAP BPC 11 combines the standard BPC solution with the advantages of the integrated planning in BW. According information from TechEd 2019 roadmap sessions SAP has more than 5000 clients using BPC already. SAP will continue investing in BPC, but mainly in the connection of the BPC to SAC as front end.
In the next years we will see if SAP analytics cloud solution can fully replace BPC and if some of the well known functionalities will be integrated in the cloud solution.
More information about the roadmap of SAC and also BPC can be found in this video from SAP TechEd 2019 here.