22 Mar Considering a BPC Planning Project? You have options!
If you’re considering a BPC planning project, you may have noticed there are several options available. Recent developments such as in-memory technology, the cloud, and mobile devices have changed the landscape and as a result, several new products have been added to the SAP planning portfolio. Adding to the confusion, many products have been recently renamed, so keeping the terminology straight can be difficult.
BPC (Business Planning and Consolidations) is SAP’s flagship on-premise or hosted solution. There are several versions available and each is often generically referred to as BPC. Cloud for Analytics has a planning component as well, and contains features that may be useful in certain situations. Here’s a high-level overview of each product to start you on the path of choosing a solution that works for your organization.
SAP BPC 10.1 Standard (Formerly called BPC, or BPC Classic). This product started as an OutlookSoft product which was acquired by SAP. The first SAP version was 7.5, then 10.0, and the current version is 10.1. This was the ‘original’ SAP BPC, and can run on either HANA or non-HANA BW systems. In addition to planning, BPC Standard can also be used for Consolidations. The user-interface is the EPM Add-in to Excel, which is a good choice for organizations who favor Excel. BPC Standard is a flexible, stable, widely-used option, where business users can play a large role in on-going ownership of the solution.
SAP BPC 10.1 Embedded (Formerly called BPC Unified). BPC 10.1 Embedded is really a merger of older BW-IP (Integrated Planning) functionality and newer BPC functionality, built on the HANA platform. BPC Embedded requires a HANA database. For organizations that have an existing BW-IP solution, and/or a large BW footprint, BPC Embedded is the natural progression. Because BPC Embedded uses more native BW objects and many of the planning functions have been pushed down to the HANA level, it performs very well. BPC Embedded also has an Excel user-interface, and is a good choice for companies with complex planning scenarios and/or large data volumes.
SAP BPC Optimized for S/4HANA Finance (Formerly called Integrated Business Planning for Finance) is BPC within the S/4HANA Finance system. In this scenario, BPC is built into the S/4HANA Finance system and can access actual transaction data real-time. For organizations that run S/4HANA Finance, BPC Optimized for S/4HANA is probably the obvious choice. Even if you’re not running S/4HANA Finance yet, there are steps you can take now to ensure your planning solution is compatible when you migrate to S/4HANA Finance.
Cloud for Analytics Planning (Formerly called Cloud for Analytics) is a cloud based, subscription service that provides a highly intuitive user experience using contextual discovery and visualization. In addition to a strong analytics engine, Cloud for Analytics Planning, C4P, was designed to be a next generation, fully autonomous, user-centric FP&A planning tool. It was released in November of 2015 and it is therefore probably not yet mature enough to be used as a stand-alone planning solution. But with bi-weekly releases, SAP is focusing a lot of attention on this product and it will be a contender very soon. In the interim, because of the cloud experience, organizations may want to consider a hybrid solution where C4P could act as a front-end while accessing data from any of the BPC solutions listed above. C4P as a front-end could be an option for departmental, remote or non- Excel users, or for organizations looking to move beyond the limitations of Excel-based planning.
As is often the case with SAP products, there is not one planning product that is right for everyone. Each option has pros and cons, and the technology is changing quickly. We have the expertise to guide you through the technical and functional factors to enable you to make the best choice for your organization.