Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Profitability Analysis in SAP BPC with HANA

If you have a background in SAP COPA (Controlling-Profitability Analysis) and wondered if similar planning can be done in SAP BPC, you will find this article interesting.

SAP COPA is a great tool to collect the actual data, but does not have a good user interface for planning. Users of COPA usually plan in Microsoft Excel sheet and plugin the values in COPA planning templates. This defeats the whole purpose of interactive planning. This is due to the fact the templates are not flexible and cannot be generated dynamically.

In earlier blog we discussed about 'Key Figure' limitation in BPC. 

The other limitation is COPA can have 50 Characters, whereas a BPC Model ('Application' in 7.5 am older versions) can have only 20. An Environment ('ApplicationSet' in BPC 7.5 an older versions) can have 50 or more dimensions, if required we can create multiple Models each with different sets of COPA characteristic (or Characteristic groups) and join them using a common denominator (e.g. a segment).

We have helped clients to address COPA planning limitations in BPC. Contact us to discuss your case scenario.

With HANA, many limitations of COPA using traditional database can be overcome. We will cover COPA+HANA in over next blog. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Google BigQuery, SAP HANA- Cloud Solutions

Week of May 13th, 2013 was a big deal for SAP and Google. Two major events were held-SAPHIRE in Orlando and Developer I/O 2013 in San Francisco. 

I was lucky to get a Google I/O 2013 ticket, and be on of the 6000 participants. My objective was to learn about Google BigQuery and Google Apps Script.

Both companies are competitors in Cloud based 'Analysis or massive database' , SAP HANA has two product versions 'Appliance ' (Hardware and Software) and 'Cloud'. Where as Google has Cloud solution BigQuery. 

SAP HANA Appliance
Google BigQuery
- Strong SAP Products/Branding
- No downtime
- Good for Ad hoc requirements
- Good Enterprise Cloud offerings
- No downtime
- Good for Ad hoc requirements
- Good Developer community
- Maybe costs and downtime
- Dependency on AWA (Amazon web services) for cloud storage
- Provides tools, not business suits
- some products are evolving (e.g. Data Visualization)
- Increase production adoption
- Conversion from Cloud version
- Use as database for other applications
- Use as database for other applications
- Convert clients with web security concerns
- Encourage Developer community to build solutions
- Use as database for other applications (using Compute Engine)
- Convert clients with web security concerns
- Cloud products, and other Appliances
- Google BigQuery, Maybe Amazon
- Maybe Amazon

There were two client presentations on BigQuery - Gamesys and Shutterfly, these clients also use Google Apps Script for data visualization/reporting.

Here are the two Google BigQuery recordings
Big Data Mashups: Enabling Next Generation Analytics Using BigQuery
Here Be BigQuery: Building Social Gaming Infrastructure on the Google Cloud Platform

Another interesting project was All the Ships in the World: Visualizing Data with Google Cloud and Maps, which integrate many Google technologies to visualize real time Data.

I see SAP ideologically now being more open, proving more resources to developers and planning more Cloud based products.

It will be interesting to see how enterprise Cloud database and analysis tools will evolve and their acceptance.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Real-Time Data in BPC

Real-Time data is required for some organizations for tactical Sales & Operational Planning, a good example is FMCG industry.

I have seen requirements in these scenarios,
- New customers added in source system, need to update daily or weekly sales plan NOW in BPC
- Competitive Analysis, need to update this to my sales force NOW
- Month-end, Quarter-end top-end adjustment entered, I have to finalize forecast NOW

There are two issues
1. How to get the data in BPC, and
2. How to collaborate-Real-Time

How to get the data in BPC

If you use SAP BW, you can achieve it with some effort. It's called 'Real-Time Data Acquisition'. This was available in BW 3.5 with restrictions, in BW 7.0 and later versions it got better. You can get Real-Time data from source system using this technology. This is not out of the box solution, customization's and development effort are required.

I am not aware if this can be achieved with BPC Microsoft version, would like to know if you have experienced with this.

How to collaborate-Real-Time

The limitation of BPC is, one has to refresh the report to see the Real-Time data.  In collaborative planning when a team member is updating plan data, others have to wait for their turn to update. When planning portfolio of products and customers, collaboration is slow.

I see a great potential if everyone can see the same data and collaborate Real-Time, just like this Google Drive Real-Time API

Do you have a requirement for Real-Time Planning in BPC?

Monday, February 18, 2013

SAP BPC NW Consolidations Movements in Flow or Account Dimension?

Whats the advantage of flow dimension over accounts?

In my experience is Flow makes things application complex, Account is relatively easier to report and manage.

Account movements are required for many Balance Sheet accounts- e.g. Cash, Fixed Assets. These movements are reported in financial statements in cash flow and disclosure sections.

I believe capturing movements in accounts is much efficient because

  1. Reporting is much simpler, no need to remember which flows are valid for which accounts.e.g. Cash account do not need retirements, additions flows dimensions. 
  2. If you have flow dimension, then users have to be careful ion which flow they enter data. Overload on Business User.
What's your take?

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