Efficient planning solutions for optimal decision-making

Roland J. Merz
Managing Director / Vice Chairman

Our SAP planning solutions at a glance

Planning is commonly described as the anticipation of action steps to achieve a goal. For this purpose, corporate planning plans key figures over time and uses them to derive measures for achieving objectives.

In the environment of accelerated product cycles and increasing price pressure, it is becoming increasingly necessary to plan more precisely and more often. One component of this is shorter planning cycles. They help to react quickly to changing conditions and thus make corporate management more efficient.

The use of efficient planning tools reduces the effort and enables, among other things:

Time-consuming activities that were often performed manually in the past are greatly simplified by modern planning solutions:

Excel-based planning has numerous weaknesses, and collaboration between several planners is prone to errors. A lot of manual work is often required when reconciling individual sub-plans – including high potential for errors. At the latest, when a plan needs to be subsequently modified without changing the original target figures, pure Excel plannings reach their limits.

SAP currently offers three relevant frameworks with which the above-mentioned advantages can be used for planning in an SAP landscape. Error-prone and time-consuming planning on a pure Excel basis can be reliably replaced. In addition to other available tools, MS Excel can also be used as a front end for data collection.

Our FAQs on the subject of planning

SAP Analytics Cloud is SAP’s reporting and planning solution for cloud-based work. Access via a browser also enables access from the home office or from mobile devices. The company’s needs in terms of data protection are taken into account architecturally and conceptually. This means that despite mobile access, your company data never leaves your own company network. This integration is possible when data in an SAP BW is accessed with the SAC. The full functionality is available as soon as data is uploaded to the SAP Analytics Cloud.

From a planning perspective, a great many concepts such as data models, dimensions or process control of planning – to name just a few – have been integrated from SAP BPC into SAP Analytics Cloud. This means that, among other things, SAP BPC planning models (standard) can also be imported into SAC and used further. In particular, functions for collaborative work on corporate planning, such as the comment and chat functions of SAC, are available for planning scenarios. This means a functional upgrade compared to on-premise planning solutions and underlines the positioning of SAC as a strategic planning solution of SAP.

Furthermore, SAC can also be used for planning on S/4HANA systems. For this purpose, SAP offers standard content, which has so far focused on the planning of financial key figures. But individual planning can also be developed with SAC on an S/4HANA system. For this purpose, data interfaces are provided in S/4HANA to ensure seamless integration between SAC and S/4HANA. When implementing a project, you are not forced to build a complete financial plan. Instead, subplans can be introduced successively and integrated to form an overall financial plan.

⇒ Learn more about planning with SAP Analytics Cloud here

Business Planning and Consolidation is SAP’s strategic on-premise solution for planning. It is available on SAP BW, SAP BW/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA. In the future, SAP will focus on SAP BW/4HANA.

BPC enables very fast planning cycles for budgeting and forecasting by using customizable planning logics, automatic distributions of plan values or the creation of default values. Aggregations of plan values along centrally maintained hierarchies are just as much a part of the repertoire as the possibility of mapping different scenarios.

Thanks to the seamless integration of SAP BPC into the SAP landscape, the consolidation, which also gives the system its name, is possible without any loss of data quality. Thanks to the flexible concept, data from non-SAP companies can also be easily integrated. A flexible set of rules enables the mapping of all legal requirements for consolidation.

A sophisticated control of the planning process controls the participation of all relevant persons in the planning or consolidation process in due time and on schedule and reduces the organizational complexity in planning, as it can occur, for example, in planning counter-current procedures or bottom-up planning.

Microsoft Excel with add-ins is used as the frontend and offers users all the advantages they are used to from Excel. The extensive possibilities of Excel for the visual representation of actual and plan data are thus also available here.

⇒ Learn more about planning with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

SAP BW IP is a framework within SAP BW (up to version 7.5). It enables you to build a business planning with SAP BW resources by using planning info providers (such as Advanced Data Store Objects or InfoCubes), input-ready queries and planning functions. SAP BW IP is a licensed component of SAP BW. As a user interface, Microsoft Excel (with SAP Analysis Office Add-In) is possible, as well as a purely browser-based data entry.

Since SAP BW/4HANA, BW IP has been discontinued. Instead, very large parts of the technology have been merged into the SAP product Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) and have also been functionally upgraded there.

⇒ Learn more about SAP BW IP

Which planning framework is the right one for my business?

The decision for a planning framework should be well considered. It usually involves implications that will affect the BI landscape over many years. The current and future planned BI architecture in the company must be taken into account, as well as the question of functional requirements for the planning solution and organizational aspects:

Are there already ready-made planning solutions "off the shelf"?

Planning solutions must bring together numerous, individual aspects of company-specific structures: existing data modeling, organizational processes and structures, business-specific planning content and levels of detail, to name just a few. Offers of ready-made planning solutions “off the shelf” can hardly take this into account satisfactorily for the concrete situation in the respective company, since individual development work is always required for planning applications.

However, many years of experience with planning solutions have shown that numerous companies repeatedly formulate similar requirements. As a result, we have created a cost center planning solution, our product “Financial Planner”, which solves many of these recurring requirements in an exemplary manner. Within a short time, we adapt the Financial Planner to your requirements so that it is ready for use.

Our workshop offer

How to successfully master the upgrade of your integrated planning solution

Are you thinking about upgrading to SAP BW/4HANA and/or S/4HANA and are you wondering what will happen to your existing planning solutions? We will show you, how you can manage the complexity and ensure a smooth transition to SAP BPC 11.x and/or SAP Analytics Cloud. 
Our proven workshop format will prepare you and your team for the upcoming possibilities with the SAP planning solutions.

Additional option to our workshop offer for the planning upgrade

Best practices for integrating driver-based planning, simulations and predictive forecasting into your planning processes.

  • Overview of typical planning, budgeting and forecasting processes.
  • Business value of driver-based planning.
  • What are the impacts of simulations and predictive forecasting on your existing planning- and forecasting processes?
  • Best practices for the technical implementation of driver-based planning, simulations and predictive forecasting.

Duration: 5 – 8 hours
Participants: max. 8
Workshop at a fixed price

We would be happy to discuss your individual requirements with you.
Get in touch with our contact persons.

Planning know-how webinars (German language)

Financial Planner, Integrierte Planung, SAP Analysis for Office (AfO), SAP Analytics Cloud

Further information

Our offer

We can draw from best practices, gathered in many projects, and proven solutions when we jointly develop your planning solution for you. In this way, we achieve significantly shorter project runtimes with our already developed and tested solution modules, while at the same time providing high software stability and a clear range of functions.

For further information, please contact our expert.

Benedikt Bleyer

Design, Build and Run Your Business Analytics Platform. Professional experience in Advanced Analytics, Data Integration, Data Governance & Enterprise Planning.