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Demystifying a Hybrid EPM Solution from SAP: SAC Planning on top of SAP BPC

SAC Planning (SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning) is a cloud product that can be configured using its own SAC engine and modelling capabilities, or in live connectivity to SAP BPC/BW (Hybrid mode). SAP BPC on the other hand is an on-premise solution consisting of a BPC Classic/Standard tool that has been acquired by SAP from OutlookSoft in 2007, and BPC embedded that is also known as SAP BW/IP:

Data integration between ERP and EPM tools from different vendors may require a substantial effort (months, or sometimes years of consulting time). This is caused not only by different formats of data models and the ways data is stored, for example, in Oracle HFM and SAP, but also by integration efforts related to infrastructure connectivity, security, authorizations, data volumes, jobs scheduling, etc.

Specific SAP functionality that may be essential for positive user experience usually is not directly supported by other vendors. This includes master data hierarchies, BW query structures, currency conversion, customer exit input variables, units of measure, end user language settings, etc.

With non-SAP EPM tools usually the only possible connectivity is to design import/export interfaces for actuals and plan/forecast datasets. SAP data would be exported to the EPM tool, and once the planning effort is completed budget/forecast data may be imported back in SAP. This may work in certain business planning scenarios, however, more and more often business requires greater agility and faster workarounds.

Hybrid EPM planning solution from SAP has a number of advantages that can be crucial for the overall EPM project’s success with the clients already using SAP BW data warehouse. First of all, a reusable set of models in BW/4HANA and live connectivity implies fewer efforts related to data integration, data transfers and business logic redesign. Secondly, BW/HANA engine is a great help with application’s performance on large datasets. And lastly, SAC Planning frontend on top of BPC/BW is a powerful cloud product that brings its own advantages and self-service capabilities to the business user community. At the same time one needs to be aware of certain limitations associated with the hybrid scenario. They should be addressed during the implementation effort via a creative design approach, and sometimes may require using additional tools for specific tasks, such as MS Analysis for Office (AFO) .

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How to Benefit from both SAC Planning and BPC
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