SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) - Your all-rounder for corporate planning and financial consolidation

You no longer want to have to painstakingly compile everything from a wide variety of sources for your corporate planning? Do you want to put your budget planning on a secure footing and check it in real time? Do you want to use what-if scenarios to quickly make necessary course corrections? Then the software solution SAP Business Planning & Consolidation, SAP BPC for short, can help you.
SAP BPC is an all-round solution for all companies that want to keep operational and financial planning under control. In the following, CALEO shows you what SAP BPC does, what prerequisites must be in place and what you should consider during implementation.
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SAP BPC - What is it?

SAP Business Planning & Consolidation, SAP BPC for short, is an Enterprise Performance Management (EMP) software solution from the Walldorf-based software group SAP for all types of planning tasks. SAP BPC uses the functions of SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) in the background and supplements its scope of services with additional options that are required in your company for planning tasks of all kinds.
With SAP BPC, for example, you can accelerate your financial planning, create forecasts quickly and easily, shorten budget and closing cycles, and securely comply with accounting standards. This is because SAP BPC enables you, among other things, to make more informed decisions based on what-if analyses and scenario plans and thus achieve better results. You have modern collaboration tools at your disposal to improve accountability and planning accuracy. Cycle times are also extremely shortened as financial closings are accelerated and you can align your planning with strategic goals.
SAP BPC is available as an on-premise and cloud solution and is offered in two variants - BPC Standard and BPC Embedded. Both versions differ in terms of the target group, the range of functions and, above all, the integration options.

SAP BPC - What can the EPM solution do?

SAP BPC is designed to present a holistic picture of your company's economic and financial situation, ensuring consistent planning and consolidation. In short, SAP BPC provides enterprise-wide financial intelligence. This is achieved by integrating different reporting interfaces from various systems and implementing them with preconfigured, industry-specific functionalities.
SAP BPC thus accelerates monetary planning and budgeting in your company. At the same time, the tool promotes collaboration and helps make informed business decisions. Improved planning efficiency shortens cycle times and helps you keep projects on schedule. SAP BPC supports you in numerous ways.

Consolidations - Always keeping an eye on the economic situation

  • SAP BPC provides a holistic picture of your company's economic situation. The basis for this is, among other things, the respective individual financial statements, which are used to determine the distribution of profits and the basis for taxation.
  • SAP BPC is suitable for group and management reporting and complies with the legal principles of the German Commercial Code (HGB), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and United States Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (US GAAP). The responsible employees are guided through the closing process by means of "business process flows" for recording and consolidation in a target and deadline-oriented manner. In this way, users pass through all reporting units in order to process the process steps relevant to them on time. An automated approval process ensures that the captured data is first subjected to a content review and, if necessary, commented on. This ensures high data quality and thus reliable consolidated financial statements.
  • SAP BPC has integrated financial information, plus additional legal and administrative consolidation capabilities. This includes the ability to import data from various data sources. There are many integration options here, such as the ERP solution S/4HANA. However, SAP BPC also supports ERP systems that do not come from SAP.
  • Integration with the SAP NetWeaver platform means that individual financial statement data from SAP systems can be quickly transferred to SAP BPC. Even companies or departments that do not use a solution from SAP can provide their individual financial statement data via load files or by manual entry.
  • Data changes within the consolidation process are precisely documented by means of documents or audits. The consolidation monitor makes the closing clear to the process owners at all times. In this way, the compliance requirements and specifications of the auditors can be met without any problems.
  • SAP delivers preconfigured consolidation logics for SAP BPC in the form of so-called starter kits. In this way, the implementation effort is reduced. The consolidation logic can be flexibly adapted to your own needs.
  • Other consolidation functions include currency translation, eliminations, allocations, partial ownership, equity inclusion, journals, and reporting and analysis.

Planning and forecasting - whether short or long term

  • A company's planning is normally geared towards the long term. However, SAP BPC allows both short-term intervals, such as a division into week, month, quarter or year, and the consideration of cycles that extend years or decades into the future. This requires information that is outside the realm of conventional budgeting or financial planning. To do this, SAP BPC combines a variety of financial and non-financial information, including from external systems, into a complete view.
  • Many companies now no longer calculate their budgets using the traditional twelve-month model, but instead establish a rolling forecast that looks up to 18 months into the future. SAP BPC combines actual periods with forecast periods for more efficient reporting and analysis. For example, a forecast version for the month of May would include four periods of actual data from January through April and include at least eight periods of forecast data. In this way, it is also relatively easy to compare current periods with previous forecast periods.

Budgeting - whether bottom-up, top-down or a mix of both

A budget cycle generally provides a complete outlook for the coming year, based on your business calendar. To set the budget, either start from predefined assumptions or goals (top-down) or start with detailed inputs from across the organization (bottom-up) and develop budget targets from there. Some companies also rely on a combination of top-down and bottom-up measures. SAP BPC helps you run through different versions for the budgeting that makes the most sense for you and develop it during an iterative and collaborative process.

Management reporting - reports and analyses at the push of a button

SAP BPC provides a variety of reporting and analysis formats. Including what-if scenarios with real-time modeling - all based on Excel. Within the Excel interface, SAP BPC also includes a book publishing wizard. This dynamically generates any combination of cost centers, profit centers, product lines, etc. and product books into a distributable PDF document. Users can create both ad hoc and production reports, including financial statements, in their desired format. An optional disclosure management solution from SAP also helps automate filings with various regulatory agencies, including the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The advantages of SAP BPC at a glance

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation provides a highly scalable, robust database combined with business process and logic capabilities, thereby providing you with a true, powerful enterprise performance management platform to support you in the following areas:

  • Optimized business planning - SAP BPC enables the aggregation and analysis of data, increasing the accuracy of business planning and accountability.
  • Accelerated budget process: With SAP BPC, companies can evaluate multiple scenarios in minutes, which would take many days with offline budget processes.
  • Data integrity: SAP BPC enables complex and arbitrary questions to be answered by aggregating information from a wide variety of sources to make business processes across the enterprise more efficient.
  • Strategy development: The analysis and forecasting of developments in specific time cycles help to align your plans with strategic goals.
  • Big Data: Without the ability to systematically analyze data, companies struggle to unlock value. SAP BPC makes it possible to harmonize multiple data sources to measure and interpret the company's key performance indicators.

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BPC Standard vs. BCP Embedded - Two editions for different target groups

With "BPC Standard" and "BPC Embedded", SAP offers two different EPM solutions that differ primarily in terms of the user group. While BPC Standard was designed for the front-end user in the business department, SAP BPC Embedded is particularly suitable for the IT department for the back-end creation of individual planning and consolidation solutions. It should be noted that mainstream maintenance for SAP BPC Standard will officially end on December 31, 2022.
With the latest version called "SAP BPC 11.0 for BW/4HANA" 11, a radical change is taking place at the same time. While the older version is based on Microsoft technology and uses Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services to store data, the new version relies on a business intelligence package from SAP (SAP BW) that is used together with the SAP HANA database. New tools for modeling planning applications were also introduced.

SAP BPC Standard - for consolidation or planning solutions of medium-sized companies

SAP BPC Standard is particularly suitable for consolidation or planning solutions of medium-sized companies, but also for corporate groups. It was developed specifically for tasks in the financial environment such as controlling & accounting. The responsibility here usually lies with the individual specialist department(s) and not with the IT department. Compact data models with complex planning layouts and reports are used here. The Excel front-end makes the solution easy to use. Consolidation functions for more complex projects are also available for BPC Standard. The functions at a glance:

  • Comprehensive functions for planning and budgeting, consolidation, and reporting - all in compliance with legal requirements
  • Easy creation, control and maintenance of planning scenarios through predefined business content, sophisticated Excel integration and simply structured web front-end
  • End-to-end support for top-down and bottom-up planning
  • Clear planning processes and tasks using work flow support and status tracking
  • Functions for internal and external Group reporting
  • Full integration into the SAP NetWeaver platform and thus access to further applications such as SAP BW
  • Full access to and thus easy transfer of master and transaction data from SAP BW to SAP BPC
  • Simplified collaboration and increased planning quality through commenting and publishing tools
  • Functions for intercompany reconciliation as well as invoice-level reconciliation via SAP BusinessObjects Intercompany
  • Short implementation cycles and an acceleration of planning projects
  • Integration with Microsoft Office applications (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)

BPC Embedded - High performance for complex requirements

SAP BPC Embedded is particularly suitable for complex, cross-departmental planning solutions. While SAP BPC Standard focuses on flexibility and governance, SAP BPC Embedded focuses on integration with existing Business Warehouse (SAP BW) or S/4HANA data models: For this purpose, the necessary data is no longer generally replicated into the planning application. Instead, virtual data models that share the same master and transaction data can also be used. Technically, BPC Embedded uses the proven SAP BW Integrated Planning technology (BW-IP) and extends it with additional functions such as workflow and status management. SAP BPC Embedded thus combines the capabilities of SAP BPC and SAP BW-IP with those of SAP HANA to create a largely unified EPM suite. Therefore, SAP BPC Embedded requires the use of an SAP HANA database. In the embedded environment, the data model is managed centrally by IT. Cubes, aggregation levels, queries and planning functions are provided by them in the Business Warehouse for use in SAP BPC. This enables optimal data integration. Features of the embedded model at a glance:

  • High performance and integration thanks to stable platform (business warehouse) with in-memory functionality (SAP HANA) - even with large data volumes
  • Availability of native HANA functionalities through the Planning Application Kit
  • Full integration into SAP BW as well as tight SAP ERP integration
  • Performant data processing by using the SAP BW data model incl. Extractors
  • Nearly seamless connection to upstream and downstream systems
  • Extensive process support through provision of audit functionalities and use of the business process flow
  • Possibility to map comprehensive simulation scenarios
  • Support for numerous user-friendly front-end tools such as Analysis for Office and Lumira 2.0
  • Integration of existing BW-IP planning applications into SAP BPC
  • Direct usability, as no migration of BW-IP components is necessary
  • High user-friendliness thanks to state-of-the-art user interface

What are the prerequisites for using SAP BPC?

SAP BPC is a complex, powerful EPM solution that requires experience not only in implementation, but also in its continued use. There are a few points to consider here:

  • If you want to switch from SAP BPC Standard to SAP BPC Embedded, you have to rebuild your data model because the two variants of SAP BPC are modeled differently.
  • An SAP BPC Embedded requires the presence of an SAP S/4HANA ERP system. This makes it possible to create cost center planning with the SAP BPC planning tools and then save it in the ERP. In addition, the BPC in this variant can read data from S/4HANA in real time via HANA views. SAP-Analysis for Office or SAP Lumira 2.0 is normally used to create graphically supported reports.
  • You should note that with SAP BPC Embedded, the configuration is also carried out to a large extent via SAP BW. This means that, for example, all hierarchies for charts of accounts, consolidation group, but also planning functions are defined in the SAP BW environment and therefore knowledge in this area is necessary.
  • A company that still uses classic ERP systems such as S/4HANA ERP today could set up SAP BPC Embedded without having operational company codes in S/4HANA to begin with. It is possible to then integrate them step by step. However, it should be noted that the S/4HANA concept does not include a fully comprehensive enterprise data warehouse approach, as a maximum of 20 percent of the data volume of the embedded SAP BW is to be used for more advanced reporting areas (e.g., HR reporting). So anyone who wants to use a comprehensive enterprise data warehouse on an S/4HANA (such as cross-ERP sales, HR, supply chain reporting, etc.) will not be able to avoid the separate introduction of an SAP HANA-based "normal" business warehouse even in this environment with the corresponding volumes.

The best way to implement SAP BPC

A successful implementation of SAP BPC requires not only the commitment of the IT department, but also that of the business departments. Only the joint efforts enable the alignment of the application with the everyday problems of the employees and the related project goals.
That's why it's important to gain insight into different areas of expertise. This makes it possible to define the required functionalities, which is so important. These must be clearly articulated and provide full visibility of required financial data and analytics capabilities. This can only be achieved if you involve users from different departments, including employees from sales, procurement, production and human resources. Only together can they ensure that all required business processes are sufficiently defined and implemented in the BPC project.
Leave some data in place as well. Too many companies make the mistake of subjecting their data to rigorous and often painful ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes to migrate the data from the old system to the new BPC system. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that S/4HANA can process enormous amounts of data quickly. But this increases the resources, time, and cost to have the data available in the new system. Rather leave the existing data in the old system and focus on how to read and analyze it to get the financial insights you need.
Also, always keep in mind that you can't analyze data that you don't have. Therefore, do not place false hopes in SAP BPC. For example, if your company only records daily production numbers, you can't get insight into production numbers for an eight-hour shift as well as associated production losses. The data granularity required for this is simply not available in this case. Realigning business processes and focusing on change management can help significantly in overcoming this challenge.

SAP BPC - What you need to consider during implementation

Implementation without management support is urgent when implementing SAP BPC. If one department implements the solution on its own, there is a lack of acceptance by other departments. Therefore, it is best if the effort is carried "top down" - i.e., promoted by management and the meaning of the implementation is communicated to departments and employees. This helps to promote the use of the solution.
It is therefore essential to define what you want to achieve with SAP BPC before you start the project. After all, it's extremely difficult to hit a target that your employees either can't see or that is constantly changing. Think about project requirements and critical success factors up front.
Make one thing clear: Implementing SAP BPC requires in-depth know-how. Going it alone will generally not get you anywhere in connecting the various databases, integrating data, or using SAP BPC. Get such expert knowledge into your house. The investment pays off in the long term.

How does CALEO help you with SAP BPC?

CALEO is an international management consultancy specializing in Enterprise Performance Management and Business Intelligence. CALEO offers you the full SAP portfolio for Finance. All our experts not only have a deep understanding of your financial processes, but also support you with our in-depth SAP know-how in the context of the task at hand.
CALEO provides holistic consulting services for this purpose: From the analysis of your requirements and problems, to the implementation of the solution, to the operation of the application and the training of your staff. We believe that the guarantor of successful implementation for projects in the field of finance is excellent expertise and not mere manpower. In order to carry out a project successfully and with minimal costs, knowledge of group accounting is just as indispensable as specialized technical knowledge.
We are convinced that this goal can only be achieved by teams of consultants with different training. That is why CALEO employs mathematicians and physicists in addition to business economists and computer scientists. From day one at CALEO, all consultants undergo targeted and continuous training in order to be able to deal with all relevant business and technical issues. To underline our high quality standard, all employees take an exam to become a "certified SAP consultant".
Already with the foundation of CALEO we focused on SAP software, because we are convinced of the performance of the solutions. As a result, we became an SAP partner just a few years after the company was founded, and an SAP Silver Partner a short time later. CALEO has been an SAP Gold Partner since 2019.
The partnership enables us to have an intensive exchange. CALEO is involved in the testing phases of new software products to ensure that we are always up to date with the latest developments. This enables us to use the latest technologies and functionalities for the implementation of our customers' requirements at any time.
Are you interested in SAP Business Planning and Consolidation? Then contact us by phone or e-mail and we will be happy to show you the advantages and benefits of SAP BPC for your company. During an initial discussion or workshop, we will be happy to outline your individual requirements and introduce you to the functional scope of SAP BPC in one of our demo systems.

Contact & More Information about SAP BPC

Are you looking for a new solution for your business planning or consolidation? Do you want to use a unified solution for planning and consolidation? Are you considering whether SAP Business Planning and Consolidation is the right product for your needs?

Contact us by phone or email and we will be happy to show you the advantages and benefits of SAP Business Planning and Consolidation for your company During an initial discussion or workshop, we will be happy to record your individual requirements and present the functional scope of SAP BPC in one of our demo systems.