In the race towards digital transformation in the experience economy, SAP has put forward some serious contenders to help organisations come out tops. SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) and SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) (SAC) are both winning tools that enable users to extract value from business data, but which tool is right for you and your line of business?
In this article we will dissect both solutions to help you decide which one is better suited to your needs.
WHAT IS SAP BUSINESS PLANNING AND CONSOLIDATION?
The SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) application delivers planning, budgeting, forecasting, and financial consolidation capabilities, so you can easily adjust plans and forecasts, speed up budget and closing cycles, and ensure compliance with financial reporting standards.
SAP BPC Features
- On-premise or cloud deployment
- Integration of SAP and non-SAP data
- Real-time access to data in SAP S/4HANA
- Hybrid deployment with SAP Analytics Cloud
- Versions available for SAP BW/4HANA, SAP NetWeaver, or the Microsoft platform
SAP BPC Benefits
- Make better decisions
Base decisions on what-if analyses and scenario planning for better outcomes.
- Improve collaboration
Use collaboration tools to improve accountability and planning accuracy.
- Increase efficiency
Shrink cycle times, close the books faster, and align your plans with strategic goals.
ADVANTAGES OF SAP BPC COMPARED TO SAC
While SAP BPC enables you to implement both central and area-specific planning processes, it is more focused on financial aspects of a business. With SAC, the focus is more on flexible business-wide analysis. Therefore, BPC is not entirely suitable for central planning and analysis.
If you are trying to consolidate finances and get information centralised and standardised across platforms, SAP BPC is an excellent tool, and its mapping features allow you to normalise data. However, the programming is not simple and you will need an experienced developer and IT support to get the reports you need.
Additionally, where an on-premise SAP BPC system enables integrated consolidation and offers a plethora of customization possibilities, SAC cannot perform consolidation, and customization is limited because it is a cloud application.
WHAT IS SAP ANALYTICS CLOUD?
SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is designed to meet the needs of data visualisation in the cloud. It is delivered as an all-in-one, SaaS (Software as a Service) solution. It covers the needs of data visualisation, budget planning, and predictive analytics. Its main function is the creation of data reports.
With augmented analytics at its core, SAC helps everyone in your organisation make decisions with a new level of confidence – without IT intervention or data science training. Everyday business users can harness newly accessible artificial intelligence and machine learning mechanisms to develop deeper insights than ever before. And you can deliver them in context, in natural language.
Even users with no special data-mining or visualization skills can automatically discover and display patterns and trends previously hidden from view. Analytics takes a quantum leap toward the conversational, automated, and predictive, helping users arrive at smarter decisions faster.
SAP Analytics Cloud Objectives
- Enable all users to take full advantage of analytics;
- Expedite the process of developing insight to improve business outcomes;
- Eliminate human bias when uncovering and developing new insights;
- Anticipate what will happen next.
Sap Analytics Cloud Features
- Conversational queries that elicit best-practice visuals;
- Natural-language text generation to explain visualisations;
- Machine learning algorithms to detect key influencers of performance;
- Automated discovery of patterns, trends, and outliers in data sets;
- User-friendly, push-button functionality to build trusted and actionable predictions.
Sap Analytics Cloud Benefits
- Spend less time collecting data and designing displays and more time making confident decisions;
- Simplify access to critical information with natural-language processing;
- Surface previously buried insights automatically with machine learning;
- Empower analysts with convenient and accurate what-if simulation mechanisms;
- Explore contextual recommendations for next steps.
ADVANTAGES OF SAC COMPARED TO SAP BPC
Where SAP BPC appeals to users from the financial planning department, SAC also supports flexible planning scenarios with the added benefit of AI and machine learning to further aid the user in decision-making.
Compared to BPC, SAC can be more flexible in terms of ad-hoc reporting with additional learning functions such as Smart Discovery, helping users identify insights through machine learning.
Because SAC is a cloud-based solution and BPC typically an on-premise solution, implementation time for SAC is much shorter. Labour-intensive installation, programming and maintenance are not required for SAC, making it a much more user-friendly and out-of-the-box solution. With regular updates and patches from SAC automatically installed in the cloud, there are no hardware or maintenance costs involved. The same is not true for BPC, which also makes scaling much more difficult for BPC.
As you can see, both solutions have pros and cons and could be better suited for different business functions. What about a hybrid solution that incorporates both tools on one platform? It is possible to get the best of both worlds!
SAP BPC and SAC COMBINED
To integrate both tools is entirely possible with a live connection from SAC to BPC. In this way users can benefit from centralised planning from BPC and use the AI and machine learning capabilities of SAC together. The live connection enables you to access BPC via SAC and use data and functions from both tools. Transferring the metadata between the two systems makes this possible. SAC serves as the user interface and allows you to connect to BPC for more complex and customisable planning processes with the addition of SAC’s powerful AI and machine learning capabilities.
With this hybrid solution, you don’t need to decide which tool is best for you – you can benefit from both.