In 2018 we published a short article about the SAP EPM roadmap. It is now a year later and a lot has happened in software development. So it’s time for an update. In this article, we take a look at the SAP EPM roadmap 2019 in which SAP describes the recent developments, planned innovations and future direction for each domain or product group. What are the most significant changes compared to last year and why is that interesting for your organization?
SAP EPM Roadmap in two parts
First of all, this year the EPM roadmap has been split into two different documents, one for BPC (Within the BPC roadmap this year, a third EPM solution is explicitly mentioned: Group Reporting) and one for Analytics Cloud (SAC). Even though they have been split, SAP is focusing even more emphatically on the integration between the two solutions under the term “hybrid planning.” It was already named last year as one of the most critical investment areas, and that is not different now. Hybrid planning means the use of BPC for corporate planning (and consolidation), supplemented with the advanced planning and dashboarding functions of SAC. The majority of users only work in the cloud with SAC, and only a small group uses BPC for really complex issues. Want to know more about hybrid planning? Then view one of our earlier webinars (Dutch) that show you how the solutions can work together.
What else strikes us in the SAP EPM Roadmap this year?
In addition to this combined focus on Hybrid Planning, SAP provides more details in the roadmaps about what they intend to do with both solutions. Let us start with the most important conclusion that we can draw: last year’s line generally continues, and there are not many surprises.
>For example, we see that there are no more innovations planned for BPC 10.1 Netweaver, this solution is seen as mature and fully developed. There are also limited developments planned for the other BPC variants; the focus for innovation is on SAC and Group Reporting.
> Not including consolidation options in SAC will also be continued. SAC remains the solution for planning and BI; for consolidation, you have the choice between BPC and Group Reporting.
> More emphasis is placed on one solution per “use case.” Whereas this could already be read between the lines last year, SAP now basically gives two choices for planning: SAC for more “stand-alone” planning, entirely in the cloud, or BPC (10.1 Optimized / 11) as a more integrated on-premise solution. And two options for consolidation; Group Reporting at companies with S/4HANA or a S/4HANA roadmap. And BPC 11 for companies that want a “stand-alone” consolidation solution that can be used with multiple data sources.
SAP Analytics Cloud
Most improvements and innovations clearly will take place in the area of SAC. All developments planned last year are now available, and the solution is becoming more mature in terms of planning. The emphasis in the coming period is on the development of SAC in the following areas:
- Integration and development of live data connections with other SAP solutions such as HANA, BW, and BPC.
- Improvement and expansion of planning functionalities such as advanced formulas, allocations and scenario comparisons.
SAP Business Planning & Consolidation
SAP BPC remains the preferred choice for both planning and consolidation when an on-premise solution is required. BPC is also the only solution that can sufficiently support both processes. For the future period, there are mainly smaller improvements planned that focus primarily on user-friendliness and technical integration. From 2020 all new developments are expected through the integration with SAC and not within the solution itself.
Group Reporting is the third EPM solution mentioned as a future-proof choice. This relatively new consolidation solution integrates into S/4HANA (Cloud), which makes it particularly suitable for (future) users of S/4HANA. Just like SAC, Group Reporting is still developing. At the moment it offers fewer options than BPC, but the developments are going fast.
What does the SAP EPM Roadmap mean for you?
It is, of course, impossible to give a generic answer to this question. It depends entirely on the current situation such as the current EPM solution(s) and IT landscape, but also the desired business and IT processes. This information provides a clear direction with which you as an organization can work. For example, if you are looking for a new consolidation solution, it does not seem logical to go for BPC 10.1NW. And depending on the desired timelines, Group Reporting could be reasonable. If you are looking for a planning solution, it is increasingly worth considering SAC rather than BPC. It becomes more complicated when you currently have older SAP solutions that need to be replaced or when you are looking for a solution for both planning and consolidation. And suppose you have S/4HANA running, what are the advantages and disadvantages of Group Reporting compared to BPC 10.1 Optimized? Although the number of different solutions is decreasing, these types of cases need consideration per situation. Finext can help you gain insight into what is the best way forward for your situation. Together with the technical expertise of Swap Support and knowledge about information architecture at Plainwater, we can provide you with end to end service.
Want to know more?
In the upcoming months, we will organize several knowledge sessions and webinars about the different SAP solutions. Look here for the agenda (Dutch) with these events. You can watch previous webinars here.
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