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BlazZabukovec
Advisor
Advisor


Last update: 8th of May, 2023

This blogs post creation was a joint effort of adem.baykal, nekvas75  and myself.

Introduction


The aim of the blog series is to explain the status of SAP Business Planning & Consolidation (SAP BPC) integration with SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) and our strategic direction. Furthermore, we want to show you how SAP Analytics Cloud can extend and provide a positive ROI for your current planning, forecasting and analysis scenarios and help you run an Intelligent Enterprise. This is going to create new opportunities for planning, forecasting and analysis and thus it will help you steer your organization even more effectively.

We also want to provide some guidance about the supported scenarios and high-level architectures and what can be done when it comes to modernising the existing planning & analysis solution of SAP BPC by adding SAC as:

  • a unified user experience for:

    • a planning (data entry) user interface,

    • a data analysis interface,



  • a planning extension,

  • a pure SAC scenario (complete move from SAP BPC).


There will be several blog posts in the series that will cover relevant topics about integration and supported workflows, so please stay tuned for the updates of this blog post with all relevant links to additional blogs of the series:

Why live connectivity with SAC matters?


In the context of SAP BPC and SAC scenario it means we can use one, single UX, for data analysis and planning/forecasting/simulation. Additionally, live connectivity brings advantages related to leveraging the existing investments into your SAP BW and SAP BPC environment. The explanation follows below.

Over the past years SAP Analytics Cloud has received some great features and there are still new features and improvements coming for the live connection. Many customers rely on SAP Analytics Cloud and experience the power of combining different analytics capabilities into ONE analytics platform. The live connectivity to SAP systems is one of the strongest features, why customers select SAC as THE analytics platform on top of their SAP data.


SAP Analytics Cloud can combine the flexibility of self-service with the ability to access governed data from IT in the cloud or from your on premise system like SAP BPC and SAP BW. Especially the live connectivity to SAP systems shows the power of the live connectivity and which benefits it provides to the end-users. But there are many more features customers can explore with SAP Analytics Cloud.



The live connectivity exists also for SAP BPC. You can create live data connections to SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP NetWeaver (SAP BPC for NetWeaver) and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP BW/4HANA (SAP BPC for BW/4HANA) embedded configuration systems using the Direct and Tunnel connection types. These are the same steps, how you would connect SAC to a SAP BW system (e.g. SAP BW/4HANA). For more details about how to set-up this connection, please refer to the latest SAC help.

In order to write data back to a BPC embedded configuration model from SAC, you will need a planning license (minimum SAP Analytics Cloud for planning, standard edition).
For more information, refer to Features by License Type for Planning Models.

What are the advantages of using the live connectivity?


What are the advantages using the live connectivity to SAP systems like SAP BW on HANA, SAP BW/4HANA, SAP BPC, SAP S/4HANA? Let’s answer this by focusing on SAP BW and the SAP BW queries (please note the same analogy can be applied to SAP HANA and SAP BPC live connections). These can be consumed with all their elements (e.g., structures, hierarchies, variables, variants, global key figures) including the underlying authorisations & roles. There is no need to change the SAP BW queries for special reporting purposes as we can leave them as is. This helps IT & Business Departments to consume all existing SAP BW content without changes – no data extraction, no data silos, just plug & play. This is a big advantage when it comes to the availability of the data to business  - NO data latency when accessing it directly with SAC. On the other side, with competitive solutions, the data is not available immediately, since it takes time to replicate/integrate and then also rebuild all the semantics and business logic. Additionally if customers decide to replicate data this introduces another layer of complexity into the landscape (+ another potential point of failure) and definitely implementation & maintenance costs go up (a lot!!!).


Once the power of this live connection is clearly addressed & understood, the next step is to establish a live connection from SAC to the SAP system and to start creating dashboards live on SAP BW (and also on top of SAP BPC, since the data is stored in the underlying SAP BW system) without the need to replicate or extract the data.




How easy it is to analyse planning data?


There is no easier way to explain this, but to simply show how it is done in just a 4 simple steps:

  1. Connect to SAP BPC system (we assume BPC system was already configured as mentioned in the help link above):

  2. Create SAC model based on the SAP BPC cube (Please note SAC does not store any transactional/fact data, nor master data. Only metadata is stored that describes the model - which dimensions & measures are part of it):

    …and if the underlying SAP BPC model contains the version characteristics/dimension (I guess it should), we can also map it to SAC’s versioning system that will be helpful when doing variance analysis (remember, SAC is IBCS/Hichert certified – no extra cost or license/subscription is required for this).Our BPC planning model is now ready for analysis (and data entry as well, since we used the BPC Live connection option; We could also use the BW Live connection for the SAP BPC “embedded” models and in that case model would be available for analysis only – read only).



  3. Create a Story (umbrella term in SAC for our analysis/dashboard/report app). Please note, that I’m not creating a full blown dashboard or a report. The idea is really to show you, how easy it is to work with the data of the underlying SAP BPC system when it comes to providing the insights to the relevant users.

    Build a bar chart with all relevant data – Gross Sales across Products and by Version (ACT, PLN) + apply desired sorting.


    Add variance to compare Actuals vs. Plan data.



  4. Share with users

    The next step is only to share the content with users (like content consumers for example) who would benefit from it. This can be done in different ways, here is just one simple workflow: ...and we are done! Easy, right?




Dedicated blog series for “Analyse your live data…”


The power of the live connectivity opens the door to many new opportunities. Please note that the same concepts that are valid for analysing your SAP BW live data with SAC, are also valid for analysing your SAP BPC data. For more details, please visit our dedicated blog series “Analyse your data live with SAP Analytics Cloud on SAP BW on HANA & SAP BW/4 HANA” created by adem.baykal with several parts showing all the powerful features of the live connectivity, best practices and many examples.


All parts have been updated in March 2023 to reflect the latest changes and product updates:

There are also other SAP Blogs showing what you can achieve using this live connectivity to address common needs of the business departments:

The live connectivity will receive many new features and one really useful feature will be the upcoming “Live SAP BW/SAP BPC – support for data point commenting”. It will provide end users with the possibility to use data point comments on a table or a comment widget when using a live connection (SAP BW and SAP BPC). This will improve collaboration across platforms by providing more context to data, sharing opinions, and facilitating better-informed decision-making. Please check the dedicated roadmap item for more details:

As mentioned above, this is also supported for a live connection to SAP BPC as well. Please consider the version dependencies of SAP BW on features of SAP Analytics Cloud when using the live connection. For more details on feature support, see SAP Note 2715030 ( https://launchpad.support.sap.com/#/notes/2715030 ).

Summary


SAP Analytics Cloud lays the foundation for fast, modular usage and can grow alongside your business. As a true cloud solution, SAP Analytics Cloud is convenient, secure, and scales to meet the needs of businesses of any size. It provides a lot of great features to address all business needs.

The growing popularity among SAP customers, who use SAC to analyze their SAP data, has contributed to the fact that the live interface is constantly being expanded and enhanced with many new innovative features. Business departments can answer many questions directly by creating their own dashboards & reports live on top of their SAP systems:


When you will enter your “live” journey with SAC on top of your SAP data?

Check out the BPC MOVE blog series and this further information to learn more about the transition from SAP BPC to SAP Analytics Cloud:

Ready to take the next step?


Start your cloud migration journey. Contact us at movebpc@sap.com to learn more about using SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning to migrate your SAP BPC investment to the Cloud and accelerate your business & financial transformation.