If the multitude of features that SAP Analytics Cloud’s (SAC) planning module has gotten you excited and you are wondering how you could begin using SAC as your enterprise planning tool, you are at the right place. Be it a green field planning implementation or a complement to your existing planning system, SAC has a flavor for each of your needs. With this blog, the second in the series, we step into the shoes of a global procurement wing of a global company and look at how planning can be implemented.
With no further ado, let’s get down to business.
Consider that the company has a chain of stores in multiple cities located in two different countries selling products in different lines of businesses like home care, consumer appliances and more. Even for a company of this small size, managing the geographical disparity, multiple currencies and the product variety will be difficult without a robust planning system in place. The company has department managers in place for each of the LOBs who decide on the amount of product to be procured. There is a budget set in place for each of the departments at the beginning of each year and it is up to the department manager to see to that the actual quantity procured will align with both the demand and to the budget. For this purpose, the quantity is periodically re-forecasted based on the latest actuals.
An overview of the dimensions available in the data set is as follows –
Reporting in SAC is typically done after the data is consumed in models. SAC can work in one of the two modes – Acquired mode, wherein the data from the source system is brought into the SAC system and Live mode, where the data resides in the source system itself. Writeback of planning data is available only till the level of planning model and is possible only in the acquired mode. The only exception being S4HANA system and BPC system wherein writeback to the source system is possible. The first step is the creation of a planning model for which any data set must meet a set of prerequisites.
- Once the data is acquired, the enable planning option must be checked at the time of creation of model. Models by default are analytic and not planning.
- One time-dimension of any granularity is a mandate for creating a planning model. Since a procurement model will have multiple date dimensions ranging from order date, shipping date to invoice date, we will need a SAC version above 2019.10 since which multiple date dimensions are supported. However, one default planning time dimension has to be specified which is order date in our case.
- At least one measure/ fact is mandatory for a planning model and all the measures are automatically grouped into account dimension. Our data set has various accounts like price, quantity and amount.
- A version dimension has to be specified to indicate measure categories like actuals, forecast etc., By default, if there is no dimension mapped as version, it will have automatically assign Actuals category for all data. Although there is budget data available, for simplicity, we only consider our actuals data for now.
Standard categories and their intended purpose in planning models are as follows –
- Actual — Actual quantity of good procured
- Budget – Budget allocated for product procurement usually fixed at the beginning of the year
- Planning – the strategic goal value planned to achieve.
- Forecast – re-adjusted planned values depending on actuals that occurred in previous time periods, based on other driving factors
- Rolling Forecast — when there is a range specified for how far back and forward in the data to look.
We have now mapped all the necessary dimensions and are ready to create a planning model. Once planning models are created, SAC also has the ability to enforce stringent data quality principles with options such as Data audit for tracking changes in data. Role-based security role restrictions and dimension level security are also available. Data locking can be specified at a dimension member level to prevent unauthorized write into a department’s data by a different manager.
All the above options are available under model preferences. As is the need in many financial use cases, the model also allows the specification of a custom fiscal period that is specific to the organization in addition to the calendar year/month time dimension. There is also the option to show multiple currencies concurrently for the same account with currency conversion capabilities. The blogs that entail will explore each of the options in detail.
Check out our next blog in this series here to learn more about Analytic Applications in SAP Analytics Cloud.