SAP Analytics Cloud is SAP’s cloud-based analytical tool with a wide range of capabilities. SAP brings its extensive enterprise analytics experience to bear in SAC by bringing forth an enterprise-level cloud-based analytics platform that caters to multiple user groups with a simple UI with gentle learning.
In this series of blogs, we will be looking at the planning capabilities of SAC in particular. The current BI market has a plethora of planning tools both on-premise and cloud-based but, in most cases, the planning tools are for specific capabilities and most of the planning tools are built to support planning capabilities (as expected) and do not cater to analytical needs. This often leads to different tools being used for analytics and planning and along with it, multiple data sets and the usual interoperability issues that come with it.
This works well when there is a lot of multivariate planning that needs to be done and often, the planning systems are set up to perform a lot of disaggregation and aggregation on various levels depending on a lot of configuration. This feature of planning tools also makes them hard for the high-level planner who just wants to plan at a higher level and simulate business outcomes rather than develop a fully-fledged plan.
For this purpose, we can classify the planning functions at a high level with some examples.
- A financial planner who has to forecast the annual plan for the company, more often at an SKU level or Business Line level, which involves variables like Production capacity, material cost, logistics cost, etc.
- A high-level planner who wants to simulate based on macro planning variables
This comes to another Segway where we have 2 kinds of levers that can be used for planning – Macro and Micro. A Macro variable would be something that affects the entirety of the business, this could be things like Exchange rates, Trade tariffs, Cost of Logistics, Balancing plant output, etc. These are variables that are high level and have a deep impact on planning across multiple levels. A micro variable would be something that is specific to the enterprise or plant-like cost of utilities, cost of logistics to move to a warehouse, trucking costs, labor costs, etc.
In a rapidly changing business environment, it is very important to be able to understand the impact of these macro variables because they can change quickly, and business plans have to be changed accordingly. This would involve questions like – How will my profitability change of exchange rates went up b 5%, If there is a trade tariff of 20% what should be my manufacturing mix?
Unfortunately, in most cases, these variables are baked into the planning logic that simulations of any specific variables would still involve a lot of changes in the planning model to simulate the outcome. As a result, the business often relies on excel sheets to simulate using thumb rules rather than try and change the planning model since these are in most cases one-off scenarios.
For this reason, we have SAC Planning which gives you a mix of both. In SAC Planning, you can do high-level planning and simulate your forecasts and also have the capability to push down the disaggregation if you are using SAP’s Business Planning and Consolidation.
In this case, SAC allows for two options:
- Import data from SAP BPC (Netweaver and Microsoft) into SAC and report on the same by mapping the dimensions, and then use SAC for planning instead of BPC and write back data to BPC from SAC
- Run predictive analysis on BPC data locally within SAC to identify trends and simulations and write back if necessary.
- The other advantage is that once the BPC data is imported into SAC, you can combine it with other data models to develop your plan further.
These use cases are referred to as Hybrid Planning. We will look into these Hybrid Planning use cases in the subsequent blog. SAP Analytics Cloud has all the analytics capabilities which include Business Intelligence (BI), planning and predictive analytics in a single solution. SAC has a lot of features available along with planning features which can be referred to as SAC – Planning. The User Interface for SAC is user-friendly and has a very low learning curve for users to get acquainted with it.
SAP being an enterprise-focused company has built the SAP Analytics Cloud as a platform for all your analytical needs and not just as a visualization platform. As a result, it supports a multitude of functions like Planning, Predictive, Analytics, etc.
Reach out to our team here to know more about SAP Analytics Cloud other offerings from Visual BI Solutions.