SAP Business Planning and Consolidation
SAP was founded in 1972 as a business applications company, long before it entered the BI market with the acquisition of Business Objects (BO) in 2008. Today SAP is one of the largest applications vendors worldwide. Its original strategy was to view BI as an extension of its all-inclusive ERP offerings. Therefore, SAP launched SAP Business Warehouse (BW) in 1998, a completely packaged and plug-and-play BI solution designed to complement SAP ERP applications. Today, SAP is investing heavily in building SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), its next generation analytics platform which combines BI, planning and predictive analytics in one decision-making platform delivered as software as a service.
It also continues to provide on-premises solutions such as SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise and SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC). In the cloud analytics segment, SAP offers additional solutions such as SAP Digital Boardroom and SAP Analytics Hub (both built on SAP Analytics Cloud) and SAP S/4HANA Finance for Group Reporting.
BPC – SAP’s recommended product for those requiring an on-premises planning solution – is a core element in the SAP Analytics portfolio. The product was originally developed by OutlookSoft based on Microsoft SQL Server as a database platform. Since the acquisition, SAP has developed a second version for BW. Starting with release 10.1, capabilities from BW Integrated Planning (SAP’s own former BW-based planning product) have been introduced into BPC. BPC 10.1 runs on BW on HANA and combines IP’s integration in BW with BPC’s ease of use (especially in the Standard model). BPC is an integrated, Microsoft Excel and web-based solution for planning and financial consolidation that can be used to develop individual, workflow-based planning applications for various kinds of planning topics (sales, financials etc.). The latest version of the product (version 11) uses BW/4HANA as a basis, SAP’s next generation data warehousing offering, which was released in 2016.
SAP Analytics Cloud, SAP’s strategic cloud planning product, can be integrated with SAP BPC in a so-called hybrid scenario (aligning master data and transaction data) and used as a data entry front end on top of SAP BW systems. The product offers live and import connectivity. With its live connectivity to BPC 11, no data needs to be transferred to SAC. BPC Standard models can be integrated using the automated import/export capabilities of SAC.
Additional BI capabilities in the SAP Analytics portfolio are available via SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise for on-premises deployments. These are designed to work together with SAP Analytics Cloud. SAP BO incorporates various end-user tools with a moderate level of integration. The suite contains strong individual products as well as several clients for various types of analysis and capabilities for building custom guided BI applications that can be published to the web or mobile devices. The suite currently consists of the following products: SAP Crystal Reports, SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence, SAP Lumira and SAP Analysis for Office. Some products leverage the central Universe semantic layer to access data sources, while others access data sources directly. Organizations can access and manage both on-premises and cloud content from SAP and third parties with SAP Analytics Hub, part of SAP Analytics Cloud.
User & Use Cases
Besides planning, customers mainly use SAP BPC for standard/enterprise reporting (66 percent), basic data analysis (66 percent), ad hoc query and reporting (57 percent) and financial consolidation (50 percent). 32 percent of respondents plan to use it for financial consolidation and 30 percent for advanced analysis in the future. SAP BPC targets mid-sized companies and large corporations across all industries. 63 percent of our sample of SAP BPC customers come from large companies (more than 2,500 employees) with a median of 50 users (with 30 of them using planning functionality), but the mean of 369 users (255 for planning) indicates there are also some much larger implementations. 63 percent of SAP BPC users are planning users, which matches the survey average. This reflects the fact that SAP BPC is essentially an integrated planning and financial consolidation tool.
Current vs. planned use (besides planning)
Percentage of employees using SAP BPC
Planning users (as a percentage of all users)
Total number of users per company
Planning users per company
Company size (number of employees)
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