SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation (BPC)
SAP was founded in 1972 as a business applications company, long before it entered the BI market with the large acquisition of Business Objects 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.
In 1998 SAP launched SAP Business Warehouse (BW), a completely packaged BI solution designed to complement SAP ERP applications. To meet the growing BI needs of its customers, SAP acquired Business Objects (BO), OutlookSoft and Pilot Software back in 2007 and 2008. The portfolio of BI and analytics solutions, also called SAP BusinessObjects Analytics, encompasses solutions in the following categories: business intelligence, predictive analytics and performance management on-premises and in the cloud.
SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation (BPC), the on-premises planning product in SAP’s performance management portfolio, was originally developed by OutlookSoft and based on Microsoft SQL Server as a database platform. Since the acquisition, SAP has developed a second version for BW, and it now sells both versions. With release 10.1, BW-Integrated Planning (BW-IP) capabilities were introduced into BPC, SAP’s own former BW-based planning product. BPC 10.1 runs on BW on HANA and combines IP’s integration in BW with BPC’s ease of use. 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.) in a flexible manner. It is targeted at mid-size and large companies. According to SAP, more than 5,500 customers use BPC as a planning and financial consolidation product (approximately 60 percent with BW and 40 percent with Microsoft).
BI capabilities in the SAP BO Analytics portfolio are available in the SAP BusinessObjects Cloud package and SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise for on-premises deployments. SAP BusinessObjects Cloud is designed specifically for the cloud and combines the traditionally separate processes of data modeling, planning, reporting, visualization and predictive analytics into one solution aimed at business users. SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise is an on-premises BI offering which 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 (highly formatted standard reporting), SAP BusinessObjects Web Intelligence (ad hoc reporting and analysis), SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio (custom dashboards and individual guided BI applications), SAP BusinessObjects Analysis (multidimensional OLAP analysis) and SAP BusinessObjects Lumira (self-service data discovery and visual analysis).
User & Use Cases
Besides planning, BPC’s main use case by some distance is standard/enterprise reporting. Customers also use BPC for basic data analysis, dashboards/scorecards and ad hoc query. Surprisingly financial consolidation, an inherent feature of the product, is used by less than 50 percent of our sample.
SAP BPC is mainly used by mid-size and large companies in all industries. 59 percent of our sample of BPC customers come from large companies (with more than 2,500 employees) with a median of 100 users (with 65 of them using planning functionality), but the mean of 369 users (138 for planning) indicates there are also significantly larger implementations.
The fact that 67 percent of BPC users are planning users – compared to the survey average of 60 percent – indicates that BPC is essentially a planning tool rather than a BI 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)