How does SAP Analytics Cloud Planning compare to SAP BPC in terms of their capabilities and features?

Hello,

My name is Filippo Naggi and I work at NIMBL as a Solution Architect specializing in SAP Financial Planning. My primary role is to provide support to Finance Teams, leveraging the latest cutting-edge technologies developed by SAP.

I’ve worked with BPC since the very beginning when Outlooksoft was acquired from SAP and Outlooksoft CPM was rebranded as SAP BPC 5.0. in It was 2007.
After that SAP worked a lot to improve and integrate BPC in the entire SAP landscape.
For a few years, I designed and delivered SAP Planning solutions based on SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning, and I led lead migrations from SAP BPC to SAC.

In this blog, I want to compare functionalities between BPC and SAC and try to elaborate on my opinion: that SAC is better than BPC.

This is the SAP roadmap strategy for Planning:

Figure 1: SAP Strategy for Planning

 

Let’s jump into the functionalities.

 

Planning and Reporting

Figure 2: the SAC Plugin

 

BPC report can be either developed with the classic EPM plugin or leverage the new Analysis for Office.
The EPM plugin will be deprecated soon or later, and this is already a reason to migrate to SAC which is using only the plugins in which SAP is going to invest (AfO and SAC plugin)

SAC reports can be either for the web or for Excel.
The web ones are leveraging the sparkling web interface of SAC.
This new generation interface runs into our web browsers with zero-footprint installation requirements and can be customized with Analytics ApplicationΒ  (using javascript magics).
On top of this, these reports can be accessed from Mobile using the smartphone SAC application with zero additional development cost.

So looks that switching to SAC is a no-brainer decision: powerful web interface, new excel plugin, and javascript capabilities for customization.

 

Calculation

Figure 3: the data action screen and the Advanced Formulas script editor

 

BPC has the artillery for static calculations: the HANA version can leverage ABAP and the MS version can leverage T-SQL. Both can leverage Script Logic too.
During my almost 20 years career with BPC, I created incredibly complex calculations both with ABAP and SQL in all the Business domains: allocation, sales, variance, and account reconciliation.
SAC calculations are performed with advanced formulas and data action. This language is an enhanced version of Script Logic.
So far I was able to leverage Advanced Formulas to satisfy any Business needs.
My feeling remains that ABAP and SQL are more powerful that Advanced Formulas, but I do not have any case to prove it.

Regarding Formulas, there is a game-changer coming with SAC: Exception Aggregations.
In BPC was (almost) not possible to perform calculations at the leaf level and aggregate.
With the new SAC Formula engine, is possible to define which exception aggregation performs, and so it is also possible to perform calculations at the leaf level and then aggregate.

Regarding standard Allocation, BPC has an allocation engine.
A very similar engine is coming with SAC, so in this case, we are not losing any standard functionality neither we are gaining.

One more time, I see SAC as the winner.
Translating your calculation to Advanced Formula and leveraging the new Formula engine is a big win.
For lift-and-shift projects just try to be careful: a deep dive into the ABAP/SQL calculations will help to get rid of the calculation fog.

 

Integration


Figure 4 – The integration screen

 

BPC for HANA is integrated into HANA, but we need to move data from HANA structures to BPC Models.
SAC is integrated with HANA with CDS views: one click, one mapping, and you can have all the HANA data available in SAC.
Moreover, SAC will be natively model-built on top of DWC: this means that SAC Models will be DWC Models.
The big bonus of SAC: the retraction seamless integration with HANA.
I tested this and this works smoothly: SAC can save data on ACDOCP without any customization.

One more time, SAC is the way.

 

Security

Figure 5 – the Access and Privacy screen with the new Model Data Privacy feature to activate Matrix Security

 

Β 

BPC uses a Linear Security model: security is defined by the dimensions of member ids.

SAC adopted a Matrix Security Model: it is possible to specify a combination of members to grant or revoke access to data.

Β 

The possibility to use Matrix security is a big plus, one more this is a SAC out-of-the-box huge improvement.

 

Coolness

Figure 6 – The Predictive Scenarios screen, with the three out-of-the-box no-code predictive algorithms

 

SAC comes with an embedded Prediction engine, which can leverage Time Series, Classification, and Regression Models.
Delivering prediction together with the planning model will become more and more common: SAC can do that without writing a single line of code.
SAC Analytics Application is a javascript-based application that can be deeply customized. It is possible to deliver highly customized dashboards using just SAC.
In the case of a Planning Application that needs a massive roll-out, SAC Analytics Application can tie the application to your user, minimizing or even removing training needs.

Β 

If you enjoy this article, please Like it.

For any questions, feel free to post a comment below or reach me using LinkedIn.

 

I would thank you Thuyanh Astbury for helping with the article’s review.

Filippo

 

Original Article:
https://blogs.sap.com/2023/03/10/how-does-sap-analytics-cloud-planning-compare-to-sap-bpc-in-terms-of-their-capabilities-and-features/

ASK SAP EXPERTS ONLINE
Related blogs

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here