One thing is good, the users know which versions of their consolidation products they want to keep alive. If this will happen, what consequences will this have to users and to the market. I have put my experience of S4/HANA projects together with my experience as SAP consultant and partner. I am personally not happy with the development in the SAP portfolio, surely nobody cares. Because of not growing up in the SAP universe, I am maybe more critical. Seeing how bad the acquisitions of Outlooksoft and Cartesis were treated, how many deals as a partner were lost, because of wrong positioning, changing from FC to BPC, instead of offering the best for the right client. Misunderstanding the best client profile for each solution. Generally I saw a big chance in having solutions for different consolidation cultures:
- SEM BCS for fully SAP driven clients with a separate consolidation department, Group Reporting as the replacement
- BO FC (Cartesis) for integrated internal and external reporting, powerfull, mature, almost no scripting, fast, reliable and transparent
- BPC for more American way of consolidation, less detail, focus on cashflow, KPI´s, p&l, fast easy data entry, full excel driven with planning, reporting and integrated into ECC 6.0 and S4
SAP was never able to position this tools correctly and successful
Let´s have a look what is going in the SAP environment. Last year SAP brought out a new software called “Group Reporting”. Formerly known as cloud consolidation. Which will be available as Group Reporting on premise (local installation) or as cloud version with different roadmaps.
The marketing papers of SAP explain´s that SAP has brought the good things together from FC, BPC, ECCS, SEM-BCS. How did this happen?
The owners of SAP (everybody who has shares) want a growth in the SAP market share value, it is obvious that software vendor shares are higher rated from the analyst, if the vendor is offering cloud solutions.
Result of this:
- every cloud enabled product is pushed in the development
- resources from non cloud solutions were massively reduced
- the development has put 2 years ago the old ECCS code as part of the cloud consolidation solution into the cloud
- SAP is still a German company, were the splitt of controlling and accounting is quite common in clients finance department
The outcome we see now:
- Again 2 solutions for planning and consolidation on group level
- The idea to consolidate transactions and do group consolidation based on accounting standard is back
- Walldorf does not understand the global need of more controlling enabled consolidation engines
- One of the founders of SAP said, “If i want to make innovations, I not make it in Waldorf”
- The people at SAP in Walldorf have never excepted the bought solutions like FC or BPC. They only sucked the new collegues for their own personal needs, of keeping SEM BCS and ECCS alive in Group Reporting
Typically in the legal consolidation domain, SAP has not learned from the last 30 years, when they lost a lot of clients to vendors like Hyperion, Tagetik, IBM etc. Who offered solutions to either full fill controlling and accounting needs. And by the way have reporting solution which are integrated, flexible and fast. We will see, if the “unfinished death star” can shoot or not.
The problem is, that:
- A high amount of clients have implemented SAP BPC, as told, in S4/HANA in the last 2-3 years. Real time consolidation is stopped by the development. Why?
- They stopped to enhance the BPC optimized for S4/HANA with Version 10.1.
- BPC on BW4/Hana goes a different roadmap is already in Version 11.0 available and 12 is announced. If I see the landscape of S4/HANA and still the need of having Bw4/HANA with BPC 11.0 inside, a very fast standalone planning, reporting and consolidation solution (nobody really wants to sell, maybe again misunderstood). A good tool for a workaround, if the promised total integration of S4/HANA doesn´t work. Why not use this database/ enterprise performance management tool? In one case SAP CO and FI in S4/HANA were not able to deliver a profit on segments, because of missing data detail. With SAP BPC on BW4/HANA no problem, but the client didn´t licensed the BW4/HANA.
- SAP analytics cloud is not fully ready to go-live. Using Lumira in the meantime can be a solution.
- SAP development wants to get rid of the BW layer and the DSO technology. But Group reporting is using this technology ???? In a meeting the IT department said: “you can not use BPC standard, we don´t want DSO”, but as I know Group Reporting uses DSO and not ADSO…. ???
- A classical SAP client in Germany, in the DSAG universe, BW as DATA Warehouse, BEX analyzer etc. as reporting engines, is fully happy with BW4/HANA, old CO and FI stuff is still working in S4, period “0” in consolidation for opening values, periodic consolidation (no ctd), faster then BW, SAP delivers the content for consolidation, they can make changes to rules, and still updates. But what will happen to the users, who have a fast integrated reporting and planning solution?
- In Planning processes the modern approach goes away from detailed, slow, many resources blocking, planing approach. The modern planning solution takes the actuals, move them forward by drivers, or by a system, using informations about market and clients, and it calculates the estimate automatically. Only new markets, products etc. are planned manually. I need a fast snapshot of the actuals and a fast planning
Do I need an integrated system with two products, one for consolidation and one for planning or one for both
In Planning processes the modern approach goes away from detailed, slow, many resources blocking, planing approach. The modern planning solution takes the actuals, move them forward by drivers, or by a system, using informations about market and clients, and it calculates the estimate automatically. Only new markets, products etc. are planned manually. I need a fast snapshot of the actuals and a fast planning engine, with easy to maintain simulations, rules etc.
In consolidation, the clients who make “fast close”, don´t have time to look into transactions, accounting details. They need fast and unified processes to consolidate a cashflow, p&l and balance sheet in 5 days. Does is make sense:
Not to use Group Reporting, Analytics Cloud and BPC?
Can it be, for some clients, better to use BPC for BW4/Hana?
By the way, some friends of mine have successfully implemented Real time consolidation in S4/HANA projects.
- The risk is, that SAP falls back in the Enterprise Performance Management market, clients can be unhappy, who never used BW
- They open again the clients for competitors, who don´t want two solutions, or even three (BPC, SAC, Group Reporting).
- The queries design as SAP idea is still needed in S4/HANA, I don´t think this is user friendly and self service BI
- Having the same situation like before 2007, user unfriendly, no harmonised solution, barriers between controlling and accounting.
- the promised total integration is for several clients far away. if you are no able to integrate all transactions details into SAP FI (ACDOC A) you will not drill down from group reporting into the source data
- If client need to cut out data details, because FI and CO are not capable or getting too slow, the integration is gone. A data ware house in BW4/Hana can be a workaround, with BPC on top and consuming the S4/Hana data. As architects in S4 prefers the Bw4/HANA as archive system, why not using for planning and consolidation?
- Group Reporting means:
- periodic consolidation (does everybody like this)
- period “0” means only one opening for a whole year?
- only one trigger per account for eliminations..
- integration of non sap entities?
- is the standard of consolidation rules fitting, if not, how can I get the standard out?
I am open to discuss and change my opinion about the development. In the german market, Group Reporting will be the Standard. Will it be the only SAP solution in future?