SAP BPC 11.0 Demo Series: Part 1 – Budget Initialization

SAP BPC 11.0 on BW/4HANA is considered to be a next generation planning application that provides business users with streamlined access to vital information.

The below video, which is Part 1 of our six-part SAP BPC 11.0 demo series will focus on budget initialization. This includes an introduction to the Web & Excel user interfaces, copy versions, top-down allocations, HR budgeting driver, and work status and business process flows.

A transcript is also included.

If you would like more information on how SAP BPC 11.0 can help streamline your business, contact TruQua today at info@truqua.com to learn how.

Web & Excel User Interfaces

We will start by looking at the budget initialization process and BPC web user interface from the viewpoint of a corporate planner who will be responsible for initializing the budget. On the left side of the screen, you can see the activities that this planner needs to complete and on the right side of the screen displays a series of charts depicting high level financial analysis. Our example below is displaying product line profitability and revenue details.

 

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

Copy Versions

To move into the corporate planning process, open up the activity at the corporate level on the left side under My Activities Timeline. This will show you the budget initiation activity. The business process flow or BPF within BPC, lays out specific activities that will need to be completed. This should help reduce any training costs for new users as they adopt BPC as a budgeting tool.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

A series of activities can now be completed. In this example we will look at creating a new budget. Whether you are copying from a prior version of the budget or copying actuals from the prior year’s forecast, this activity can be done directly from the end-user interface. This will open up a series of dialogues where you can select a category. In this case, we have selected version one of the budget. You can copy from that source to the destination of budget version two. You will also have to opportunity to select from other prompts, depending on your needs.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

When this process is complete, you can then select to see a version comparison report. In this case the report is showing that version two is the same as version one, which we would expect. As you work through a series of further activities, version two will make updates that bring it closer to a set of corporate targets.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

In this report, we will see comparisons of different budget versions across the P&L. In our example, we have just copied into budget version two and our source is budget version one. Therefore it makes sense that the current variance between these two is zero. You will also see a target in this view, set as a very high-level top-down budgeting process. Within BPC this will be allocated from the corporate level down to the individual business units, companies, and product lines, and through individual departments for the expense budget.

Top-Down Allocations

If you want to change your targets, these can be set again at a very high corporate level. In this example we have our full year revenue, direct costs, and so on. If you wanted to increase your net revenue and direct costs by 5% and use the weight function to increase by 5%, the uplift will be applied across your targets in the template.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

You will then save that data back to the BPC server where it will perform this allocation. Select from a couple prompts for the year to allocate, and that process now is executed on the server from the total corporate level down to the budgeting unit level. To view the adjustment in net revenue, switch back to your version comparison report and refresh. You will now see the adjusted net revenue number. Not only has net revenue increased, but also gross revenue and more throughout the P&L.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

The Activity section on the left side of the screen brings BPC into the Excel user interface, showing users the activities they need to perform. This speeds up the navigation process and makes it very easy to adopt a solution while enforcing a standard process by which users complete their activities. In the context section at the top you can navigate through the data model. You will also find the EPM toolbar with basic features of BPC that are used to access the capabilities of the system.

HR Budgeting Driver

Navigating back to your web user interface, you will find that the list of activities here corresponds to what you see in Excel. These are activities that are performed at the corporate level, where the human capital rates are used in HR or compensation planning as a series of drivers.

The basic model shown in BPC for HR planning includes a couple of components. These drivers are established at a centralized, corporate level by the Finance or HR Department. You will see a set of percentage-based assumptions for certain fringe benefits like health insurance, dental insurance, and more. These are set for each of the positions within your compensation planning model, whether it’s a VP level, director, or supervisor. Across the columns, you will find your different business units and regions where the values need to change by location.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

You can plan expenses, such as car allowances or training planned at a dollar value per headcount. You will also be able to complete a HR planning model that includes salary caps. For example, a salary up to 75,000 would incur certain FICA or Social Security benefit expenses, but anything above that cap would not be subject to the fringe benefit. With these drivers all established centrally, the individual department heads or cost center owners would simply plan the salaries and the headcount for their own department with the fringe benefit calculations flowing through directly.

Work Status and Business Process Flows

The corporate level initialization of the budget is now complete and you can change the status to reflect this under the Activity section on the left. Returning back to your list of activities, you can view the status of the annual budget, tracking the updates from individual business units as they are completed.

SAP Business Planning and Consolidation

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Transforming the User Experience with SAP BPC 11.0

Authored by:
Marius Berner, TruQua Enterprises
Andrew Xue, TruQua Enterprises
Geoffrey Tang, TruQua Enterprises
Eric Weine, TruQua Enterprises
JS Irick, TruQua Enterprises

Introduction:
SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) 11.0 for BW/4HANA reimagines the business end user experience, providing business users streamlined access to their critical information and process.  The user interface has been updated according to SAP Fiori design principles, providing role and acti­vity-based functionality, while continuing SAP BPC’s legacy as a powerful and flexible enterprise planning solution. The revamped landing page dashboard, updated menus, and process optimized navigation are a few examples of the significant improvements that allow users to spend more time on Analytics and less time on reporting. This front-end redesign, paired with more seamless integration capabilities with SAP Analytics Cloud and excel reporting tools, puts the user’s critical data and processes front and center.

This blog examines the most impactful user experience changes that SAP BPC 11.0 brings, in subsequent posts, we will examine the integration, modeling and functional improvements in SAP BPC 11.0.

“A Day in the Life”

Our first look at SAP BPC 11.0 will be through the eyes of Truman Quade. Truman is the North American Sales Manager for Ty’s Edibles Inc., a company which packages and sells meat products to various grocers and restaurants. The company’s sales forecasts are focused around three key products: beef, pork, and chicken. Every month, Truman’s team is responsible for generating the North American Sales forecasts.

After logging into SAP BPC 11.0, Truman is presented with the SAP BPC 11.0 home page. On the home page, Truman can see a list of any pending activities that he needs to complete.

If the first task of the monthly process is to refresh sales actuals for the most recently closed period, Truman will get a reminder in his Activities Timeline to run a package, which then triggers the data update in BPC. The Activities Timeline directly links to the process and reports necessary, and provides an easier way to interact with business process flows.

SAP BPC 11.0’s landing page acts as a dashboard for Truman, who can pin critical charts and KPIs directly to the front page. This provides immediate access to the relevant data that Truman needs to manage his team. In this case, he has created and pinned a bar chart which allows him to better monitor and track his sales numbers.

Seeing an unexpected decline in the July Sales, Truman navigates to the “Favorites” section of the home page to access the sales report and drill down on the BPC data to identify where the discrepancy is.

Noticing an unexpected dip in beef sales during the summer barbeque season, Truman notifies the distribution and trade promotion teams to determine the best strategy for getting beef sales back on track.

Next Truman prepares to generate the sales forecast for the remainder of the year.  The Activity Pane makes it simple to go directly to the necessary processes:

Once the task of loading new sales figures is complete, Truman marks the activity as complete.  The next item appears on the SAP BPC 11.0 Activities Timeline: updating the North America forecast  for the remainder of the year.  Clicking on the activity on his home page will open an input schedule in Excel which he can use to update the projected sales volumes and planned prices for each product in each country in the region.

Truman saves a web version of these input schedules to his Favorites list. This will be useful in the event that he needs to go back and modify the forecast later based on the upcoming discussions with the distribution and trade promotion teams.

In order to more closely monitor the sales numbers, Truman adds a chart to break out sales volumes and revenue to his home page.  This allows him to easily monitor which countries are selling the most product and producing the most revenue, and to understand whether a price increase or decrease is warranted for a given area.

Notable Features of SAP BPC 11.0 on BW/4HANA

As highlighted above, there are several key features which make up the improved SAP BPC 11.0 user experience.

  1. Customizing the Home Page

The home page consists of:

  • A “Favorites” menu, where the user can add links to quickly access various BPC web screens that they may need to reuse frequently in their daily tasks
  • An “Activities Timeline”, which reminds the user of any tasks assigned to them with a deadline attached, and provides the links to complete them.
  • Any BPC web charts or reports that the user has pinned for instant viewing upon opening their Home Page

The user can resize and rearrange these windows to suit their preferences.

2. Favorites Links:

User can add web reports or any BPC11.0 screen to their “Favorites” list.  On each page of the BPC11 web client,  the user simply clicks on the star in the upper right corner of the page.  The user is then able to access that screen directly from their home page.

Once this is done, the user should be able to link directly to that screen from their Home Page.

3. Pinning Web Charts

To create a web chart in SAP BPC 11.0, the user can go to the “Library” screen (the link can be saved to their Favorites) and create a new worksheet that is defined as a Web Chart. This can be built to visualize the data as a bar chart, line graph, or pie chart.

A Web Chart can be pinned to the user’s home page directly by using the thumbtack button in the upper right of the page (pictured below).

Once this is done the chart becomes available for immediate viewing in the user’s home page; they check the data instantly without opening any external web or EPM links, and can visualize their data in the way that is most relevant to their job role.

4. Improved Navigation

In addition to customizing the home page, SAP BPC 11.0 introduces other improvements to the navigation that was seen in previous versions:

  • Hamburger menu: this allows the user to navigate to any of the screens in the SAP BPC 11.0 web client.

This menu remains hidden from view until the user expands it out by clicking the button, allowing them to allocate more screen space towards customizing their home page.

Additionally, the menu allows the user to instantly drill down to the subsequent child pages for each web screen; this improves the design by minimizing the time and the number of clicks it takes to get to their final destination. In the above screenshot, the user can navigate from the Home Page to the Journals page in one click, whereas in previous versions they would have to click through and load multiple pages (“Home”->”Consolidation”->”Journals”). This design also reduces instances of backtracking due to selecting an incorrect parent page.

  • “Breadcrumb” path navigation:

In addition to navigating directly from the Home Page to the bottom of the desired path, SAP BPC 11.0 has also introduced a “breadcrumb” folder path design to easily navigate back through each step of a path.

For example, when looking at a specific BPF activity, the user can use the breadcrumb path to click back to the BPF definition (“Sales Forecast”) or even back to the list of BPFs to select a new one to view/update (“Process Templates”).

5. SAP Fiori based Design

SAP BPC 11.0 was built using SAP Fiori design principles, providing a look and feel that is consistent with modern SAP applications and a focus on providing a visually pleasing tool that is simple and intuitive to the end user.

Conclusion:

With a focus on providing more efficient and more customized navigation options, SAP BPC 11.0 delivers several significant UX improvements upon previous versions. These improvements allow previously under-utilized functionality, such as web reports and business process flows to be better utilized in the planning process. The look and feel has been designed to be consistent with modern SAP applications, and the overall result is a planning solution that is focused on creating a more simplified and easy-to-use solution for the end user.