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While EPM10 is the most significant release that SAP has made from the day The specified item was not found. ,  I often get asked what are those key use cases that has been addressed in EPM 10. Here is my attempt to crack some top use cases that brings significant value from SAP Business Objects Enterprise Performance Management 10.0 release.

  1. Our top exec own ipads – manage strategy on the move
  2. We all love Excel, but there are too many of them – unify them
  3. Need budgeting and consolidation rolled out to 10K+ users across 100 locations
  4. Its takes a while to report financials to stakeholders and what’s this XBRL
  5. Our setup is diversified, hard to get consistency on the financial notes
  6. Our Legal consolidation is too complex and needs effective monitoring
  7. Not interested in just analysis of output costs, need drill down to inputs
  8. This variance analysis kills lot of my time - need some quick indicators
  9. Would like to deep dive into GL to analyze variance by transaction
  10. What’s this TCO, I am finance, can you explain

Let me explain this a bit further:

1.       Our top exec owns ipads – manage strategy on the move

With SAP Business Objects Strategy Management 10.0, the entire strategy can be managed from ipad or blackberry playbook, which has become the carry around notebook that every Executive or C-Level person carries these days. Solution that manages Strategy needs to support these cool mobile devices, to drive value.

2.       We all love Excel, but there are too many of them – unify them

When it comes to planning, budgeting, forecasting, financial reporting or Cost/Profitability analysis, there is no better tool to the business users than Microsoft Excel. So the users continue to use their favorite Excel extensively.  But the challenge and the most time consuming task they have is to bring all the data manually to Excel from different modeling engines, whether it’s the planning engine or consolidation application or the costing system. The big ask here is, I want that familiar excel, but I would like to unify all the data into the same excel spreadsheet – get single version of truth.

With SAP Business Objects EPM 10.0, we have a seamless EPM addin for Microsoft Office, that allows all of this information from different applications like Planning and Consolidation, Financial Consolidation, Profitability and Cost Management, Strategy Management pulled into a single spreadsheet, that would make the information unified to bring the value of great integrated Performance management, though keeping the power of individual applications that are purpose built for each of the business process and complex calculation engine.

 

3.       Need budgeting and consolidation rolled out to 10K+ users across 100 locations

Lot of the big companies run their budget cycles or consolidation process with several thousand users. Especially for the bottom up planning, where they would like every manager to come in and submit their plans, they need an easy looking web based user interface, that the business users are familiar with, and IT does not want client addin installed in each of the users machine (a.k.a. they would like a zero foot print client). Its also important that these interface should be rolled out with minimal training, so the intuitive user interface should allow the users to self learn on their own very quickly.

New Web 2.0 interface of SAP Business Objects EPM 10.0 allows for completely new look, very intuitive and enjoyable experience for the gen Y who are exposed to more google/facebook like user interface.  Also the interface roll out can be managed centrally without having to install anything on the client machines of the users.

 

4.       Its takes a while to report financials to stakeholders and what’s this XBRL

Many companies have run some projects to improve their closing cycles, through better GL, ERP and Consolidation systems. But often they still land up taking a while to get the financial results published to their final stakeholders due to the collaboration and document management issues they face during the mere final  preparation of the annual financial statements. This is often referred to as Run Better covering the ‘Last Mile’ of Finance, and the time to cover last mile of finance is getting longer.

On top of this, various regulators are shifting the focus from documents to data, making a way for better sector wise/industry wise comparison of the financial reported data. They are adopting the global eXtensible Business Reporting language (XBRL ) standard, which basically gives the data in a more granular form. This will necessitate companies to be more cautious to report the data, as it may be likely analyzed at a very granular level.

SAP Business Objects Disclosure Management 10.0 covers the last mile of finance including XBRL, by integrating very well with SAP systems, with great capabilities to manage document management and workflow that can cover the financial disclosure very well. You can watch a video that would help you understand it better.

 

5.       Our setup is diversified, hard to get consistency on the financial notes

Many diversified companies that cut across different geographies face the challenge of getting consistency of their financial notes and other qualitative information. Sometimes even collection of the financial notes is a big challenge. While they achieve better consistency in the quantitative information due the direct mapping through chart of accounts and other more traditional approaches, when it comes to reporting accounting policies, additional notes that supports financial statements, they face issues to get these information, or they spend lot of time to make it uniform. Notes on itself can be completely misinterpreted by shareholders, financial analysts and the same can bring a different perception of the company.

SAP Business Objects Notes Management 10.0 helps in collection of the unstructured notes data that is in the context of the financial data and allows for building consistency, aggregation and roll out of the notes data to different companies in the group. The solution built on top of SAP Netweaver is seamlessly integrated to SAP data. It really helps in rolling out an easy way of collecting the unstructured data and report the same, and filling a great pain point to get out better consistent financial notes to the stakeholders.

 

6.       Our Legal consolidation is too complex and needs effective monitoring

Legal consolidation is a very mission critical process in the financial reporting journey for some of the companies that have very complex holdings, run in different geographies and have diversified businesses with a very brief time window to get out the consolidated financial results. Reliance on IT during this process is a NO NO, so finance wants to manage this process on their own, and are always looking at solutions that can handle the complexity, with the ease of use that finance can understand and manage on their own.

SAP Business Objects EPM 10.0 focuses a lot on getting better on the more complex consolidation functionality, but maintaining the easy and flexibility that allows finance users to manage the same. The solution brings capabilities for managing the ownership structure of the companies easily by the finance users, make top side adjustments through Journals on the web, establish and view controls from a single cockpit view, monitor the consolidation process by each of the submitting company to improve the speed and status by HQ controller office- all these through the Consolidation Central functionality in SAP Business Objects Planning and Consolidation solution.

More complex scenarios like matrix consolidation are supported through SAP Business Objects Financial Consolidation 10.0. Matrix Consolidation enables the user to parallely roll up across multiple hierarchy: reports allow for the ability to cross both hierarchies and retrieve properly positioned eliminations on both axis.

 

7.       Not interested in just analysis of output costs, need drill down to inputs

Stepping into a different territory, one of the aspects people would like to ascertain in the profitability and cost analysis is not just the output costs of finished goods or services, but ability to drill down and analyze the input costs that makes up the finished goods/services. Often this requires ability to go to the Bill of Material (BOM) level to do such analysis. This immediately poses a challenge of not being able to achieve this with a spreadsheet or not being able to get into a ERP system that is very complex to understand for a business user.

With SAP Business Objects Profitability and Cost Management 10.0 version, ability to model or extend BOM to achieve target costing, analyze costs and profitability based on the input costs and derive BOM unit rate based on Production/Input that can be applied to Sales Volumes can be achieved through the new delivered extended BOM model.

 

This solution combined with other EPM solution and new features makes it good value for an overall performance management initiative of any company.

 

8.       This variance analysis kills lot of my time - need some quick indicators

Most busy activity that finance analysts through to CFO spend their time every quarter is to analyze - budget vs. actual, or quarter vs. quarter each year, so on and so forth. They always ask for some quick tools that would highlight the key differences and root cause.

SAP Business objects Business Planning and Consolidation 10.0 allows for ‘Automated Variance Analysis’ function that quickly suggests some root causes for variance instead of the user having to navigate the entire data to find the reasons. This gives tremendous value to analyse the cause and provide commentary, in a very speedy manner.

 

9.       Would like to deep dive into GL to analyze variance by transaction

Continuing on the variance analysis topic, once the user has found the key differences, often they would like to drill down to their GL or transaction system to understand want makes up the variance.

SAP Business Objects EPM 10.0 has the key Financial Information management capability that allows for drill down to SAP ERP from the EPM solution. This is a very powerful capability and provides the greatest value to leverage several existing investment that the customer has already made with SAP ERP.

 

10.   What’s this TCO, I am finance, can you explain

TCO (total cost of ownership) is often used very loosely in the IT world for very minor cost improvements. Finance really wants to understand the real impact of IT investment, not just software but all the prerequisites and associated costs.

SAP Business Objects Planning and Consolidations 10.0 for Netweaver version is especially a clear value when it comes to TCO. With elimination of the .Net requirements ,some great integration solutions such as Financial Information Management  and ability to unify the solution across Planning and Consolidation with minimum end user training required to use the intuitive web interface, this solution allows for managing TCO to very manageable level, and provide quicker payback for the investment in EPM initiative.

Hmm, that was the key 10 use case and how SAP EPM 10.0 addresses them, above were just some of the key highlights. I am sure you are convinced why SAP EPM 10.0 is such a big release; please do approach us to sign up for ramp up.

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