Along the analytics and reporting capabilities, SAP Analytics Cloud helps organizations set goals and strategic plans, analyze budgets, compare budget and forecast, and conduct other planning activities.
The planning module, which is the first building block of your planning scenario, consists of multiple dimensions and measures. The data in this model could be populated from an online source or from a file upload. It supports both SAP and non-SAP sources and it could be scheduled to obtain data automatically to keep your actuals up to date. It also features native connections for most SAP solutions like SuccessFactors, BPC, S4Hana…
Whether your scenario consists of short-term, long-term, operational, or financial planning, SAP Analytics Cloud provides you with all the tools you need to build a strong and interactive plan. In this article, we will highlight the main features and capabilities of this planning tool.
Versioning makes the comparison between different types of data possible. For example, you may want to have a version for your actual data and another one for your forecast data. Having multiple versions gives you the ability to display them in the same table or chart and make the comparison easy and comfortable. There are five type of versions that will cover all your planning needs: Actual, Budget, Planning, Forecast, Rolling Forecast. Each of these versions could be a private version or a public version.
- A public version is a version available to all users who have access to the model.
- A private version is only available to the user who created it. In a private version you can modify the data without modifying your existing plan. This is a great way to try your planning scenarios privately. Once you are satisfied with the results, you can publish your changes to a public version. You can also share private versions to specific users and give them view or edit rights.
Data entry is a key requirement for planning activities. With SAP analytics cloud you can easily update your data or enter new values via tables in your planning story or in an analytical application. Data entry supports both absolute values and relative values. For instance, you can write values such as +2M which will add two million to the existing value, or you can write -20% to reduce the existing values by 20%. SAC also supports mass data entry. This feature lets you enter all your changes to the table before applying the changes to the data source. It is used to avoid processing the data every time you change a cell in the table.
Value driver trees VDTs:
Value driver trees are a graphical tool that shows you the full financial picture and helps you understand the relationship between your key drivers. With a few clicks only, you can run what if scenarios and simulate the effects of various factors on your key metrics.
Figure 1: Value Driver Tree
Allocations in SAC could be done within the report or by defining allocations processes. Allocations are based on certain rules called drivers. There are different types of standard drivers available for you in SAC:
- Spreading: This type is used when you want to allocate values from a higher-level hierarchy to lower level members. For example, you want to spread your yearly revenues on a monthly level.
- Distribution: This is used when you want to move values from one member to another member with the same hierarchical level. For example, if you have different products in the hierarchy and you have a certain cost associated with each of the products. You can move a part of the cost or all of it for one product to the others.
- Assigning: This allows you to enter a value directly on dimension member values. You can simply tell SAC where you want this value to be.
In addition to the standard allocation rules, you can create your own allocation process. Each process consists of multiple allocation steps. When the user run this process, the steps are executed one after the other. This is used when complex allocations are needed.
This advanced feature of SAP Analytics Cloud uses your historical data to generate new set of data. When you run this tool, the system studies the fluctuations, cycles, and trends in your historical data and predicts how your values will be in the coming year. For example, if you are creating a sales plan for your organization, SAC can use your old sales figures to generate the new plan with taking into considerations the high and low seasons and the fluctuations of these values throughout the years.
Input task and planning calendar
Input tasks can be assigned to one or multiple users to update a table with new values or for editing existing values. When the input task is sent to a colleague, they receive an email and a notification on SAC to update the task. It will also be added to their SAC calendar as a pending task. Input tasks allow the organizer to accept the task or reject and send it again with any additional comments.
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