Frequently Asked Questions - Planning in SAP NetWeaver BI

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This Document Provides Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About:


What is the focus of the following FAQs?

These FAQs are focusing on the aspect of business planning and its further evolution. It is meant to clarify questions that arise in the context of the move of the SEM-BPS planning framework from mySAP Financials to SAP Business Intelligence.

Please see the PowerPoint presentation about "Business Planning with SAP BI" for details about the scope of the planning capabilities that will be provided starting with SAP BW 3.5 before you read this document for better understanding.

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What is SAP's strategy for Planning and Budgeting?

SAP offers an integrated business platform through the mySAP Business Suite, which covers all planning requirements from overall business and financial planning to supply chain planning on the strategic, tactical and operational levels.

Planning and budgeting capabilities reside in different areas. Planning is available in operational context in transactional systems such as R/3 as well as in a more strategic, analytical context within the Business Planning and Simulation component, as of release SAP BW 3.5 part of SAP Business Intelligence (BW-BPS). Supply chain planning takes place in mySAP Supply Chain Management using SAP APO. The results of both business planning and supply chain planning are consolidated in SAP NetWeaver BI, for performance analysis and evaluation purposes.

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Why have we decided to move planning to SAP Business Intelligence?

SEM-BPS offers state of the art planning capabilities that address the current needs of customers in regards to data integration on a common platform, usage of Excel and Web as user interfaces, process management and flexible reporting and analysis through SAP NetWeaver BI.

While we understand that the responsibility of business planning often resides in the finance function, we also recognize that the planning concepts implemented in the SEM-BPS planning framework are generic ones that can be reused in many other contexts (CRM, Human Resources, Retail, Consumer Products…). At the same time we realize that planning is becoming a much more integrative process that spans all functions of the enterprise including sales, marketing, production, etc. Our customers have communicated this fact in various product requirement sessions and development influence councils. In fact some customers currently are using SEM-BPS not only for financials but also for sales and marketing planning, headcount planning, purchase planning, travel planning amongst other non-financials types of planning.

Consequently, we want to support the market need and provide an open and flexible planning framework for both financial budgeting and other areas of planning. Therefore, SAP will deliver planning functionality in SAP Business Intelligence in order to provide the desired flexibility that our customers demand. This step may be compared to the decision to move reporting and analysis to a generic area. Therefore SAP will leverage the concepts of the SEM-BPS planning framework for the development of SAP NetWeaver BI integrated planning. In addition starting with SAP BW 3.5 SEM-BPS is delivered as BW-BPS and remains in maintenance status. A comparative view of the evolution of SAP's planning strategy is provided below:

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What is a planning application?

Business scenario containing business content

  • Planning and Analysis Services/Planning Functions (e.g. Time lag, financial depreciation)

  • Planning Templates

Examples of planning applications: Sales planning, Financial statement planning, Profitability planning

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What are the benefits for the customers?

  • Tightly integrated planning and analysis from one integrated data platform

  • Greater flexibility in creating custom planning applications to meet company-specific or market-specific requirements. Use of SAP NetWeaver BI tools like BEx Analyzer (Alerting, Drilldown Chart Tools, Calculated Key Figures, Hierarchical Data Entry)

  • Reduction of complexity by unique release procedure and reduced number of tools and planning objects

  • Ease of use: Planning and analysis use the same user interfaces

Some of the other features of the planning environment for customers will include improved forecasting algorithms, enhanced process control and status monitoring, simplified, hierarchical data entry, ….

(Please refer to the PowerPoint presentation for detailed information about SAP NetWeaver BI integrated planning)

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How does this affect SAP Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM)?

Recognizing the fact that a closed-loop planning, measurement, and analysis environment is critical to the finance function, SEM will continue to be positioned and sold as a complete business performance management suite. SEM will deliver financial specific planning applications built on base of SAP NetWeaver BI integrated planning. Planning and budgeting will continue to be a key component of SEM along with the existing financial consolidation, performance measurement, and strategy management functions.

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What are our customers and prospects deployment options?

SAP NetWeaver BI integrated planning will be available with SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0. Current customers evaluating SAP planning solutions should evaluate and purchase BW-BPS (part of SAP BW 3.5) with the full comfort of knowing that their investment in BPS will be protected in the future should they wish to continue on this planning solution. Additionally, should they wish to migrate to SAP NetWeaver BI integrated planning, a migration strategy will be provided as well.

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What are the recommendations for current SEM/BPS customers?

For current SEM-BPS customers and BW-BPS customers, their investment will continue to be supported by SAP. In this way users can expect to continue to realize the benefits of the planning capabilities with BPS and also realize the platform upgrades as future releases of SAP NetWeaver BI continue to evolve.

Please have a look at the presentation Decision Support for recommendations of implementing planning functionality for existing SAP SEM customers and customers planning the implementation in 2004 or 2005.

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How will SAP NetWeaver BI integrated planning be integrated with the SEM components (Balanced Scorecard, Consolidations)?

Regarding the integration to Balanced Scorecard and Consolidation current capabilities will remain and be enhanced. The integration will still done via SAP NetWeaver BI InfoCubes. As a result, it will be possible to consolidate plan data in BCS. It will be possible to display plan data within the Balanced Scorecard and to drag or change it in Performance Measurement. The integration of master data will also be guaranteed using the common SAP NetWeaver BI data basis.

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What will be delivered with SAP Netweaver BI 7.0 in regards to planning capabilities?

Step 1: SAP Netweaver BI 7.0 with BI Content Add-on 7.0.1 (mid 2005 - Ramp Up)

Features:

  • Integrated planning

  • SAP BW-BPS (former SEM-BPS)*

Existing SEM-BPS customers can use either planning capabilities. New customers can only use Integrated Planning.

Step 2: SAP Netweaver BI 7.0 with BI Content Add-on 7.0.2 (end 2005)

Features:

  • Integrated planning*

  • Planning applications**

  • Application specific planning services (please see PowerPoint "Integrated Planning" for definition of service)

    • Application specific planning services (please see PowerPoint "Integrated Planning" for definition of service)

    • Application specific planning content (pre-customized planning scenarios)

* SAP BW-BPS - former SEM-BPS will be continued to be supported in the future

** Planning Applications may be also delivered as Add-On.

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If a customer has installed the SEM Add-on in the past, and wants to upgrade to SAP Netweaver BI 7.0 and subsequent SAP NetWeaver BI releases that contain planning functionality, will he still need to upgrade the SEM Add-on?

Yes. There are current technical limitations in the Add-on registration process that flag a system as being "Add-on" relevant, and will ask for the add-on upgrade when upgrading the core system.

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Does this mean that customers have to wait for a period of time after the core SAP NetWeaver BI release, when the SEM Add-on and new BI Content Add-on will be available?

Yes. In order to develop the SEM and BI Add-ons based on the new SAP NetWeaver BI technology platform, there is typically a delay of a few months from the release date of the core SAP NetWeaver BI technology release, for the Add-on releases to be made available.

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How are the BI Content Add-ons and the SEM Add-ons correlated?

SEM and SAP BI Content Add-Ons are built upon a core technology release of SAP NetWeaver BI. As such, after delivery of the BI content Add-On the corresponding SEM is available.

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What exactly will be supported as a part of the migration from SEM-BPS to SAP Netweaver BI 7.0 /Content Add-on 7.0.1 integrated planning?

Customers will have the following choices:

  • Migrate to SAP NetWeaver BI Integrated Planning

  • No migration, just upgrade SAP NetWeaver BI/SEM and keep running SAP BW-BPS (former SEM-BPS) *

    * Note: This selection is a "maintenance only" option, meaning that no new features will be delivered in subsequent releases for this selection. Only in the area of integrated planning are future enhancements planned.

The following objects will be migrated (manual and automatic):

  • Planning Areas*

  • Planning levels + planning packages*

  • Planning Layouts*

  • Planning Functions*

  • Variables*

  • Planning Folders*

  • User Exits*

    * New technology is used to render these objects in SAP NetWeaver BI Integrated Planning, but the concept is the same as in SEM -BPS.

The following objects will need no migration:

  • Master Data

  • Transactional Data

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Do you need more information?

Please contact the BI product management team in Walldorf.

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