4 things to watch out for when implementing SAP BPC

I’ve had the pleasure and privilege to work in Performance Management consulting for over 20 years. During this time, I have been involved in over 100 Budgeting/Planning and BI projects and it’s great to see that in the last decade the world of OLAP evolves even more. I like to call this Pivot Tables on steroids! ­

During the past 8 years of my journey I have focused on SAP BPC and the implementation of various planning’s models including Core Finance, HR, Capex and Detailed Operational planning across multiple industries.

Based on the experience I have gained, here are some of my thoughts around things to watch out for when implementing SAP BPC:

 

1 – Find the right consultants

Time and time again we visit clients that have gone through a BPC implementation and are not happy with what they have been given – and in most cases the problem is not the tool! The Lead Consultants might understand SAP or can be the best SAP BW consultants out there, but they do not understand the essence of a Planning Solution such as a detailed Profit and Loss, Cashflow or Balance Sheet statements and their underlying accounting principles. Be selective and choose a partner who has implemented multiple BPC projects or similar products and ensure they understand Integrated Planning processes.

 

2 – Do not overscope the project, but Keep It Simple (KIS)

Every time we visit clients, they always want to build every planning models to stop the reliance of Excel which is causing spreadsheet hell. Yes, this should the ultimate goal of any organisation, but is best achieved in a phased project approach. Of course, sometimes building everything is required for Business Case approval, but if not then it’s best to KIS. This allows the user community to fully understand the capabilities of the BPC solution while having a successfully short timeframe roll out for each model and step-by-step gaining confidence within the product. Having too many models in the first phase is often difficult to manage, maintain and drive change in the organisation. KIS with fewer models e.g. Finance (PL) & Labour/Capex in the first phase of your roll-out and tackle the next planning scenario.

 

3 – Take the Business User and Stakeholders along the journey

When running workshop for a BPC solution, engage the business and key stakeholders. We have found it’s usually the finance department driving Planning solution projects, but it’s important to involve the core users and take them on the journey as they will then be more likely to believe in and trust their own solution. The core users will then turn into advocates of the system and can perform training to other users or act as SME’s, also reducing implementation costs! This gives ownership back to the business planners instead of them thinking “this is just another solution driven from Finance”. Including the key stakeholders along the journey and having their buy-in throughout ALL stages of the project (not just the kick-off meetings) also ingrains the new solution into the organisation allowing for a successful roll-out.

 

4 – Ensure to have a close working relationship with your Solution Implementer

We have found in past projects that sometimes the client and the solution implementer are operating at arm’s length. It’s an “us” and “them” relationship. This can work but often causes problems when urgent issues and systems changes arise.

Successful projects are when members work collaboratively and are embedded into the work culture. Working together means that client representatives get to be entrenched in the project as part of the technical development team, therefore once the project is in a “go-live” stage, you will have full ownership and still have full access to the consultants for any support related activities. I also always like to see our consultants and clients engaging in social events!

I really do hope you enjoyed my short 4-point insights on how to run a successful project and good luck with your BPC journey.  I’m also looking forward to the new innovations in SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) which is supporting both Planning and Analytics on SAP HANA. Certainly, another game changer.

Hope this helps!

 

Director at Bluetree

Alan Contreras

 

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