Describing Planning Features

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe SAP Analytics Cloud planning features
  • Perform manual input planning tasks

Overview of Planning in SAP Analytics Cloud

Planning is all about setting strategic goals for a business and then determining how to meet those goals by creating annual budgets, tracking progress in forecasts, and simulating scenarios to find new opportunities. These plans are formed by projecting historical data (known as actuals) into the future, by gathering input from different departments, and by considering trends, risks, and opportunities in the market.

SAP Analytics Cloud Enterprise Planning

Because planning activities are a collaborative effort, SAP Analytics Cloud provides many options and utilities to make the entire planning process run smoothly.

SAP Planning Strategy

While SAP Analytics Cloud supports all your planning activities and data, SAP's Cloud First strategy also provides customers with the option to leverage their existing on-premise planning system with the SAP Analytics Cloud user interface. Customers with existing SAP BW, SAP S/4HANA, and SAP BPC systems can take the hybrid approach for their planning activities, keeping their planning data on-premise but using SAP Analytics Cloud's user interface for their end-user planning activities.

SAP Analytics Cloud Planning Model

The SAP Analytics Cloud planning model offers the same content and possibilities as the analytics model, but additionally it can be used for sales forecasting, budget allocation, and what-if analysis. In a planning scenario, the planning model allows you to create a public, private, or shared version of the data which can be changed over time. This data will not overwrite or delete a public version until you save it. This gives you the chance to change values without overwriting the (original) values, and allows you to try different values with different scenarios to make final decisions.

Standard versions available for planning models are as follows:

Planning Features

SAP Analytics Cloud has many planning features that help you plan simpler and faster. These features include the following:

  • Data entry

  • Version management

  • Currency conversion

  • Data locking

  • Calendar

  • Data Actions

  • Validation rules

  • Validation Driver Trees

  • Structured allocations

Let's go through each planning feature in detail.

Data Entry

Data entry needs to be efficient and easy, whether you are a finance expert booking values to forecasts, or a line-of-business employee providing input for a bottom-up planning process. Get a familiar experience for data entry using a table that shares many functions with common spreadsheet applications.

Data entry is based around the table, where you can type relative or absolute values into individual cells. You can copy cell values, along with all the data that aggregates up to the copied value.

You can plan at any level of a hierarchy, and the data will automatically be rolled down to the lowest level. You can use the Planning Panel to quickly adjust proportions between members and move values along multiple dimensions.

When there is a data change, an asterisk (*) appears in the affected column. This symbol and yellow shading means the data entry function is being used but not saved. Data entries can be tested before you save and publish them.

You can type an absolute value in a cell, or type a relative value such as *2 or +500 to perform simple mathematical calculations on existing data. For example, if the data value in a cell is 100, and you type *2 in the cell, the value will change to 200.

Version Management

When you are planning for all possibilities, it helps to understand how different plans relate to each other and to your actuals data. Version management helps you to complete tasks such as the following:

  • Carry out variance analysis, such as making sure that your working forecast is on budget.
  • Quickly explore, share, and publish different scenarios without losing sight of the original data or introducing unnecessary complexity.
  • Work on your own data until you are ready to publish.
  • Try a change and undo/redo.
  • Use the history to see what happened with the data.
  • Roll a private version back to a previous state if you need to take a different direction.

You can use the Version Management panel, or just right-click the version header to access these options.

Currency Conversion

Currency conversion features make it easy to work with data from multiple currencies and to predict the effects of exchange rate shifts. Exchange rate tables can be applied to more than one model and swapped out as required. They can also contain multiple rates for different dates and categories of data and for specific scenarios. From within a story, you can view your data in different currencies, apply a different set of exchange rates, or analyze multiple exchange rate scenarios side-by-side.

Data Locking

With data locking, you can choose sections of data to lock when you are getting ready to close your books. Each section can also be delegated to owners who can lock the data themselves, or set the data to a restricted state where only the owners can edit it. You can then schedule changes to data locks in the Calendar.


Planning processes can get complicated. One of the uses of the SAC Calendar may be to help you keep track of planning tasks, stay on schedule, and collaborate with your team. Create, assign, and work on tasks, and add files, approval workflows, and processes that link tasks together. Create multiple tasks at once using recurrence, or generate tasks automatically based on model data. You can also use the calendar to schedule data locking and automatic data actions, and to view your input tasks and publications.

Data Actions

With data actions, you can model sequences of copy-paste operations, allocation steps, and advanced formulas. With advanced formulas, you model complex processes such as cash flow planning, depreciation, and carry forward operations. You can build these formulas using a visual editor that does not require scripting knowledge, although a scripting engine is also available for fine-tuning.

Copy operations make it easy to move data from one part of a model to another, or to a different model. For example, if you have separate models for Headcount and Expense Planning, you can use a data action to copy data from those models into a central Finance model.

To make your data actions more flexible and easier to update, you can also add parameters that can be set while designing or running the data action. You can also run other data actions as steps within your data action, letting you quickly reuse common calculations.

Planning users can run data actions in a story. Alternatively, you can use the Calendar to schedule them to run automatically.

SAP Analytics Cloud data actions are like planning functions and data manager packages in other SAP planning solutions.

Validation Rules

Validation rules let you define valid member combinations across dimensions to prevent improper data entry and planning operations in stories based on a specific planning model. For the dimensions you define in a dimension combination rule, only the member combinations that you specify as allowed combinations can pass validation.

For example, you might want to increase sales of certain products in specific locations. You create a validation rule between the product dimension and location dimension members. Planning users can do planning only for the allowed combinations of products and locations.

Value Driver Trees

Value driver trees let you take a driver-based planning model and turn it into a streamlined visualization for running simulations and making strategic decisions. For example, you might be discussing how vulnerable your business is to raw material prices, or which product line to grow over the next few years to increase profitability the most. Value driver trees allow you to book values to drivers and inputs, visualize the flow of value through the accounts, and see the overall impact on KPIs now and in the future.

You create value driver trees directly in the story. The option to add nodes automatically based the model’s account structure can help you get started quickly, but you can still add and customize nodes as needed. Features like undo and redo, search, and drag-and-drop node linking make it easy to get set up.

Structured Allocations

You can use structured allocations to establish reusable steps for allocating costs, such as allocating the cost of IT support across different departments by support hours used, or the cost of travel across different product groups based on sales revenue.

You build allocation steps using a visual tool that does not require scripting expertise, but that covers a range of different allocation workflows.

Perform Manual Input Planning

Task 1: Perform manual input planning

Business example

You have been asked to create an operating income forecast for your company.

Task flow

In these practice exercises, you will perform the following tasks:

  • Create a new story using a grid
  • Create a new story using a grid
  • Configure the data table
  • Copy a version to create private data
  • Update fields in a version
  • View history
  • Revert a public version
  • Use the disaggregation feature
  • Publish private data

Save progress to your learning plan by logging in or creating an account

Login or Register