Describing SAP Analytics Cloud Planning

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the business scenario and objectives for this course
  • Outline the key steps to implement SAP Analytics Cloud Planning
  • Describe the key SAP Analytics Cloud Planning concepts
  • Outline planning interfaces in SAP Analytics Cloud

The Business Scenario and Objectives

The Business Scenario

Persona

  • You're an intermediate business user who works at ABC Corporation (this persona also reflects an intermediate consultant).
  • You’re already familiar with the SAP Analytics Cloud fundamental concepts, modeling, and story building.
  • You have enterprise planning experience but you are new to SAP Analytics Cloud Planning.
  • You recently accepted an assignment to implement SAP Analytics Cloud planning with guidance from an experienced project lead.

Tasks to be Accomplished

  • Along with an experienced project lead, you’ll configure planning models, data actions, allocations, and stories that will be used to perform planning activities.
  • These activities include manual input planning, version management, planning simulations, allocations, copying data, calculating labor and benefits, translating currencies, validating data input, forecasting sales values, and scheduling jobs.
  • To organize and monitor the planning tasks, you'll build a plan process in the calendar that is performed by each regional planner.
  • After the regions are all approved, the plan data will be locked and the results can then be published.

The Planning Process

In the series of videos below, we'll take you through the planning process steps for SAP Analytics Cloud.

Overview to the Planning Process in SAP Analytics Cloud

Using the example of ABC Corporation and its companies, throughout this course we’ll take you through the planning process and the related functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud.

The Preparation Phase

If you're responsible for planning modeling, you'll complete most of your work in the Preparation Phase:

  • Build planning models and dimensions
  • Add planning objects such as data actions
  • Create stories to perform planning
  • Set up and assign tasks and processes

The Planning Phase

If you're responsible for planning, you'll input data into the plan, and publish the data to share it. There are often iterative changes in this part of the process as planners and stakeholders at different levels and in different departments collaborate on the plan.

The Finalize Phase

When the planning process nears completion, the results are reviewed, approved, and published. Data is then locked to prevent changes to the approved data.

SAP Analytics Cloud Planning Concepts

Summary of Key Concepts in SAP Analytics Cloud Used in Planning

The following table contains SAP Analytics Cloud concepts that are used in planning, as well as brief descriptions:

Planning ConceptDescription
Connections
  • Connect SAP Analytics Cloud to on-premise data sources.
  • Connect SAP Analytics Cloud to your cloud data sources.
Dimensions
  • Dimensions represent master data such as cost center, profit center, product, and account.
  • Dimensions contain members, descriptions, properties, and hierarchies.
  • Base members don't have children while parent nodes in a hierarchy do have children.
  • Public dimensions are shareable across multiple models while private dimensions are model-specific.
Planning models
  • Planning models contain dimensions that are intended for unique types of planning such as sales, cost center accounting, human resources.
  • New type planning models require at least one measure such as local currency amount but they could easily have several measures such as local currency amount, group currency amount, and quantity.
  • Date dimension: The (flexible) date dimension can be configured to represent calendar months or fiscal periods. Daily, weekly, monthly/period, quarterly, and annual planning levels of granularity are supported.
  • Version dimension: The version dimension is used to separate actual vs. plan data in the model.
Data imports
  • Dimensional data can be imported from files or various source systems.
  • Transaction data can be imported from files or various source systems into planning models.
Data exports
  • Plan data can be exported.
  • Export data from planning models to various SAP source systems such as SAP Business Warehouse, SAP-Integrated Business Planning, and SAP S/4HANA.
Data locking
  • Used to protect data from changes.
  • When planning data is approved, prevent data changes by setting a data lock for the planning version and period/year.
Data point comments
  • Used to collaborate with team members.
  • As planning data is created or modified, comments can be added to the same data intersection to add context to the values.
Disaggregation
  • Plan data can be entered by base member or by hierarchy parent node.
  • When data is entered by hierarchy parent node, the data is disaggregated to its children equally or in proportion to existing values.

SAP Analytics Cloud Planning User Interfaces

Access Planning Options in SAP Analytics Cloud

Planning-related objects can be accessed from the Navigation Bar.

SAP Analytics Cloud Home Page with the Navigation menu open and More Options displaying the planning options available.

User Interfaces for Performing Planning Activities

You can perform planning activities in various user interfaces:

Basic stories:

  • Primary user interface
  • Created and maintained by the business users
A basic story with planning in SAP Analytics Cloud

Extended, or scripted, stories:

  • Used for more complex business requirements
  • Created with developers and maintained by IT
Extended, or scripted, stories.

SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Excel:

  • Microsoft Excel client
  • Web Excel
  • Maintained by the business users
SAP Analytics Cloud, add-in for Microsoft Excel.

SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office:

  • Microsoft Excel client
  • Maintained by the business users
  • No further development for SAP Analytics Cloud integration
SAP Analysis for Microsoft Office

Use Basic Stories in Planning

In the following example, the SAP Finance: FP&A - Rapid Financial Planning and Analysis Landing Page story is displayed. This is just one example of planning content that is delivered with SAP Analytics Cloud.

Top left is an SAP landing page with Sales Planning and Financial Reporting highlighted. When you click that tab, the related story (bottom right) will open.

Stories are based on planning models. Each planning model works with several internal processes or functions but all have the same focus, to make planning work more efficiently.

Using stories in planning has the following advantages:

  • One tool to strategize and react in the moment
  • See the impact of your actions
  • Collaborate with comments, discussions, and interactions
A story displaying the data point comments collaboration tool.

Use Tables in Planning

If a table is being used in a story for planning, then planning tool options are shown in the menu.

Page options either display in the ...More options or in the task bar at the top of the page, depending on your screen resolution.

A table in stories showing the icon for More Options from the story menu toolbar and the table.
Note
  • Your screen resolution affects where you access tasks in SAP Analytics Cloud. For example, Version Management appears in the task bar if you have a high resolution and won’t be available in the ...More menu option or in the Tools ...More option.
  • Reasons for Unplannable Data: When you hover over a cell that is secure or locked, for example, the tooltip appears on the upper right with the explanation.

Use Extended Stories in Planning

In SAP Analytics Cloud, extended stories enable analytic developers to create centrally governable analytic content. This content can range from dashboards using guided analytics to sophisticated planning and smart applications.

What can extended stories do for planning?

  • Supplement the SAP Analytics Cloud planning experience in basic stories
  • Create highly dynamic and customized planning applications
  • Create planning applications, tailored for specific use cases and personas where a minimum of training effort is the main goal

What are typical use cases for extended stories?

  • Form-based data input
  • Complex user interface requirements
  • Guided planning and approval workflows
  • Bullet-proof and self-explaining

Summary: Stories and Extended Stories in SAP Analytics Cloud

A story is for self-service use cases. Extended stories are professionally developed.

The basic idea of extended stories is to use charts, tables, and available widgets, and configure them in the Left Side Panel. Analytic developers can add scripts that enhance their behavior and/or change their appearance during runtime.

To enable interactivity, the scripts are executed when you perform an action in the extended story.

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