These days, more than ever, financial planning analysis (FP&A) managers need to deploy tools that can help them support their businesses with faster and more agile planning, reporting and analysis.
Whether it is functionality that supports forecasts with multiple scenarios or automated financials with self-service drill down, today’s managers need easy access to the right information so that they can make faster and better decisions.
So, many organizations that run legacy corporate performance management (CPM) tools like SAP BPC or massive, manual Excel models that are at the breaking point, are now looking to migrate to a modern cloud platform for their budgeting, forecasting, reporting and consolidations.
Current Trends are Driving Digitalization of the Office of Finance
Now, in the 2020s, there are a number of trends that are driving changes and technology upgrades in finance and accounting departments.
The most obvious change surrounds the turbulent economic climate. This environment has accelerated the trend towards working-from-home, which again has accelerated the need for users to have easy, browser-based access to their business applications, and for IT departments to get rid of their old servers and move to a cloud infrastructure that runs 24/7 with minimal down-time.
Many FP&A departments also face staff shortages due to cost-savings programs. This drives them to consider upgrading their legacy accounting and CPM tools to modern cloud tools that drive more automation and that are more user-friendly than their old, on-premise counterparts.
Benefits of Migrating from BPC…and A Little History
Companies that acquired SAP’s Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) solution in the past considered it a good investment. Outlooksoft as it was called in the beginning, was a young, agile Connecticut-based company founded in 1999. They had a number of people that came from Hyperion, its main competitor in those early days. Outlooksoft quickly rose to stardom on the CPM scene. In 2007, the company was acquired by SAP and its name changed to SAP’s Business Planning and Consolidation solution. Outlooksoft had a very good run as a general CPM solution from 1999 and up until its SAP acquisition. After that, BPC went from a mainstream CPM tool to a solution primarily sold to SAP’s ERP customers.
However, today, more than 20 years after SAP BPC was launched, its core, built-for-on-premise deployment, with a mostly Excel and OLAP architecture, is a far cry from modern, multi-tenant cloud solutions that run and are maintained in global, 24/7 accessible public clouds. Because of these limitations, a number of companies are now looking to migrate from SAP BPC to a new, agile and cloud-based CPM platform.
Where to Migrate your Planning and Reporting Processes to?
Generally, companies migrate from SAP BPC to cloud CPM solutions that are pre-integrated to their ERP solution. This ensures that a good, automated integration can be put in place quickly and that the integration is updated by the vendor whenever the ERP system may require changes.
For example, a company like Solver, specializes in cloud CPM for ERP solutions like SAP Business One, SAP ByDesign, Sage Intacct, Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, as well as the legacy Microsoft Dynamics ERPs AX, GP, NAV and SL.
Apart from ensuring that ERP connectors already exist for the ERP you are running, many companies usually also check that their new cloud CPM vendor has a good review in industry market studies like Dresner Advisory Service’s Wisdom of Crowds Enterprise Performance Management Study.
And, of course, the power users that will administer the new cloud CPM solution always want to make sure that they can design all the budget models and reports they need for their users. Such discovery typically happens through demonstrations as well as research conducted by looking at videos and examples on the vendors’ websites.
Regardless of the journey you decide to take to prepare your planning and reporting processes for a more automated and digitalized office of finance, you have many good options to evaluate as you plan the replacement of SAP BPC and move to a modern multi-tenant cloud CPM solution.