A Technical Overview of SAP Planning Solutions—SAP IP, SAP BPC, SAP BPC for S/4HANA


When considering SAP solutions for integrated corporate planning, there are many solutions available and, typically for SAP, just as many abbreviations. They range from BW-IP and BPC to IBP and SAP BPC optimized for S/4HANA.

But is SAP’s range of planning software really that diverse, or do clear recommendations stand out from the crowd?

In this article, we want to give you a quick technical overview of the planning solutions available, and briefly discuss the positioning and background of the different approaches.

Let’s start with SAP Business Warehouse.

This has long been the technical basis for SAP planning solutions. The advantage of combining data from SAP and third-party systems centrally, and providing it as a basis for planning, is a key feature of all SAP planning solutions. In addition to this, functions like currency exchange, versioning, top-down allocations or comments are already included in the standard package.

Two different planning solutions on this basis have long been available:

SAP Integrated Planning (BW-IP) and SAP Business Planning & Consolidation (BPC).

Both solutions can still be used individually on a classic SAP BW. Each solution has its own advantages and disadvantages—both technically and functionally. As a result, before introducing a tool like this, you need to analyze your situation and choose the best tool for you by comparing both solutions, taking both the IT perspective and the specialist department’s requirements into account.

You should also bear something else in mind: Two years ago, SAP combined the best of both tools in one new solution:

SAP Business Planning & Consolidation 10.1 (Embedded).

Embedded refers to a new modelling method in SAP BPC. It combines the highly-integrated modelling options of SAP BW-IP with the flexible planning methods of SAP BPC. The result is a solution that unites the strengths of both tools. Legacy BPC modelling remains available as a “standard” solution, allowing you to continue to use and expand existing planning scenarios.

Technically, SAP BPC 10.1 Embedded builds on the SAP HANA platform—on SAP BW on HANA, to be more precise. Only it offers the technical option of tight SAP integration while retaining the flexibility required so often in the planning process.

That makes SAP Business Planning & Consolidation 10.1 (Embedded) the solution of choice for mapping enterprise planning in SAP. It combines the key advantages and functions of both previous worlds and will remain the right tool for planning with SAP in the future.

That is also the case for SAP S/4HANA—the next generation of SAP Business Suite.

It integrates SAP Business Planning & Consolidation 10.1 (Embedded) as a central solution for all planning requirements. SAP BPC optimized for S/4HANA, as the integrated solution is called, offers all functions of SAP BPC 10.1 (Embedded) and also includes pre-defined planning scenarios for financial planning. To prevent confusion, please note that it was originally called Integrated Business Planning – IBP (Finance). The name was changed in October 2015, not least because it was easy to confuse with SCM Planning in the Cloud (SAP IBP). The integrated solution runs on the S/4HANA system itself, and does not require you to implement a separate SAP BW system or replicate master data and actual transaction data. All data required for planning is provided in defined views directly from the HANA platform. In spite of this, you can use the full range of SAP BPC functions.

sap bpc

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In short, integrated enterprise planning with SAP means SAP Business Planning & Consolidation.

When it comes to integration, flexibility, investment security and sustainability, SAP BPC in the embedded model is now the one central SAP solution. SAP BPC has proven itself the solution of choice, even for SAP S/4HANA and potential migrations to this release. SAP BW-IP or SAP BPC remain available as solutions in the standard model, e.g. for use in a classic SAP BW without HANA. As the modelling and implementation of planning functions/sequences and the planning queries used in the IP area of BPC are embedded, users can transition from existing integrated planning solutions to SAP BPC (Embedded) on a reasonable budget. The existing data and solutions can still be used in full—and the new BPC features facilitate business process flows, for example. If you have a HANA strategy, you should also consider integrated planning, even when rolling out enterprise planning on non-HANA platforms.

If you want more information on SAP BPC , then join Mike Weeks on 28th June for a webinar on: How the latest developments in SAP BPC add insight. Register your place below:


NTT DATA Business Solutions
NTT DATA Business Solutions

Our experts are keen to stay up to date with new developments and always share their insights, knowledge and opinions from all around the world. They cover a wide range of IT and business-related topics, including SAP and industry expertise as well as management issues. Most of them have gained many years of experience in the area of SAP - always close to the customer. That’s why they know the requirements of the market, of our customers and their customers’ customers/ partners. Get inspired and contact us if you would like to talk to them directly.

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