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SAP Analytics
Thought Leadership

Spreadsheets to BPC/EPM 10: A Quantum Leap

Posted by Keith Roberts on Tue, Jul 01, 2014 @ 07:07 AM
It’s the corporation’s latest planning/forecast/budget cycle, and you’re responsible for putting together the consolidated reports for the executive review meetings.  The analysts in Europe, Asia, North America and South America have sent you their Excel spreadsheets, which have been reviewed and revised according to their local management review meetings.  Their regional financial managers will be participating in the executive review meetings, and presenting their region’s forecast. 

The PowerPoint reporting package for the executive review meeting will consist of income statements, capital spending reports and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  Comments will be included, and there will be slides/reports at the region and total corporate level.  You have spent hours copying the Excel “reports” and pasting them into the PowerPoint slides.  Also, in order to produce the numbers for the region and total corporate reports, you had to combine the multiple Excel spreadsheets from the site analysts.  This included calculating the KPIs at the region and corporate levels.  You finally have everything ready for tomorrow’s first executive review meeting, although it’s 9:15 PM and you’re still at the office.

First thing the next morning, you check your e-mail and an analyst in the UK and an analyst in Japan made last minute changes and have sent you their revised Excel files.  You rush to the office to incorporate these changes, which means updating the consolidated totals and re-calculating the KPIs, and pasting the results into the PowerPoint presentation.  You get the presentation finished just in time and rush it to the meeting.

After the meeting starts, when the North America financial manager reviews the presentation package, she says: “Wait a minute – these aren’t the numbers that I approved!”  You’re wondering how that happened – was it your mistake?  Did one of the analysts send the wrong file?  Now the meeting degenerates into a fact-finding mission, to determine which numbers should be the “right” ones.

Waking up in a cold sweat (OK – this may be a little bit extreme), you realize that you’re having a bad dream.  Your company implemented BPC EPM 10 the previous year (of course with Column5 leading the implementation), and although you used to have these kinds of problems, and every forecast cycle still has its challenges, the new EPM 10 solution has made your job much more efficient.

  • The forecast data is now collected via Input Forms.  The analysts’ Excel spreadsheets are now integrated directly with the EPM 10 database, and all changes are incorporated immediately. In the scenario above, the updates from the UK and Japan would have already been aggregated, consolidated and calculated, with the PowerPoint presentation retrieving the updated numbers.
  • EPM10 reports with the Excel Add-in and via the web provide immediate and constant views of the evolving and completed forecast.
  • Utilizing Business Process Flows, the analysts are guided through their processes to input and review data. E-mails are sent to managers upon completion of the steps.
  • The KPIs, and driver-based forecasting methods are supported. The calculations are performed by the system as soon as the basis data was entered into the system. Data entered in foreign currencies is automatically converted to reporting currencies.
  • Legal consolidations and inter-company eliminations are calculated automatically.
  • Versioning is distinctly identified, so that all users are “on the same page.” Since each version is stored in the system, and available to the users, there is no confusion over which numbers are the “latest.”
  • Utilizing Work Status, the data is locked to prevent changes to submitted and/or approved versions of the data.
  • Management approval of versions and or stages of the process are recorded in the system. Supporting documentation is posted to the system and identified with specific intersections of data.
  • A full audit trail of all inputs and changes is available.
  • The PowerPoint slides are linked directly to the data as EPM10 reports, so updates to the data flow through to the presentation in real time. The same is true for any documentation using Word.
  • As close periods occur during the forecast cycle, the latest actual financial and statistical data is easily incorporated into the latest version of the forecast.

Excel SilosEPM 10 has transformed the forecasting process from dozens of Excel silos to a single, centralized, integrated solution.  The users are now able to spend their time analyzing the data instead of collecting and assimilating it.  And the bad dreams will go away too!  Sleep tight, knowing your Column5-implemented BPC EPM 10 solution has made life much, much easier.

Want to read more about the Excel add-in for BPC! Read "You Might Be In Excel Hell If..." now!

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Topics: Center of Excellence, Excel, Thought Leadership, Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Value, Implementation, BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation), Forecasting


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