Today, companies need the finance organization to be more than just the recordkeeping accounting function. They rely more heavily upon the CFO and finance organization as a strategic partner to the business, by providing business insight and predictions to support decision-making and impact the strategic direction. Finance leaders deal with these challenges by becoming more forward-looking and moving more and more towards the adoption of (predictive) analytics, data science and other innovative technologies. These technologies allow them to create meaningful forward-looking insights, combining both operational and financial information to support more informed decision-making.
OneStream’s BI/Analytics Strategy fits this need perfectly, by enabling finance and business users to quickly integrate, analyze, visualize, and draw insights across all aspects of their business within a single, unified platform. Their strategy is to provide easy access to all the data these users need for analysis, directly within OneStream so they can “analyze without compromise.”
OneStream’s latest platform release, OneStream XF 5.2, enables organizations to integrate a broad range of data types, from summarized financial data to detailed operational data in a single platform. New BI Dashboards and Pivot Grids enable self-service data visualization to highlight and analyze key business trends.
In short, the following features were added to OneStream’s Fall release:
With the BI Blend feature, OneStream enables the blending detailed operational data with cube dimensions. It transforms and aggregates all data into a unified reporting format by using the metadata and hierarchies from the cube. The data is stored in separate tables, from which it can be reported using cube views, dashboards and Pivot Grids (discussed later in this blog). The blended data is read-only, meaning that no calculations or business rules can be utilized. However, it is possible to translate the data into a single target currency.
The BI Blend feature applies an in-memory process to collect, transform and aggregate the information. Once that process is finalized, the data is stored in relational column-store tables. During this process, also the parent records are stored in the table, allowing for greater performance.
The BI Blend feature is especially useful when you want to aggregate and report operational information based on hierarchies in OneStream, but do not want to put all that information into your financial model supporting the concept of “leave the data where it belongs”. BI Blend enables a governed process, while keeping your planning models agile.
Within this new release, it becomes much easier to create highly visual dashboards. In prior releases, creating a dashboard required setting up many elements and linking them together. In version XF 5.2, the BI Viewer component is introduced allowing you to easily create a dashboard by dragging and dropping different items to view your data. In addition to the basic chart types, you can also use gauges, range filters, grids, maps and many more.
All elements are interactive and by means of drilling down into a certain item, all other items on your dashboard are adjusted as well. By means of using the color schemes in a smart way, you can also view a certain department, product or entity in the same color across all visualizations.
OneStream XF 5.2 enables users to quickly configure interactive dashboards that grant users real-time access to trusted data in OneStream, and other data sources. With this enhanced dashboard building component, OneStream allows customers to reduce the need to export data out to third party BI tools such as Power BI and Tableau to leverage advanced visualizations.
Besides the new BI Viewer component, another dashboard component has been released, called the Pivot Grid Dashboard Component. This offers fast ad hoc data exploration of large volumes of data, by creating a pivot table. Data from any source can be used to perform multi-dimensional analysis. Conditional formatting can be used to quickly identify and highlight important information, just by a click of the mouse. Additional key features include the ability to add calculated fields, like text and measures, sort, filters, automatic totals and many more.
OneStream XF 5.2 includes some enhancements to improve performance in reporting and analysis on larger data sets, such as paging and sparse data suppression. In 2020 and 2021 OneStream will deliver additional capabilities as part of the X-Scale initiative, including scheduled and autonomous scaling of MS Azure cloud resources.
With the XF 5.2 release, the OneStream platform is extended with self-service dashboards and built-in governed analytics. Instead of moving your data to a BI platform, OneStream has brought the BI capabilities into OneStream. You can bring in all information you need into OneStream and analyze it within a single platform. This way, you retain all the financial intelligence, governance, workflow and the single version of the truth for financial and operational data that you need for reporting, analysis and decision-making.
With these new features, you can:
As of May 2019, CPMview is a recognized partner of OneStream and we were happy to join the EMEA Splash in Madrid. Many customers, prospects and partners attended the three-day event and it reflected the increasing presence of OneStream in the EMEA market. During the inspiring keynote, Tom Shea (CEO) previewed some of the upcoming enhancements and functionalities, such as Artifical Intelligence, Machine Learning and advanced Business Intelligence, which will help finance professionals to optimize their financial processes and become more efficient. We would like to share those latest developments with you in this blog.
In the upcoming release of OneStream XF 5.2, advanced BI functionalities will become available. During the keynote, Tom Shea showed how easy and intuitive it will be for users to create their own dashboards which are fully interactive. It allows finance professionals to combine tables, charts, graphs and other visualizations and drill down the data, all the way to transactional data if needed, to better understand the business trends.
OneStream’s strategy is to integrate machine learning in two elements of their platform. Firstly, they want to use it for autonomously scaling the platform by means of the X-scale architecture. In the upcoming release this architecture enables smart load balancing and enhancing the performance of the platform based on all server information that is collected and reviewed. Subsequent releases will allow for automatically scaling server resources up and down, depending upon the needs of the business. For example, during the period end close or during budget season, you can automatically benefit from the full potential of the cloud and scale back resources when you do not need them. This will optimze the performance and the costs.
Secondly, OneStream wants to integrate advanced analytics into key business processes. Their vision is that predictive analytics and/or machine learning can help to create a non-biased scenario in planning, budgeting and forecasting. Currently, a solution is available in the Marketplace XF which facilitates predictive forecasting, but a more complete Machine Learning platform and enhanced solution will become available later this year.
Besides presentations about the latest product innovations, also many clients presented their success stories. From their presentations, it became clear that a great added value comes from the XF Marketplace. Most companies start using OneStream for consolidation and budgeting and forecasting. Once these processes are fully implemented, they start extending the value of the platform by adding additional solutions like account reconciliation, cash planning and people planning. Some of the advantages of the Marketplace that the customers mentioned are:
OneStream commits to delivering 100% customer success. During the Splash event we experienced that first hand, with the inspiring keynote, many product innovations, customer success stories and hands-on workshops. OneStream, thank you for having us and we will see you next year.https://www.cpm-view.com/en/breakfast-session-onestream/
We would like to invite you to our OneStream breakfast event. During a delicious breakfast you will be informed in a short time about the possibilities and advantages of OneStream by means of a live demonstration. In addition, there is the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with peers and OneStream specialists.
The market for Corporate Performance Management solutions is accelerating its shift from mature on-premise offerings to cloud solutions. Innovative SaaS solutions are becoming more and more the standard and are replacing the established CPM 1.0 offerings. OneStream offers a modern solution for Financial Consolidation, Reporting, Planning, Analytics and Data Quality in a unified platform. OneStream aims to become the CPM market leader for the Office of Finance.
Curious about the possibilities of OneStream for your organization? Are you responsible for Finance, IT or the administration of your current CPM solution? Sign up, enjoy a delicious breakfast and get to know OneStream’s solutions live.
Costs: There are no costs for participating in this session.
SAP Group Reporting for S/4HANA is a strategic SAP solution for consolidating data directly on the S/4HANA system. The objective of SAP is to combine the best parts of the different consolidation solutions offered by SAP in one consolidation solution integrated in the S/4HANA ERP system.
The principle of “continuous accounting” is applied here in combination with real-time access to financial information. This is achievable because SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting works on the same data as the accounting process, so that no data replication is required. This makes SAP S/4HANA Group Reporting the solution for real-time consolidation.
SAP Group Reporting seamlessly integrates with SAP Analytics Cloud to consolidate and analyse budgets & forecasts.
We would like to keep you informed of the most recent developments in the field of Group Reporting. That is why we have planned a session in which, during a delicious breakfast, we will update you on the latest developments.
SAP S/4 HANA for Group Reporting is SAP’s next generation consolidation and group reporting solution. It is available for all deployment scenarios (on-premise, single and multi-tenant) and is designed to incorporate the best features of prior SAP consolidation solutions. For example, SAP BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation), SAP FC (Financial Consolidation), SAP SEM-BCS (Business Consolidation System). Based on latest product releases*, a short summary is given of key features of this new consolidation and group reporting solution.
Data modelling related to SAP S/4 HANA for Group Reporting is as any other consolidation solution, based on required fields, f.e. dimensions (DIM), consolidation unit (CU) , chart of accounts (CoA) etc. The addition of additional dimensions or reporting items within this new solution is as easy as indicated in the picture to the right (no extra modelling or mapping to add additional dimensions required).
You just mark a check box and additional reporting requirements are added to your data model and become master data. This is all done real-time and without any data replication. So from a master data management perspective a major advantage compared to other CPM vendors. But then again, keep in mind that this major advantage is only available for those companies that have implemented a SAP S/4 HANA for all finance related transactions (ERP).
Data collection can be done by selecting the desired upload method; in this case reading from the Universal document.
The Universal document integration allows for local currency of consolidation unit to be populated from any currency field in Universal Journal (i.e. Functional Currency).
SAP S/4 HANA core accounting master data is real-time available (can be shared (without replication)) and can be extended with master data that is only relevant for consolidation. In other words, consolidation master data can be easily combined with accounting master data. See screenshot below.
When setting-up the validation rules (in the general information tab) you have one, clear view (see screenshot below) for all necessary parameters. For each validation rule an id is created, a name for the validation rule can be given, a tolerance can be precisely set and a control level (e.g. error, warning or information) can be set. You can also enforce a textual comment for each validation rule and it is also possible to visualize the formula that a validation rule uses for the left and right side.
Analysis for Office (AFO) is the reporting solution for the creation of consolidated reports like balance sheets, P&L or Cash Flow Statement. It will be the main facilitator for reporting packs at local and consolidated level.
SAP Analytics Cloud is the reporting solution for visualization of any consolidated or non-consolidated financial information. The use of a live data connection ensures that analysis and process steps can be facilitated by looking at real time data.
When the Digital Boardroom is also used, than management can have interactive discussions using commenting and presentation decks looking at live data at any level and granularity.
Finally we can summarize the following benefits for SAP S/4 HANA for Group Reporting:
* Latest product releases: SAP S/4HANA for Group Reporting Release 1809 (on-premise and single tenant); and SAP S/4HANA Cloud for Group Reporting Release 1905 (multi-tenant)https://www.cpm-view.com/en/cpmview-datamotive-and-ufinity-organized-an-insightful-breakfast-session-on-financial-planning-with-sap-analytics-cloud/
CPMview, DataMotive and Ufinity organized an insightful breakfast session on financial planning with SAP Analytics Cloud.
Tuesday August 6, 2019, Antwerp, Van der Valk hotel.
It was a great success with a very nice breakfast.
Did you miss this breakfast session? There will be a second chance on the 27th of august.
Details will follow!
SAP Group Reporting is the new consolidation solution for SAP on the S/4HANA platform and is available as a cloud and in ‘on-premise (on own server)’ version. SAP Group Reporting runs directly on the financial data in the S/4HANA Finance system and enables direct consolidation without having to transfer the data. This makes a posting in your administration directly visible in the consolidated figures. If part of your organization is not working in the S4/HANA Finance system, the data can be loaded via the SAP Group Reporting Data Collection module. If you want to visualize and present the figures, or add advanced planning & forecasting, the system connects directly to the SAP Analytics Cloud. SAP positions Group Reporting as their new, strategic solution for all customers who want a future-oriented, complete solution. Much is invested in giving this new solution all the functionality, power and experience of all other SAP consolidation solutions. The goal is to provide your organization with the most powerful solution on the S/4HANA Finance platform.
SAP Group Reporting retrieves its data directly from your S/4HANA system, possibly supplemented with external data and manual specifications. After this, the data are validated in accordance with your own requirements. Followed by a currency conversion, possibly manual journals and of course a consolidation to your group structure (or different structures). This consolidation can take place as a matrix, for example by entity, but can also consolidate cost centres over the same data. Of course, this also includes intercompany and equity eliminations.
After that, you report using Embedded Analytics, Analysis for Office, SAP Analytics Cloud, or Disclosure Management. A reporting solution is available for every purpose.
In SAP Group Reporting, SAP has combined much important, useful functionality from their current and previous consolidation solutions. The best features of SAP BPC, BCS, RTC and BPC Optimized are combined on a powerful platform with direct access to the financial and non-financial underlying figures. SAP Group Reporting offers the following advantages:
Not so long ago, we presented you with the latest version of SAP BPC: SAP BPC 11 for BW4/HANA. With SAP Group Reporting another new SAP solution for consolidation is available. Which solution would be best suited for your organisation? Although the answer is not always black and white, the following advice can be followed for most organisations:
SAP BPC 11.1 for BW4/HANA 2.0 was recently released. If we look at the SAP BPC frontend, from a purely functional point of view, this new (sub) version of SAP BPC does not offer any major improvements compared to SAP BPC 11.0. So why is there a new version, if there are no functional changes? The answer to this question can be found under the hood: BPC 11.1 runs on BW4/HANA 2.0. This platform offers considerable advantages and is even more powerful than its predecessor. In this blog we will discuss some of these improvements.
Before we go into the details, we will provide you a little bit of background information. SAP BPC 11.1 for BW4/HANA 2.0′, what a special product name, what are we talking about? SAP BPC, stands for Business Planning and Consolidation: this is SAP’s current solution for customers who want to implement both planning and consolidation in their organization with the software on their own server (on-premise). This server can be located either locally or in a (private) cloud, such as Azure or Amazon. The addition ‘for BW4/HANA 2.0’ tells us that this software runs in the SAP BW, Business Warehouse package, with HANA 2.0 indicating that BW runs on SAP’s latest HANA application and database platform.
The latest version of SAP BPC therefore runs on a hyper-modern platform, ready for the future. Many new developments in the coming years will all take place on this new platform, which makes it an essential prerequisite to be ready for future updates and developments.
SAP itself presents the innovations in the new BW as follows. In the images below we explain a number of innovations:
The new web cockpit is based on SAP Fiori (the well-known tiles) and gives access to a large number of management tasks. With a powerful search function, the BW objects can be searched and opened. Master data can also be edited via the web cockpit. In addition to master data, HANA views can also be opened.
In addition to the web cockpit, a large part of the development work takes place in the Eclipse modeling tools (HANA Studio). In the previous version, the possibilities were still a bit limited. This has now been repaired. Process Chains and Currency Translation Types, for example, can now also be created and edited here. Another powerful option is the Remodeling option, with which objects in a DSO can be automatically replaced by other objects.
An interesting addition, in terms of data integration and development, is the possibility to write data directly to standard DSO’s (datastore objects). For example, there are more possibilities to write back data to BW from SAP Analytics Cloud.
Since the first version of BW4/HANA, SAP has been moving more and more calculations to the HANA in-memory engine. In this way, more and more parts of BW are becoming faster and faster. In BW4/HANA 2.0 even more calculations are transferred to the HANA database, so that various reporting functions can take place much faster. This applies to the TopN, BottomN, LessThan, GreaterThan, NotBetween functions in a report.
Also, much more chart types can be used in SAP Analytics Cloud with live connections to the BW system, such as the Waterfall Chart, Geospatial, Time Series, Variance Chart, Linked Analysis with more than one dimension, Conditions and the Tuple Filter.
The new version of SAP BPC 11 has no direct functional benefits at this time. However, the underlying platform is fully up to date again and therefore offers sufficient possibilities for new developments. Especially for organizations that use a wider landscape of SAP products and/or also use BW directly. In addition, SAP offers support on BPC 11.1 until 2024, while the 11.0 is only supported until 2021. The transition to 11.1 and the new BW4/HANA is therefore not entirely optional, but an important condition for maintaining SAP support in the long term.https://www.cpm-view.com/en/budgeting-forecasting-with-sap-analytics-cloud/
With the best practices of CPMview you can combine data from different departments and layers within your organisation in clear analyses and indispensable forecasts.
Cloud, integration and platform
Damien Wiegman | May 2019 | 15 minutes reading time
The past decade will not be remembered for its technological developments when it comes to corporate performance management (CPM) solutions, but the market is ready for a significant transformation. Recent developments in cloud computing, in-memory computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data infrastructures make it easier to process large amounts of data and to identify risks and opportunities to improve results. How does the, traditionally somewhat conservative, finance role adapt to these developments? How do CPM vendors respond to this? Discover the developments within the CPM landscape.
Corporate Performance Management solutions help the Office of Finance with processes such as Financial Close, Reporting, Budgeting, Planning, Forecasting and Analysis. Figure 1 shows an overview
In recent years we’ve seen an increasing shift in the market from legacy on-premise CPM applications to new innovative cloud solutions. Driven by technological progress, CPM vendors are investing in SaaS solutions to reduce the support costs for their applications, increase flexibility and achieve better ‘time to value’. New CPM cloud solutions are generally more user-friendly and easier to manage than their on-premise predecessors and offer the following advantages:
Conclusion, the CPM market is on the move! Established names in the market such as SAP, Oracle and IBM must develop new solutions to cope with this shift and can no longer rely on their long-established solutions. They must convince their existing customers to go along with this direction and present the customer with a roadmap that meets modern demands and requirements with an acceptable price tag and migration path.
At the same time, the entry barriers for new players in this cloud market are lower than before and these new players are not affected by the difficult transition that existing players have to make. Despite all this, the market is still fairly concentrated, probably due to the relatively high development costs and complexity when it comes to creating new solutions. Nevertheless, players such as OneStream Software, Workiva and Vena Solutions, all founded around the beginning of this decade, have managed to gain an important position in the market for CPM solutions and to advance their established competitors in various ways.
Cloud, integration and platform – the words that spell success? Chances are that if you look at the website of a CPM vendor today you will come across the words cloud, integration and platform repeatedly. The CPM vendors’ strategy is also largely focused on these concepts, although the meaning is not the same for all suppliers. To illustrate this, we put our technology partners SAP and OneStream Software next to each other to see how they substantiate these terms. I would like to state explicitly that this is our own interpretation of SAP and OneStream’s strategic course in this.
SAP is catching up in the cloud market with its own SAP Cloud Platform. SAP offers a high performance in-memory HANA database. A mature ERP suite called S/4 HANA that is built on years of experience in the on-premise market with predecessors such as R/3 and ECC. A digital platform focused on integration and intelligent technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, IoT and Blockchain. SAP has positioned itself for the future as a cloud company with Intelligent Solutions: The Intelligent Enterprise.
SAP emphasises the integrated platform with solutions for Finance, Supply, HR, Sales and Manufacturing. Looking specifically at the CPM market, integration continues because SAP also integrates ERP with CPM within its platform. You could also say that SAP brings operational finance together with planning, budgeting, consolidation and reporting. Hence, C-level topics.
Driven by technological progress, it is possible in SAP’s vision to plan, consolidate and analyse large amounts of data on a high level of detail on master data. Bringing Finance and CPM together in one platform guarantees data quality, one definition, a faster close or even continuous accounting, and complete transparency and audit trail. It’s no longer necessary to transfer the local figures of entities from the local accounting systems to a CPM solution for the Group Close, for example. The consolidation functionality is directly available in the S/4 HANA Finance suite where the local close and group close are two sides of the same coin. All this can be illustrated as below, see figure 3:
SAP is fully committed to integrate ERP and CPM together in a total Finance solution. Cloud-based in terms of architecture and delivery using modern and intelligent technologies. An ambitious strategy with possibly a number of implications for its CPM applications.
Due to the wide-ranging SAP innovations within the platform, in which we can safely say that the ERP layer (the basis) has the first priority, SAP can potentially fall a bit behind in terms of development of its CPM cloud solutions compared to the competition in the market.
SAP Group Reporting is the new strategic solution by SAP for Financial Consolidation and the Group Close. The product only recently entered the market and is therefore not yet mature or proven, but promises a broad and advanced package of functionality for the future. SAP combines the best of its various on-premise consolidation solutions in this new solution. We are talking about SAP BW-BCS, SAP BPC (formerly Outlooksoft) and SAP Financial Consolidation (formerly Cartesis).
SAP Group Reporting was primarily developed as an integrated solution within the S/4 landscape and can be rolled out both in the cloud and on-premise, see figure 4 for an overview of Group reporting architecture. SAP Group Reporting is also available as a standalone public cloud solution separate from operational accounting and other ERP functionalities in S/4 HANA.
In addition to Group Reporting, SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is SAP’s strategic FP&A solution. SAP Analytics Cloud brings business intelligence and planning functionalities together in one product and uses machine learning and AI for predictive analytics. Together with Group Reporting and S/4 Finance, SAC offers a total financial management solution for Actuals, Budget and Forecasts within the S/4 landscape.
SAP is offering a very advanced and wide range of CPM functionality within its S/4 platform in the near future. A game changer, a total package in which its own database technology, ERP solutions and CPM solutions come together in one financial management system. In particular for full swing S/4 customers, it’s a very nice proposition.
In addition to the innovative cloud portfolio, in the coming years SAP customers can still opt for mature and proven on-premise solutions such as SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC). In a managed hosting scenario in the modern BW/4 HANA landscape with full integration of SAP Analytics Cloud a complete, proven and modern standalone CPM solution.
The words platform and integration are also central to OneStream. OneStream is offered both on-premise and in the cloud where migration from one scenario to another is just a matter of hours. In short, developed in its DNA as a cloud solution with maximum IT deployment scenarios.
Yet the words platform and integration have a different meaning here than for SAP. OneStream is designed to be an independent CPM solution, not linked to a preferred ERP application and solution.
At OneStream, platform means one unified solution for Financial Consolidation, Reporting, Planning, Analytics and Data quality all in one product. In addition, the OneStream SmartCPM™ platform has its own MarketPlace of additional solutions. This can be compared to the AppStore (MarketPlace) on your iPhone (Platform). As a OneStream user it’s possible to continuously download new solutions into the OneStream platform such as Account Reconciliation and specialty planning solutions for HR (people planning), Sales, Capital and Cash Planning. But also workflow solutions to keep a better grip on the completion, like a Task Manager and Close Manager. And more recent solutions to meet the requirements of IFRS 16 or advanced dashboard capabilities.
Platform therefore stands for integration of the most important CPM processes for the Office of Finance. Continuous innovation via the XF MarketPlace, flexibility without direct dependence on the structures of one ERP, and advanced methods to integrate (master) data from different sources while maintaining data quality. A platform that can deal with heterogeneous landscapes and offers the flexibility for organisations to include new companies in their financial reports outside of clearly defined ERP structures. A platform that wants to meet the best CPM solutions for the many without optimising it specifically for a particular ERP solution.
A stand-alone CPM solution always comes with some important points of attention. First of all, how can the solution handle master data management and master data governance issues between different applications? What are the performance implications when a large detail of source data is needed for management reporting purposes? What is the actual implementation time required to integrate data and source systems in a heterogeneous landscape? And how does the system cope with the inevitable duplication of data (single source of truth) and associated data quality topics? Also for OneStream implementations, sufficient attention must be paid to these topics.
The CPM landscape is on the move. There’s plenty of choice for organisations that are looking to replace their current CPM 1.0 solutions for the Office of Finance. Do you strategically choose the all-in solutions by major vendors such as SAP and Oracle and do you achieve economies of scale from your investment in the longer term? Do these vendors offer the best tailor-made solutions for your complex organisation? Are these solutions flexible and cost-efficient enough to keep pace with market developments?
Or do you want an independent CPM 2.0 solution built with the aim of offering the best CPM experience? Solutions that are flexible, independent and integrate with a multitude of G/L and ERP systems. Where ownership and management can primarily lie within the Office of Finance.
We continue to follow these developments with great interest. Do you want more information about our SAP or OneStream services? Need help making the right choice for your next CPM solution?