Book review: SAP Analytics Cloud – Financial Planning and Analysis (SAP Press)

Posted by Xavier Hacking

Another review on yet another SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) book? Oh yes! This time I read SAP Analytics Cloud – Financial Planning and Analysis, again by SAP Press, and I was very glad to see this 450+ pages strong book on SAC Planning being announced some time ago. 

Few may know that planning is actually the original pillar that SAC was built on. Back in 2015, the very first version of SAC was called SAP Cloud for Planning and it was aimed at being a pure SaaS planning solution! Nowadays the focus of most users may be on reporting and analytics in SAC stories and applications, using the live data connections instead of acquired data models, but still plannings is an important part of SAC. So I think it’s good to have a dedicated book for this, especially as certain SAC planning concepts are completely different from the reporting and analytics side of SAC. Think of designing and managing acquired planning models vs. using live models, working with different data versions, planning-specific features as data actions, allocations, using the built-in calendar, etc.

What I like is that not just the technical options are listed in this book, but also the overall processes in financial planning are introduced and explained. What are we actually trying to achieve here, who is involved and what are the steps? This makes it so much easier to grasp the concepts and (technical) solutions that are offered in SAC. By the way, the sales planning sample scenario that is used throughout the book is based one of the business content packages for SAC: Sales Planning for SAP S/4HANA Cloud (SAP Best Practices). Unfortunately I only figured this out after going through almost the full book, as only at the very end there is a chapter on several business content samples. But it could be helpful if you’d want to try a couple of things yourself, without having to build up a complete model first, load the data etc.

The book shows you step-by-step how to design such a planning model from scratch, including (public) dimensions, hierarchies, currency conversions, data loading and defining security. This is all extremely detailed and I’ve discovered several cool options I didn’t even know about! Also automation concepts as the data actions and data allocations are described and demonstrated in-depth.

Just as with the introduction on planning processes in general, I like the attention that is given to the management approach of the whole planning process. The SAC calendar can be used to facilitate these workflows. The book ends with chapters on best practices (including the business content models as I mentioned before), release management and troubleshooting. 

So I really like this book, especially for users that already have a certain level of experience with SAC. For example if you’ve already built stories and applications for pure reporting purposes, this book will get you up to speed quickly on the planning part.

If you’re really new to SAC in general I’d always recommend to look at some more introductory material first to get a bit more familiar with the tool. The book does have some short sections on working with stories, apps and the Excel plugins (and unfortunately also some pages are wasted on the Digital Boardroom, but okay…), but it will only give you a quick glance of what is possible. The recent OpenSAP training on SAP Analytics Cloud or the book on SAC by Abassin Sidiq are good entry points and are very complementary to SAP Analytics Cloud – Financial Planning and Analysis.

SAP Analytics Cloud – Financial Planning and Analysis
Satwik Das, Marius Berner, Suvir Shahani, Ankit Harish
468 pages,  2022
E-book formats: EPUB, MOBI, PDF, online
ISBN 978-1-4932-2237-7 - Aug 16, 2022 | Books, Review, SAP Analytics Cloud
Tagged | , , ,

Leave a Reply