SAP’s Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) application is aptly named.

That is because the world’s most advanced all-round enterprise performance management software includes particularly outstanding capabilities for tasks such as operational business planning.

Operational plans differ from the strategic sort. Strategic plans typically involve whole organisations, look forward three-to-five years and are high-level documents. Operational plans, on the other hand, usually: define actions and targets for individual departments or teams; cover shorter timeframes, such as 12 months; and can include hundreds of projects.

On top of clear, measurable goals, the best operational plans often specify criteria for their elements such as who is accountable, resourcing and timeframes. Such plans also frequently reflect relevant ongoing demands, such as the needs to minimise spending and achieve required service levels, plus current considerations like supply availability, production capacity and transport options.

This is not to say operational planning cannot have cross-functional implications: a marketing team executing an appropriate plan successfully should produce more leads for sales specialists, for example. Nor is operational planning an alternative to the strategic sort…successful businesses tend to do both well.

Yet too many organisations still base their operational planning on little more than executive hunches, with departmental managers entering numbers they hope will achieve their goals manually into outdated tools, such as spreadsheets. Only when this process is complete might it become apparent that a company’s projected expenses are too high or its envisaged income too low, for example, so the already long and cumbersome procedure must be wholly or partly revisited.

In contrast, SAP BPC – containing ultra-fast-to-deploy, fully customisable templates – takes operational planning to the next level by automating the process. The system’s power and versatility allow it to:

  • Handle vast data volumes, including across multinational networks
  • Integrate easily with other business systems…it works with SAP and non-SAP data alike
  • Dovetail with multiple support platforms – including SAP HANA, SAP BW/4HANA, SAP NetWeaver and Microsoft
  • Offer hybrid deployment with SAP Analytics Cloud
  • Have functionality added easily


SAP BPC delivers seven key user benefits over traditional operational planning methods. These are:

  1. A much faster process. By automating and streamlining operational planning to an unrivalled standard, SAP BPC delivers much quicker calculations and completion. It therefore enables organisations to speed up overall planning cycles, close their books more rapidly, and benefit by implementing their updated plans earlier. It also means staff spend less time plotting future activity and more adding value for their employers here and now.
  2. Vastly reduced errors. The solution greatly diminishes the scope for mistakes in operational planning and therefore the time needed to identify and resolve them. It does this through automatically performing checks and balances of reconciliations as it goes, which ensure completeness and accuracy, for example. Where human errors occur, the system provides ready traceability right back to the original input, if necessary.
  3. The ability to amend data easily. SAP BPC’s user-friendly, intuitive interfaces are gateways to operators being able to change operational planning variables without fuss, where needed. In addition to permitting routine amendments, the solution allows organisations to undertake tasks such as what-if analyses and scenario planning. They can therefore change data to model different visions of the future and assess potential outcomes.
  4. Single versions of operational plans, accessible across whole organisations. Few things are more frustrating for businesses than conflicting figures existing within their operational plans for important metrics, such as those that will contribute to profit and loss account totals. SAP BPC banishes this danger by providing a single version of the truth, across an organisation. It therefore ensures that if a company’s sales director is then preparing a board report on its anticipated overall inflows during the following year and its north-west sales manager is simultaneously developing targets for area managers, they will be accessing the same projected regional income, for example.
  5. The option for plans to contain information that is right up to date. Companies can base their operational plans on real-time data, which they can access, without the need for replication, by acquiring the version of SAP BPC that is optimised for the SAP S/4HANA suite of business tools. This application provides assets such as all the renowned flexibility of SAP BPC and power of SAP S/4HANA, a proven significant aid to operational planning, in a single package.
  6. More insightful decision making, based on the plans. SAP BPC’s sophisticated functionality goes beyond merely supplying information. It also enables operational planners to better understand important connections between discrete pieces of data, for example. In these and other ways, it therefore helps managers reach better and more confident decisions about the future, including those leading to important outcomes, such as income being maximised and spending minimised.
  7. The facility to adapt and grow comfortably with changing business needs. You can read here how multinational manufacturer the SKF Group joined the list of organisations which Opal Wave has upgraded seamlessly from one version of SAP BPC to the next, when their changed circumstances warranted this. SAP BPC’s versatility, including its ability to have functionality added easily and accept data readily from other source systems, also means if a user organisation grows by acquiring a non-user, for example, issues over matters such as data aggregation and system differentiation can be non-existent.

Uniquely, Opal Wave offers a managed cloud version of SAP BPC, the BPC Cloud, on which clients can literally Go Live in a Day™. Our unique implementation process provides an alternative to the traditional on-premise approach. BPC Cloud requires no on-premise hardware and services. Opal Wave’s rapid deployment model makes SAP BPC affordable for all enterprises, irrespective of size or sector.