Integrating a cloud based planning and analysis tool with SAP to provide a better company wide solution

Planning and Analysis Integration_desktop


Globally the client, a world leader in alcoholic beverages, had systems for consolidation of plans and reporting, both internally and externally. However, they had no single global system for operational financial planning and analysis. Different businesses and different regions were each selecting and using their own tools.

Each of these tools required the manual transfer of data, sourced via daily batches from the BW system. Manual data transfer is always subject to error, imposes excessive time delays (leading to reduced capability to change/update), is not always in the ‘granularity’ required for planning and is subject to disruption caused by other priorities (monthly R&O deadlines). In addition, the proliferation of global data in local data warehouses posed a data consistency, governance and security risk.

One of the business units in the U.S. was pioneering the use of a third party, cloud based planning and analysis tool. This tool is extremely flexible, easy to configure and use by non-technical staff and therefore suitable for different businesses and different geographies, i.e. a candidate global solution. Its acceptability and fast adoption as a global solution was judged to depend on 2 factors:-

  • Easy and timely access to SAP transactional data allowing comparison of plan against actuals.
  • Direct load of data from external distributor data sources to provide early and specific indicators of performance.

Unfortunately it appeared that the tool could not be easily, automatically and seamlessly integrated with the client’s SAP systems.

The Solution

The client sought the support of Pivot, who had previously demonstrated their expertise in integration during a review of the client’s integration architecture strategy and subsequent successful integration projects.

The Pivot consultants worked with the client’s team to advise on the right solution not only for the specific business requirement, but also one which was flexible and re-usable for other businesses in other parts of the world, should they wish to adopt the same tool.

The solution involved the development of Web Services to enable external applications to request data refreshes and updates on demand from the backend systems. In this way a set of generic assets were exposed, which could address both the immediate Anaplan requirements and provide a platform for any future market initiatives. Moving to an “On Demand” environment released the users from the constraints of the old batch driven framework allowing them speedier updates following data corrections, removed all manual data load and manipulation steps, gave the users control over their own data and therefore more accurate reports and shorter closing periods.

Implemented using standard SAP PI and ABAP technology, the Pivot part of the overall project was delivered on time with just over 100 consultancy days over a period of 4-5 months. Following completion of the initial go live, the solution was handed over to the support organisation through a series of knowledge transfer sessions. Subsequently, the client has rolled out the solution throughout the remaining North American business units without Pivot assistance.

The lead Pivot consultant is a great guy and would recommend him unequivocally, he is dedicated, knowledgeable and has a pragmatism for reality, a focus on cost and value for money which delighted us. 

Project Leader from the Integration Architecture Strategy Project

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