Cross-functional planning application for a regional utilities companyUtilities, Chemicals & Process Industry
Our customer´s requirement was to be able to execute planning tasks in a consistent and integrated manner. In order to create integrated Profit-and-Loss and Balance-Sheet plan data, several planning applications have been designed and implemented by EPM Data.
The biggest challenge was that the company requested an integrated, multi-module planning application. While some companies are able to create plan P&L and B/S statements directly, this was not an acceptable planning procedure at this company.
The P&L and B/S plan statements should instead be the result of planning activities in specialized sub-modules. The design and development activities of these modules had to be closely monitored using project management standards and technological best practices. Interfaces had to be designed to ensure system integrity and data consistency across the planning modules.
Together with the customer, EPM Data developed an integrated, customer-specific solution. SAP BI-IP was used together with the Excel-based BEx-Analyzer frontend. The solution had following characteristics:
- Specialized modules were created for the planning of balance sheet accounts, revenues, overhead costs and asset/project controlling:
Some balance sheet accounts were planned directly. Revenues had to be planned on planning positions using multiple characteristics of the customer dimension. Overhead costs were planned on cost centers as well as on internal orders as cost-carrying objects. Assets and investment positions were among the most complex objects, as the hierarchical structures of the ERP master data had to be used in planning.
- The frontend was Excel-based and required a high amount of VBA-programming:
The planning layouts were built up with SAP´s Excel-based frontend. Makro-programming was required to enable flexibility and communication with the backend.
- Planning functions were developed in the SAP BW backend using both ABAP and FOX programming techniques:
All planning functions that had to be developed were categorized according to their complexity and difficulty. Based on this categorization, the best suited technological approach has been selected. Customized SAP standard planning functions were used for standard tasks. FOX functions were created for rather easy, but customer-specific functionality. Finally, the most demanding planning functions were created using ABAP programming skills.
Within a project duration of only 12 months, EPM Data delivered a complex, integrated planning application in a fixed-price project environment. Despite the scope of this endeavour, the solution was user-friendly and custom-designed to gain high user-acceptance.
By using this integrated planning solution, the planning process of formerly isolated modules was streamlined. The resulting data quality of the P&L and B/S plan statements was high due to the integrated and real-time data transfer across the planning modules.