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Comparing Spreadsheet Alternatives in SAP
4 min read

Comparing Spreadsheet Alternatives in SAP

Spreadsheets are a standard tool for any finance guru. They’re easy to get up and running, everyone knows how to use them, and they have a lot of flexibility. Many continue to refer to Microsoft Excel as the number one business intelligence (BI) tool since it is so commonly used. As your business grows, however, critical data is spread out across many complex and difficult to maintain spreadsheets. The risk of introducing hard to find and highly impactful errors increases significantly, and it becomes difficult to scale to new scenarios. A more sophisticated data analysis tool is required. 

Your senior managers need current, accurate, and easily interpreted information to inform and drive decisions that put your business ahead of its competitors. We compare some of the different spreadsheet alternatives in SAP for financial reporting in our first SAP Pro Tip. 

Excel Spread Sheets Add-In for SAP Analytics Cloud 

Perhaps your team is apprehensive about abandoning excel sheets altogether, so your business considers making Analysis for Office the frontend for your SAC application. This solution allows your business to connect to data from multiple sources and visually analyze your information to see the full picture of your business. It also ensures that your end users can still work on Excel for their data entry while simultaneously taking advantage of the increased reporting functionality in SAP Analytics Cloud. This new add-in can be accessed from the Microsoft Store for anyone who is already an SAP Analytics Cloud customer. It does not require any setup or installation and can be used on both Windows and Apple devices. 

Leveraging SAP Analytics Cloud in addition to Excel spreadsheets means empowering your business with capabilities that extend far beyond revenue planning, cost center budgeting and activity planning. It provides simulation capabilities based on historical data. The results of these simulations can then be stored back into S/4HANA for easy storage and reference. As an existing SAP customer, this can be an excellent opportunity to encourage collaboration and analysis based on trends. 

With SAC, your business will have the opportunity to align all your existing accounting processes together and make better decisions accordingly. 

Using SAC represents a significant improvement but consider this: If your business handles a lot of secure data, using Analysis for Office (AO) will require a necessary login portal to restrict access. Connecting AO to SAP BPC will now become an expensive endeavour. If scaling the solution to a larger group of users is important to your business, consider the following option.   

The Out-of-the-Box BPC Easy Editor  

In a co-innovation project done with a Government Agency, our team faced a similar challenge. The Agency found that the ConvergentIS BPC Easy Editor application was a more cost-effective strategy to provide simplified access to review and edit budget information with a secure solution. Managers can access a local browser, log in to a portal and connect to BPC via a Fiori application. The interface was designed to be simple to use and comfortably familiar to those that love spreadsheets. No specialized training was needed.  

Standard features of this application allow users to review the data and update editable fields. The data that is presented and made available for the edit is based on the same queries as drive AO, so the setup is straightforward and consistent with your overall implementation.  If you continue to use AO and update a query, those same changes are reflected in BPC Easy Editor. Other standard features include access to supporting information/reports and a reviewer interface once data has been submitted for approval. Reviewers can choose to accept or reject the submission, even on a mobile device. BPC Easy Editor users can handle standard editing and approval actions with superb user experience and more cost-effectively than with Analysis for Office. For those users on embedded BPC 11 that require simple web reporting and planning capabilities, BPC Easy Editor provides a simple and secure Fiori interface without the need for AO/SAC. 

Combined with the power of SAC, your business can leverage a genuinely intuitive interface for data entry that connects directly to your SAP system, with more frequent updates. 

Say Goodbye to Disorganized Spreadsheets 

As a trusted SAP partner, the ConvergentIS team can help you get the most out of a combination of any of the tools mentioned. These tools excel (no pun intended) at providing the modelling and analytics that your business demands; and surpass the capabilities of standard Excel spreadsheets. ConvergentIS is equipped to help your team deploy these financial modelling and budgeting solutions seamlessly with your environment. You might have questions about what this solution will look like for end users or if your solution's current version is compatible with SAC. If this is the case, we encourage you to visit our SAP Analytics Cloud page.   

Saying goodbye to spreadsheets is just the first of many SAP Hacks the ConvergentIS team wanted to share. To make the most of your ERP system, we encourage you to sign up for email notifications for our second article in this series.