As the corporate performance management (CPM) market grows and evolves, there is growing recognition in the market of the role and value CPM solutions play versus ERP systems in today’s enterprise. ERP and CPM (a.k.a. EPM) systems are related, and need to work together - but they are focused on different purposes.
ERPs Run the Business – CPM Manages the Business
ERP systems are often thought of as the central nervous system of the enterprise and are essential to the effective execution of day to day transactional activities. CPM systems can be thought of as the “brain” of the enterprise, helping to align and coordinate goals, objectives, financial and operational plans and execution across the enterprise. Both systems are critical to the success of an organization. ERP systems are used to run the business, CPM systems are used to manage the business and make critical decisions
CPM systems source most of their data from internal systems including ERP, but also human capital management (HCM), customer relationship management (CRM), and increasingly external sources such as web sites, social media and industry information. And while single-instance ERP has been a goal of many IT organizations, the reality is that most large enterprises have multiple ERPs in use across their various subsidiaries and locations. Therefore, an enterprise-class CPM solution must be capable of integrating and mapping data from multiple ERPs and other sources.
Leveraging SAP Investments with CPM
Many large enterprises have invested in SAP ERP systems to run their businesses, and SAP data warehouse systems to capture large volumes of transactional data for decision-making. Some have standardized on SAP across all operations, while others run a mixed environment of SAP as well as other ERP systems.
Whatever the case, a unified CPM platform helps organizations leverage their ERP investments by integrating data from all ERPs and other sources, validating and consolidating that data to create a single version of the truth and “system of record” for consolidating financial results, external financial reporting, internal management reporting, financial and operational planning, analysis and effective decision-making.
Having direct integration to SAP and other ERPs and data sources is critical to having effective and agile reporting and planning processes, and the ability to make fast and informed decisions that can impact corporate performance.
Integrating SAP to OneStream
This was the focus of a recent webinar hosted by OneStream partner inlumi titled: “All the World’s a Stage – Integrating SAP to OneStream.” The webinar was led by Francisco Amores, MDM and Data Integration Lead at inlumi, who has over 12 years of experience designing and building CPM integration solutions. Here’s a quick summary of the key topics he covered in the webinar.
Mr. Amores started off providing an overview of how data is integrated from multiple sources and “staged” in OneStream. OneStream has the ability to integrate data from any source via APIs or Web Services and can also load data via flat files and Excel spreadsheets. Whatever the integration method, it’s in the Stage engine that data is transformed, validated and then loaded into the financial model for processing – whether for financial consolidation, planning, forecasting, and various types of analysis.
In OneStream, data is available to users for reporting and analysis via virtual “cubes” where users can view and analyze summary data, then drill down into the details in the Stage engine, and then drill further back to the original transactional details from the source system.
Mr. Amores then highlighted the key benefits of direct, seamless integration between OneStream and the source systems. These benefits included:
- CPM processes are faster and more reliable – direct integration eliminates manual extraction processes and data latency, reduces the amount of data that needs to be imported, and eliminates the need for intermediate data integration tools
- Data Quality, audit and reconciliation – direct integration eliminates the need for manual adjustments on source files and facilitates a direct trace back from the financial model to source systems details.
- Helps you to reclaim your life – meaning users don’t have to work as many hours during crunch times such as month-end or quarter-end close and reporting.
He then provided details about how OneStream integrates directly with a variety of SAP data sources. This includes SAP R/3 and ECC (ERP Central Component), A1 (Business All-in-one), BI (Business Intelligence) and BW (Business Warehouse), SAP S/4 HANA and SAP BW/4HANA, and HANA 1.0/2.0.
OneStream leverages several approaches for direct integration with SAP data sources. These connections need to be built only once for ongoing integration with SAP:
- XF Connector for SAP® R/3 and BW (using TheObald ERPConnect)
- Native .NET Http Classes (Web Services)
- ODBC Driver for SAP HANA
Amores then provided detailed examples of how several of these integrations are configured and how they work, including HANA ODBC Driver and the SAP Integration Connector. And he demonstrated the power of OneStream to support “round trip” integration with SAP by loading Profit Center balances from GLPCT, as seen in the graphic below:
Then validating that all imported data was mapped to the target intersections, loading data into the target financial model/cube, drilling down to the Stage from reports and dashboards. Then drilling back into the transaction details in SAP GLPCA as shown below.
This webinar provided a short, but powerful overview and demonstration of the ability OneStream provides organizations to leverage their investments in SAP ERP and data warehouse systems, as well as other data sources. OneStream provides direct and seamless integration to a unified, SmartCPMTM platform that can be deployed in the cloud or on-premise to support consolidations, financial and management reporting, planning, forecasting and analysis for Finance and line of business users.
To learn more, watch the replay of the inlumi webinar or contact OneStream to learn more about how we can help you leverage your investments in SAP and other data sources.