Getting Started in SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning
Welcome to SAP Analytics Cloud, your end to end solution for planning and analytics. Congratulations on taking the first steps towards a more collaborative, successful enterprise. Read on for a high-level overview of the product, as well as some key features that will immediately bring value to your business.
Here’s a few things you’ll want to take a look at to get started.
Here you can explore sample stories, create your first story and learn more about SAP Analytics Cloud. The top left corner of your page is the main menu, where you can access most functions of SAP Analytics Cloud.
In the top right corner, you have a search button, a quick link to the search to insight feature, notifications, discussions, and help.
Your system administration functions live in the main menu. Check out the resources in the Setting up SAP Analytics Cloud playlist for more details on how to get started.
- In the security area, you’ll find role management,
- In deployment, you can import or export files,
- In connections, you can add and remove new connections,
- And in system, you can monitor your usage as well as update your security, r configurations, notifications, and more.
For help setting up connections check out the Help Portal Connection Guide.
Creating a Model
Also in the main menu, one of the most important items is the Create button.
As you can see, there are many options that pop up from this menu item. Please note, your menu might look different if you have a different permission level, or, you are using a trial version. From here, we can access most of the functions within the application.
To get started with our planning process, you’ll want to create a planning model. You can do this by moving data from a data source, importing a file from your computer, or starting with a blank model.
Planning Models allow you to set up budgets, forecasts, create different versions of model data and use other planning features. They must include Time, Category, and Account dimensions, but can also have any number of generic dimensions. To learn more about setting up a planning model check out this resource.
Core Planning Processes
The core planning features in SAP Analytics Cloud are Allocations, Value Driver Trees, and Data Actions. You can find these under the Create menu in Process.
Allocations is a functionality which distributes data from a sender to a receiver based on different rules. This involves splitting values into multiple cells and storing those values in target data. In SAP Analytics Cloud you can spread, distribute, and assign values. Spreading refers to taking funds from a higher hierarchy level and assigning to lower hierarchy levels. Distributing refers to moving funds to different cells at the same hierarchical level, and assigning adds new values, or replaces values in cells. Users can also create allocation rules. For more detailed information on allocations check out this article.
Value Driver Trees (VDTs)
Value Driver Trees are a visual tool to help you budget, forecast and scenario plan. They are a concept primarily to help you create driver-based simulations and scenarios.
Using this visual tool, users can easily see how different areas of your business impact each other by making use of the different nodes. The different nodes include data source nodes, YOY nodes, union nodes, and simple calculation nodes. These are a great way to run simulations of different scenarios before making business decisions. To create a VDT, you will need an underlying model as well as the time range that you would like to operate within. To learn more about creating your first VDT, check out this help article.
Data actions allow you to perform any necessary action on top of your planning data. These actions can be used to create new versions, copy data between different parts of your model, or create complex transformations. Data actions are designed on top of your model and can then be executed by users within stories. Data actions consist of different steps, that can then be carried out within stories. The steps are: copy actions, cross-model copy actions, allocation actions and advanced formulas actions. To explore more details about data actions, check out this guide.
Use the Stories feature to visualize your data in SAP Analytics Cloud and to enter data into your plans. Stories can hold charts, tables, Value Driver Trees, forecasts and more. This is where the bulk of collaboration occurs. Stories can be shared throughout your organization to ensure plans are the single source of truth.
Not sure where to start with building a story? Use a Business content network package, or a template.
There are many more features in SAP Analytics Cloud for Planning that will help you improve your planning processes. Here are a few others to check out:
Create private versions of plans while working with your data and share with select people when ready. This allows planners to carry out scenarios in private, before sharing viable options with stakeholders. Once shared, it’s easy to get feedback and input using SAP Analytics Cloud’s robust collaboration features.
SAP Analytics Cloud has a number of features to help your team collaborate. These include a calendar feature to assign tasks and stay organized, sharing features for your stories, and commenting and discussion features. This way, your team only needs to refer to one single source of truth when planning.
To discover more collaboration opportunities, check out this further reading.
Machine learning helps you plan faster. Create time-series predictive scenarios on the fly based off of your historical data.
This function is available when a user selects a data point within a story. SAP Analytics Cloud will then predict possible forecasts.
To learn more about predictive forecasting, check out Introduction to Smart Predict.