SAP Business Planning Best Practices

14 SAP Business Planning Best Practices [Checklist]

Table of Contents

Are You Using These Business Planning Best Practices?


SAP has many Business Planning solutions, including SAP BPC (Business Planning & Consolidation), SEM BPS (Strategic Enterprise Management, Business Planning & Simulation), Business Intelligence, Integrated Planning, and as well, Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)

Each SAP Business Planning product provides different performance planning capabilities and most companies do not use all of them.  However, there are some common Business Planning Best Practices you should be aware of when selecting and implementing any of these solutions or any of the industry solutionsSAP Business Planning Consolidation works much better when you follow these.


SAP BPC and SAP SEM Budgeting and Planning

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  1. All Budgets and forecasts are done at the same aggregation level (details of forecasts as well as actuals).

  2. Simulation of Budget and forecasts can be automatically produced or results simulated using any of several key business drivers (e.g. revenue growth estimates).

    This provides robust scenario planning capabilities.

  3. Budget and forecast simulations can be automatically produced or results simulatedThis capability is key to the overall decision making assistance provided by the SAP Enterprise Performance Management (SAP EPM) suite of products including within SAP Analytics Cloud.  All of these systems work on top of the SAP Netweaver Platform and as well, SAP HANA Analytics.

  4. Budgeting and forecasting is a continuous loop process of planning, measuring and simulation that relies on up-to-date insight from multiple functions and regions.  Budgeting and forecasting sales processes that take 9 months, are, to quote one CEO, from the 1950s.

  5. Meet top-down strategic objectives and plan from the bottom up.

  6. Move from an accounting-based forecast to a business driver-based forecast (use language the business understands).

  7. Reduce the complexity of the budget and allow users to supply additional detail where necessary.

  8. Standardized planning models are used throughout the organization ensuring consistency and comparability of submitted results.

  9. The annual budget is tied back to the most recent forecast.

  10. The company is using rolling forecasts as the basis for their budget.

  11. The forecasting system allows users to directly access standardized input forms or electronically distribute standardized templates at the beginning of the planning cycle.

  12. The forecasting system leads the user through the forecasting process without any required additional training.

  13. The forecasting system uses a central server environment to eliminate budget consolidations and manual re-entry of data.  All personnel responsible for budget inputs have web based data entry forms.  This greatly improves data quality, consistency, and repeatability.

  14. The planning and forecasting process is collaborative, allowing for supervisors to review and approve the status at any point in time while individuals work together on the creation of the plans/forecasts in a virtual team environment.  That's why facilitating effective teamwork is essential to success for this process.


Business planning, budgeting and forecasting is a complex process.  Today's business environment demands a simple, yet sophisticated and powerful, interactive tool to support the process, so the process is more about thinking about the business issues versus wrestling with the tool.  Creativity, discipline, numeracy, among many skillsets, are required of both SAP Consultants, SAP Partners and customers to design, build, deliver, and continuously improve the process to achieve the desired results.

Go 'Beyond Budgeting'

If you, like many BPC consultants, want a quick reference checklist of available BPC planning functions, you can get ours by clicking the button below.


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Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP

About the Author: Lonnie Ayers is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing consultant, with additional certifications in Hubspot Content Optimization, Hubspot Contextual Marketing, and is a Hubspot Certified Partner. Specialized in demand generation and sales execution, especially in the SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Partner space, he has unique insight into the tough challenges Service Providers face with generating leads and closing sales using the latest digital tools. With 15 years of SAP Program Management experience, and dozens of complex sales engagements under his belt, he helps partners develop and communicate their unique sales proposition. Frequently sought as a public speaker in various events, he is available for both inhouse engagements and remote coaching.
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He also recently released a book "How to Dominate Any Market - Turbocharging Your Digital Marketing and Sales Results", which is available on Amazon.

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