SAP Planning in the Cloud - Stand-alone or Live Connection


SAP Analytics Cloud has been the strategic choice for planning within SAP's portfolio for several years now. Based on our experience working with both the stand alone planning within SAC as well as via the live connection, we believe these are the two clear options to go about planning within SAP portfolio.

SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) is a solution focused on three pillars:

  • Analytics – powerful visualizations and self-service BI
  • Predictive – advanced and automated analytics including Smart Insights, Smart Discovery and prebuilt algorithms
  • Planning – operational and financial planning

Reporting, budgeting, forecasting, predictive analytics and collaboration – one integrated planning solution.


The first option to be considered is Stand-alone planning in the cloud.

SAP provides you with Business Content that can help jump-start your planning journey in SAP Analytics Cloud across various Lines of Business. Data is imported from an underlying system (presumably SAP S/4HANA or BW/4HANA as well as any third-party system) into our Planning model in SAC. In this case, the data is stored in the cloud. Our planners now have all the information and functionalities needed to successfully perform all kinds of planning activities. SAC provides the following content:

  • Sales
  • Workforce
  • Profitability
  • Product cost
  • Cost center Planning

SAC includes a planning workflow, what-if simulations and cost/budget allocation functionalities that planning teams can leverage to make an accurate and time-efficient business plan. SAC supports both top-down and bottom-up planning, so it is suitable for all types of planning processes. Multiple plan versions can be used at the same time combined with variance analysis. Examples of this are Actual /Plan or even Plan 2021/Plan 2022.

SAP has also integrated Analytics Cloud into Excel, meaning that users can now leverage SAC planning functionalities within Excel: a tool they are probably already using and are very familiar with.

Once the planning process is finished, planning data can be exported back to SAP S/4HANA or BW/4HANA for various purposes.

Live connection option

Planning via the live connection is less elaborate when compared to stand-alone planning, as the planning options of the former are limited to grid-like planning.
This way SAC functions as a substitute for Analysis for Office, where planning input is done via Excel. The advantage of planning via the live connection is that no data needs to be replicated to the cloud, as SAC only acts as the intermediate between the user and the database.

Similar to previous SAP planning applications, the planning functions can be used to enhance the data and perform calculations. In the webinar we will showcase planning functionalities that can be triggered from the SAC planning dashboard, making a separate interface for this process redundant.

Planning via live connection can be enhanced with data retrieval via live connection, which gives a broader spectrum of possibilities in the representation of the planned data (e.g. graphs and charts).

SAC users should be aware of the fact that a BPC licence is needed to do planning via a live connection.

Co-Authors: Harmen Klapwijk and Erik Delpeut

Do you want to know more about SAP Planning in the Cloud?

To tell and show you more regarding both these options, their advantages and our recommendations on planning in the cloud, we kindly invite you to register for our webinar on the 8th of September. Click here to join.

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About the author

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Enis Zornić

Enis Zornić is a SAP BW/SAC Consultant at Expertum

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