Fans celebrating at at football matchToday at the FP&A Innovation Summit in San Diego, I had the privilege of delivering the keynote to a marquee audience of finance professionals with Dr Rouven Bergmann, CFO SAP North America. We talked about “The Rise of the Analytical CFO” and how “Technology Innovation” around Cloud and Analytics is driving financial transformation today. Yet when we look at recent research we find that a very large percentage of finance professionals are still struggling with financial applications that were supposed to make their job easier.

At SAP we took on the challenge of making Finance Simpler. I’m very happy to announce SAP Cloud for Planning (view press release), a brand new built-for-SaaS planning and analysis application. Designed and developed by some of SAP’s best engineers and designers, this solution is like no other. In the words of Gerrit Kazmaier, Head of Engineering for SAP Cloud for Planning , “Few would have thought SAP could make such a dramatic leap in design and user-oriented software. We are walking the talk, doing things simpler. And we deal with the complexity that is inherent to the business in a smart way.”

We achieved this new paradigm in design by focusing on the people, the users, rather than on the system, the technology. And truly understanding what the needs of our users are, how they are doing their job today, what tools they are using, what works for them and what doesn’t. We actually designed a financial planning and analysis application that business users will love. We followed the “artful balance” of keeping the interface clean and simple while enabling powerful functionality. As HCI pioneer Alan Kay put it, “Simple things should be simple, and complex things should be possible.”

SAP Cloud for Planning introduces a new generation of analytics and enterprise performance management (EPM) in the cloud.  Just watch the SAP Cloud for Planning video, and you´ll immediately see we didn´t just try to recreate what was already out there and put it in the cloud. This is different.

But it’s not just another “pretty face” – underlying it is an industry-standard analytics platform that allows you to perform complex calculations across large volumes of data, extremely fast. Any customer, big or small, whether they run SAP ERP or not, can get up and running quickly with a future-oriented planning and analysis application that performs how and when you expect – no matter how many users, how much data or the level of detail. And SAP customers who are already running our widely deployed SAP Business Planning and Consolidation application, and are looking to complement it with a public cloud planning application can benefit from bi-directional integration between the two solutions for a hybrid approach. These customers can adopt our new cloud application gradually, in a non-disruptive way.

SAP Cloud for Planning delivers the analytical power that finance needs to support the business in driving profitable growth. And what better than doing that with a beautiful application that is easy, yet powerful, to use.

Plan Simpler.

SAP Cloud for Planning goes on tour with first stops in NYC, Chicago and San Francisco. Find out more and register for one of the locations near you.

Learn more at www.sap.com/cloudforplanning.