SAP Consolidation Strategy: SAP BW-Based SEM-BCS vs. R/3 EC-CS

  • by Alan Hildebrandt, Managing Director, BIS Canada, Inc
  • Paul Halley, Director SEM Practice, Business Information Solutions (BIS)
  • April 15, 2005
An integrated financial consolidation system is crucial to facilitate the month-end closing process. Weigh the functionalities of two SAP consolidation tools, EC-CS and Business Information Warehouse (BW)-based SEM-BCS.
Key Concept

Companies have a choice for consolidating their financial data between the R/3 EC-CS and BW-based SEM-BCS consolidation tools. The benefits of using SAP's consolidation instruments lie in the integration between the financial transaction processor in R/3 (FI-G/L/EC-PCA) and the SAP consolidation tool. This integration can streamline the accounting consolidation function and increase process integrity and transparency.

In today's business environment, financial statement closing cycle and consolidation processes must occur quickly while still emphasizing accuracy and data transparency. Though this challenges most accounting groups, software applications can help bring continuity, consistency, and prioritization to the processes. For accounting groups, however, the lack of integration between the G/L and the consolidation system causes problems every time a new account, company, or currency is added to the G/L. This slows the process while the consolidation system is updated.

The two most common SAP consolidation products today are the R/3 Enterprise Controlling Consolidation Solution (EC-CS R/3 Enterprise release) and the newer Strategic Enterprise Management Business Consolidation Solution (SEM- BCS Release 4.0). Both EC-CS and SEM-BCS consolidate financial data for both internal and external reporting purposes. More advanced functionality is available in SEM-BCS because of the technical architecture of that system, but many more differences exist. We will examine the differences between SAP's EC-CS and SEM-BCS by comparing their architecture, functionality, process monitors, reporting, licensing, and ongoing maintenance.

Many SAP customers are using EC-CS, and the adoption rate of BW-based SEM-BCS is increasing significantly. Since January 2003, the number of US customer installations of BW-based SEM-BCS has increased from 10 to more than 60 installations. The product roadmap that SAP has published identifies SEM-BCS as the product it will continue to enhance and support.

Alan Hildebrandt

Alan Hildebrandt is the managing director of Business Information Solutions (BIS) Canada. Prior to joining BIS Canada, Alan was BI Market Development Manager for SAP Canada and he was a founding member of the SEM Solution Rollout team for SAP America. Alan received his Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation from the Society of Management Accountants of Canada in 1989.

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Paul Halley

Paul Halley is director of Strategic Enterprise Management (SEM) for Business Information Solutions, LLC (BIS). Prior to joining BIS, Paul was SAP America's and SAP Public Sector's leading expert on SEM. As the SEM product manager and lead solutions engineer, Paul was responsible for some of the first US SEM implementations and the subsequent rollout of SEM throughout North and South America. He has a BA degree in economics from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MBA from the Owen School of Management at Vanderbilt University.

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