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Planning in a Box: The Unified Data Platform Solution for SAP and Salesforce Integration

September 27, 2023 | Tarun Kumar

Blog / Planning in a Box: The Unified Data Platform Solution for SAP and Salesforce Integration

Businesses today are on a relentless quest for insights. They’re looking to predict market trends before they shape, understand what ticks their customers, streamline their inventory, and keep their financial flows optimized. However, the real challenge often isn’t understanding what needs to be done, but accessing the necessary insights to do it. The data that can guide these decisions often lie scattered—tucked in CRM systems, buried deep within ERP solutions, or spread across diverse analytics platforms. More often than not, by the time these insights are collated, they are outdated, leading to lost opportunities.

Questions Decision Makers Are Asking Where the Answer Resides Avg Time to Retrieve
What is our current inventory level for Product X? ERP 2 hours
Which customers are most likely to churn next month? CRM + ERP 4 hours
What are the projected sales for the next quarter? ERP + CRM 3 hours
How effective was our latest marketing campaign in Region Y? CRM + External Datasets 6 hours
Are there any supply chain bottlenecks affecting product Z? ERP + External Datasets 2.5 hours
How do customer reviews correlate with our sales trends? CRM + ERP + External Datasets 7 hours
What’s the profit margin for our new product launch? ERP + CRM 4.5 hours

There’s a tangible cost associated with this delay. The inability to act promptly can lead to missed opportunities. Customers, used to instant gratification in the digital age, could shift loyalties, impacting revenues. The expenses, both direct and those emerging from missed opportunities, can be staggering.

Salesforce and SAP Don’t “Talk” to Each Other 

Consider this example: Your Salesforce indicates a surge in interest for a particular product. Simultaneously, SAP flags that the same product’s inventory is running low, but these insights remain siloed in their respective systems. 

As a result, the sales team continues to promote a product that the operations team struggles to restock, leading to customer dissatisfaction and lost sales opportunities.

Historically, bridging this gap has been challenging due to technical complexities in integrating the two platforms. 

However, with Google Cloud’s Cortex Framework, there’s a solution. This framework facilitates the integration of SAP and Salesforce data into BigQuery, establishing a consolidated data model. This means that data from both platforms can be accessed in one place, allowing for comprehensive analytics.

By leveraging the combined insights from SAP’s operational data and Salesforce’s customer interactions, businesses can react more quickly to market shifts, ensuring that product availability aligns with demand, and, ultimately, driving more informed and efficient decision-making across the board.

Planning in a Box: Bridging SAP and Salesforce

Planning in a Box stands as the solution that seamlessly integrates SAP and Salesforce. By functioning as a centralized data platform, it pulls operational data from SAP and customer insights from Salesforce, offering businesses a unified view of their ecosystem.

Here’s a common scenario: A business wants to strategize for an upcoming sales season. Key data lies in different places – Salesforce holds sales predictions, SAP has current inventory numbers, and Oracle EBS offers historical sales figures.

To navigate this, a business analyst uses Planning in a Box to ask, “Given our sales forecasts, how does our current inventory match up for the next sales season?” Using Generative AI, Planning in a Box consolidates data from these systems, providing a clear answer on inventory adjustments required.

Planning in a Box can handle such scenarios with ease. Users can simply type in questions and receive contextual answers. Examples include:

  • How did last year’s promotional campaign affect inventory turnover? 
  • Which products had the highest sales last quarter, and how does our inventory support this?
  • Is there a correlation between customer feedback and product returns?
  • Based on sales trends and production data, are there potential stock shortages?

How does Planning in a Box work? 

Planning in a Box is a data platform built on the Google Cloud Platform. It can unify multiple datasets from systems like Oracle EBS, SAP, Salesforce, Netsuite, and others into one common platform. Delving deeper into its capabilities:

  • Utilizing Cortex Framework: The platform integrates data from diverse sources facilitated by the Google Cloud Cortex Framework. This ensures a smooth data flow and integration, eliminating silos.
  • Centralized Data View: Different data structures from varied systems are brought together into a singular, coherent model, making the data more accessible and meaningful.
  • Data Integration with External Sources: Beyond core business systems, Planning in a Box has the capability to pull in 250+ external datasets, including Google Adtech, Maps, Weather, Traffic, etc., to offer a comprehensive business view.
  • Advanced Analytical Layer: Atop this unified data foundation, the platform employs, Generative AI, AI, and ML to dissect and analyze the data, revealing patterns, trends, and predictive insights.
  • Generative AI for Decision Intelligence: Instead of navigating through complex querying processes, users can simply ask questions in natural language. Generative AI then crafts detailed, context-aware responses, simplifying the decision-making process.

With these components working in tandem, Planning in a Box provides a comprehensive solution to the age-old challenge of data silos, offering businesses a clear path toward insight-driven decision-making.

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Use Cases you can solve by combining SAP and Salesforce 

  • Demand Forecasting and Inventory Management

Example: A business identifies a trend where a certain product’s interest is spiking on Salesforce. Planning in a Box pulls real-time inventory data from SAP, enabling the business to foresee potential stock shortages and adjust procurement processes accordingly.

  • Customer Purchase Patterns and Financial Analysis

Example: An e-commerce company wants to offer personalized discounts. By integrating Salesforce data on individual customer purchase behaviors with SAP’s financial records, Planning in a Box can suggest optimal discount rates that maximize customer engagement without compromising profitability.

  • Sales Performance and Product Profitability Analysis

Example: A global enterprise wants to reward its best-performing products and regions. By blending sales data from Salesforce with cost and profitability figures from SAP, Planning in a Box can highlight which products in which regions are the true stars, ensuring that resources and rewards are allocated effectively.

  • Enhanced Customer Service

Example: A customer raises an issue about a delayed order. Instead of flipping between systems, a service rep using Planning in a Box can immediately access the order’s status in SAP and the customer’s communication history in Salesforce, enabling quicker resolutions and enhancing customer satisfaction.

  • Optimized Marketing Campaigns Based on Sales Data

Example: A marketing team is planning its next big campaign. By analyzing previous campaign data from Salesforce, and comparing it with actual sales and revenue figures from SAP, Planning in a Box can provide insights on which campaign elements worked best and where improvements are needed.

A flexible Data Platform aligned with your business priorities

  • Adaptive: Tailor the platform based on your unique business challenges. For instance, an e-commerce brand with seasonal demands can adjust datasets for optimal insights. The platform is flexible, allowing you to begin with a singular capability and expand as required.
  • Transparency with Glassbox Technology:  View, understand, and tweak data models, ensuring that you’re not only getting insights but also understanding the underpinning logic.
  • Rapid Deployment: It integrates seamlessly with your infrastructure, deployable from SAP BTP and Google Cloud Marketplace in under 2 hours.
  • Industry Recognition: Brands like Levi’s, AB InBev, and Lixil use Planning in a Box to reduce inventory costs and boost forecast accuracy. Additionally, Gartner acknowledges its decision intelligence capabilities in the Analytics and Decision Intelligence Guide.

If you are considering a data platform, join our workshop to explore tailor-made use cases for your business. With our approach, you can expect a pilot tailored to your needs in 4 weeks or less. 


Tarun Kumar, VP of Global Sales at Pluto7, is an MIT-endorsed Senior Data Architect with deep expertise in Google Cloud solutions. He has spearheaded data platform adoptions for diverse organizations, championing supply chain transformations with Gen AI. As an Agile Scrum Master and TOGAF® 9 Professional, Tarun seamlessly bridges tech innovation with tangible business value.

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