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SAP BPC Tip: 10 Steps to developing and measuring a BI and reporting strategy in BPC

by Allison Martin

October 4, 2012

In preparation for our upcoming SAP BPC event that is taking place Oct 29-31 in Las Vegas, I wanted to post a great tip I found from one of our speakers. This was taken from Penny Silvia of IBM's presentation "A leading expert’s guide to developing a rock-solid BPC reporting and analytics strategy". For more info on the event, visit

10 Steps to Developing and Measuring a BI and reporting Strategy

  1. Have BI workshops that:
  • Show management what SAP BusinessObjects tools are and what they can do
  • Give concrete examples of SAP BusinessObjects applications related to their work or business
  • Give guidance on what should be done and when
  • Ask management business questions to test their readiness for the SAP BusinessObjects projects
  • Ask management what their key performance indicators
    (KPIs) are
  • Understand the levels and needs of key Plan to Actual reporting elements — And if that data is available at “equal” levels
  1. Assess your resources and skill sets available in the business

     Available skill sets

  • Do we have resources that know how to use SAP BusinessObjects?
  • Do we have a solid PM available?
  • Does our Basis resource know SAP BusinessObjects?
  • Do we have the capacity to start a BI initiative?

     User’s level of technical knowledge

  • Are my users knowledgeable of the SAP source data, transactions, reporting, etc.?

      Existing technical infrastructure

  • Do I have hardware available to implement SAP BusinessObjects?

      Is funding available $$$

  • How much funding is available — For a small business content implementation for a given area, or cubes that are customized?
  1. Do a gap analysis
  • Determine the gap between the requirements and SAP BusinessObjects
    - Example: Use an Excel spreadsheet to list what is included in the FI-GL business content
    - Compare this with the SAP ERP transactions used and business requirements, then come up with the gaps
  • Determine the priorities: Use your KPIs — What’s more important to your company?
  • Determine the BI objectives - Do I want users to use only the BI reporting tools?
    - What reporting tools should we use?
    - What current reports are we replacing?
    - Do I want to eliminate ABAP reports?

  1. Obtain buy-in from stakeholders
    • Socialize the plans and gain buy-in
    • Create a Business Intelligence Competency Center (BICC)
    • Establish project priorities with key stakeholders
    • Obtain funding and support for BI initiatives
    • Establish standards, including change management procedures
    • Align BI strategy to overall IT strategy and enterprise goals
  1. Create a business case and outline expected benefits

    • Each project should have a business case
      - If you can’t come up with a valid business case, why do the project?
      - Ensure you evaluate the merit of business cases
      - What is the expected ROI and when can it be achieved?
    • Describe the deliverables of the project
      - Are you delivering end user training or super user training only?
      - What documentation will you provide at the end of projects?
      - What processes will you put in place?
  1. Build the infrastructure

Determine the technical infrastructure needed for your overall BI strategy
- For example: How many servers and what size they are (get your hardware vendor to help, using SAP’s recommendations)
- Estimate the growth of your SAP BusinessObjects servers for the next few years (your SAP BusinessObjects system may eventually be bigger than your SAP system)
- Determine what you need by what tools you will deploy — SAP NetWeaver Portal, SAP BusinessObjects, etc

7. Maintain resource integrity

    • Define what data quality means to you
    • What is the system of record for key master data?
    • How many data errors are acceptable? 
    • Decide how to evaluate and prioritize data quality problems
    • Decide how to fix ongoing data quality problems
  1. Establish criteria for success
    • Apply best practices for the BI implementation
      SAP Best Practices checklist: For example: Early Watch Reports — Are early watch reports reviewed and monitored regularly
    • Determine measures and metrics you can use to monitor success and value
      Example: You can use BI statistics to measure the usage of reports
      Set up exceptions in the reports to highlight any queries that run longer than 100 seconds
      Report successes to the business to demonstrate value and build future support — Using a communication plan
  1. Treat information as an asset
    • SAP BusinessObjects tools are not just for slicing and dicing data
    • SAP BusinessObjects tools can be used for strategic decision making


    • You can use SAP BusinessObjects Analysis Process Designer for predictive analysis
    • SAP Business Planning and Consolidation can be used for planning your sales figures and showing reports with the actual sales values vs. your planned sales

  1. Review BI initiatives
  • Ensure alignment by reviewing what you are doing, and re-aligning if necessary
    For example: If your users aren’t available to do end user testing, stop the project and re-align!
    • Review your project plan, make the tasks and times realistic
    • Use prototyping to show users what they will see
      - Do it fast and maintain their interest
      - Ensure they are involved in the review process early
    • Be flexible in the scope, as it often changes and sufficient contingency should be available in the budget for this
  • Measure what is currently in place for BI 

I look forward to seeing you there!
- Allison

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