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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 www.bpcbootcamp.com

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

               Examples

    • 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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