I recently moderated a web forum with Reporting & Analytics 2011 speaker Scott Cairncross on planning for release 10.0 of EPM, and what it means for your current SAP business analytics. Scott took questions on the level of difficulty involved in migrating, Excel and mobile integration options, new financial consolidation features, and other topics.
For the full Q&A, you can view the questions and Scott's responses in the Financials Forum, or read excerpts from the transcript of the Q&A below.
Kristin Bent (moderator): Welcome to today's Q&A on EPM and BPC.
In this one-hour forum, we invite you to ask EPM expert Scott Cairncross your questions on BPC and the next steps for preparing your systems for implementation and integration with SAP Enterprise Performance Management.
Thanks for joining us today, Scott!
Larry Olson: Is there any "SWAG matrix/factor" for planning the level of effort for "moving" from SAP BPC MS 7.5 to 10.0 given X number of Applications, associated dimensions, Reports, Input templates, etc., etc.?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Larry,
There is not a matrix as of yet that gives you an exact level of difficulty in your migration to BPC 10.0 Microsoft.
from BPC 7.5 Microsoft to BPC 10.0 Microsoft is considered an upgrade as the 10 version is on the same platform and does not have major architectural changes as the BPC NW 10 release does. Currently EVDRE functionality is added to the new EPM 10.0 Add-In and should run all existing reports in a similar fashion to how reports work in the BPC 7.x for Excel Client. There is a migration tool to update EVDRE reports to the new EPM Report Definitions as well. The level of difficulty in performing these migrations is dependent on the amount of customization in reports. This set of migration tools and EVDRE support is included with the Add-In, the latest patch was released on 9/21/2011.
I hope this is helpful.
Marko Suswanto: Does SAP EPM suite have good integration with MS Excel similar with Hyperion Essbase's function?
Scott Cairncross: Marko,
Hi, yes there is good integration with MS Excel, however the method of integration in the BPC 10 EPM add-in is different from how the prior BPC for Excel client integrated. It has a great deal more drag and drop capabilities than the previous client. Reports are not range driven as they were before - they are configured using drag and drop as you would see inside of the Extended Analytics Analyzer.
Marko Suswanto: Hi Scott,
Thank you for your explanation. What would you think is the best feature from SAP EPM10 in terms of financial report consolidation compared to similar technology - i.e., HFM?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Marko,
BPC 10 has a new feature that is really cool for Financial Consolidations call Consolidations Central. This is a Flex Based interface that gives you a centralized view when managing your consolidations process.
You can create something called a consolidation scope on the web.
an manage your journals as well.
To me this was a big step...
Can you comment on the usage of custom measures in BPC 10.0? I seem to remember reading that custom measures will no longer be supported in BPC 10.0. Is this correct? We make extensive use of custom measures for reporting.
Also, will there be any change on the principle of storing one key figure field per application and relying on measures to interpret the value in the field (YTD vs. Periodic vs. custom)?
Kristy & Peter - PetSmart
Scott Cairncross: Hi Kristy & Peter,
I have not had the need thus far to use custom measures, however I just double checked in my cloud based 10.0 system and the UJA_MAINTAIN_MEASURE_FORMULA program is active in the system and has been updated with new terminology; Environment vs. Appset.
In BPC 10 there is still a single key figure SignData and the model's storage type (PER) is still translated to any other Measures you choose in the client (i.e., YTD).
Does this answer your question?
GaryByrne: Hello, Scott
Thanks for taking our questions in this forum. I'm wondering what steps you recommend to take advantage of new Excel integration. Also, can you explain the two Excel platform options that are now available?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Gary,
I believe you are referring to the difference between the following two Excel based options:
1. EVDRE, EVGTS - This functionality is specific to BPC for Excel client in the 7.x versions of both the BPC, version for the Microsoft Platform and for BPC, version for SAP NetWeaver products. It is range-based, meaning after
you generate the query using the EVDRE Query Builder a series of ranges are generated in a hidden area of your Excel spreadsheet that you can use to drive your reporting, planning requirements. It is a very robust and quick time-to-value for the Excel Jockeys in most finance departments.
2. Report Definition in EPM Add-In - This concept is a hybrid of the functionality within BPC for Excel and the drag and drop functionality that is available within the Extended Analytics Analyzer tool (that by the way can also be used for reporting in BPC 7.x versions). It features drag and drop capabilities and a more user friendly Template design sheet as well as a new set of functions that can be used for reporting and planning. Along with the BPC specific functions the client is leveraged for SAP BusinessObjects Strategy Management as well as Profitability and Cost Management and can also be used for BW reporting. So the new client is really a one stop shop for reporting in Excel if you are an EPM shop.
Hopefully this is what you were referring to. Were you by chance talking about Analysis for Office vs. the EPM Add-In? Or did this cover it?
chrispauxtis: For an example of BPC 10 EPM add on please take a look at this on youtube.
See this link for other examples of the new EPM 10 client.
amykeene: Is BPC considered a viable option for the replacement of a BPS or BIIP solution?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Amy,
Yes, BPC has been the strategic planning solution for SAP since the acquisition of OutlookSoft in 2007.
Was there anything that you specifically wanted to know regarding this?
amykeene: We are in the very early stages of analyzing how to replace a BPS application, but previous inquiries were pointing to PBF instead of BPC. We do not have anything Business Objects at this point. What resources would you recommend to get oriented to BPC?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Amy,
Are you referring to the industry content for Budget Formulation in BW-IP?
There is a set of content in BPC for Public Sector as well.
To get oriented on BPC, I would try to go to one of the BPC Bootcamp sessions. I would also try to attend either the BPC Training or once you feel comfortable with the tool the Elite Training that SAP is holding. Also a good idea to watch the different videos that have been posted by different resources regarding BPC. I am happy to point you to different YouTube feeds.
amykeene: Yes, Public Budget Formulation with BIIP.
Thank you for the link to the bootcamp session, and I will search for additional YouTube videos.
Scott Wallask: Hi Scott --
Good details in these discussions. My question: What are mobile integration solutions -- and which solutions make the most sense as mobile solutions?Thanks...
Scott Cairncross: Hi Scott,
Because EPM is fully integrated into the SAP BusinessObjects Suite you can use the different Business Objects Mobile solutions with BPC. Another option is to use Xcelsius if you are trying to build reporting dashboards out of BPC on the Playbook (one of these was demoed by Sean Johnson at Sapphire), or on one of the Android tablets.
There is also an iPad application for Strategy Management that is available either on SAP EcoHub or the Apple Store (I need to double check) that is very slick.
Was there something in particular
you were looking to know about?
kmedina-ku: Hi Scott - Thanks for the interesting and informative feedback so far. Another question, following on from your mention of the Extended Analytics Analyzer, which we consider might present a good option for us to merge BW reporting and BPC reporting in a single reporting user interface.
In order to use this, do we have to do our report definition within the EPM Add-on, or is there functionality to define BPC reports with a similar level of flexibility within the Extended Analytics Analyzer.
Kristy & Peter
Scott Cairncross: Hi Kristy & Peter,
Extended Analytics Analyzer would be used with previous versions of BPC (i.e., 7.x) for additional reporting. The EPM Add-In is a part of EPM 10 and therefore you would not need to use the Extended Analytics Analyzer as the EPM Add-In contains an updated set of functionality.
You would have to build your report definitions from within the EPM Add-In if you are using EPM 10 (BPC 10, version for the Microsoft Platform, BPC 10, version for SAP NetWeaver, or any other EPM 10 product).
In order to avoid any confusion, what I was alluding to in my earlier post was that the Extended Analytics Analyzer could be used with BPC 7.x in order to get a broader set of drag and drop capabilities. Make sense?
To clarify....remember EPM 10 is a mash of BPC 7.X and Extended Analytics Analyzer.
EPM 10 client uses the best of Extended Analytics Analyzer and BPC 7.X.
So with BPC V10 that client can read both BPC and BW structures. (NOTE: only writeback/planning can be done with BPC.) Point is reporting in EPM 10 client is for both BPC and BW (or other sources that support ODBO).
In BPC 7.X one might consider using E
xtended Analytics for reading BPC and BW, however this would not add value in V10 as this client already supports this.
Kristin Bent (moderator): Thanks to all who posted questions and followed the discussion!
A full summary of all the questions will be available here in the Financials Forum and in the Financials Group. I encourage you to join these groups for ongoing information and additional resources.
Scott will be speaking at the upcoming Reporting & Analytics 2011 event in Las Vegas, and registration is open now. Scott will also be presenting sessions during the BPC Bootcamp next week in Amsterdam, as well as upcoming dates in Orlando, Las Vegas and Philadelphia. Visit the BPC Bootcamp site for more details.
Thank you, Scott, for joining us today!
Scott Cairncross: Thanks to everyone who joined.... Cheers for now!