Thanks to everyone who joined Scott Cairncross - along with his colleague David Dixon at TruQua Enterprises - for our Q&A on BPC 10.0/10.1 and SAP HANA.
In this Q&A, discussion included the new Unified Model in 10.1, differences between 10.0 and 10.1, and prerequisites for running BPC on SAP HANA. Questions for Scott and David included:
Review the chat replay here, and read the edited transcript below.
Allison Martin: Thanks to everyone for joining us today!
It’s great to have Scott Cairncross and David Dixon here for our Q&A. Today’s topic is SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC) 10.0/10.1 and I’m sure the topic of SAP HANA integration will come up!
Thanks for joining us, Scott and David!
Scott Cairncross: We are happy to be here! Thanks for having us.
David Dixon: Ready for questions!
Comment From Ray Tussing
To run BPC on HANA, is NetWeaver a prerequisite?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Ray,
Yes BPC on HANA is really and truly BPC on BW on HANA. Although there is a great deal of direct HANA integration with BPC, the platform is BW on HANA or NetWeaver on HANA.
Comment From Gajendra
Hello Scott! I am coming from SAP BW Integrated Planning into BPC. One feature that I find very frustrating in BPC is that there is no choice to plan on "Master Data" or "Transaction Data" like we used to have in IP. The default nature of BPC is generating all possible combinations across all members of the dimensions. This causes an unnecessary performance hog which could have easily been avoided had that setting been available in BPC (not sure if it is there in 10.1). We have BPC on HANA and because of this reason the performance of input form execution is not very promising. Is this setting available in the latest version?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Gajendra,
In BPC 10.1 there is a new "Unified Model" which leverages the BW-IP framework underneath the covers. This will allow you to leverage the type of planning you are comfortable with inside of Integrated Planning.
Comment From Abhi Singh
Can we run BPC on HANA natively without using BW?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Abhi,
Currently there is no direct BPC on HANA (sans BW) version of the product. There are other planning applications within SAP's portfolio that do run natively on HANA which are complementary to BPC. Namely if you are performing Sales & Operations Planning there is a cloud and on-premise HANA solution for this that leverages the EPM Add-In as the front end and the administration is all performed via an XS Engine UI.
All the best. Cheers, Scott
Comment From Andy
Scott, We are in the process of migrating to EPM 10 on HANA (BW 7.3). We have extensive application logic (BADIs) and I am hearing BW 7.3 has no mechanism to push this logic execution to HANA DB layer. Can you please share your experience in this area?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Andy,
Having extensive BAdI logic is not uncommon and no, this is not a true comment. You can still push logic down into the database, however this does require a rewrite of the ABAP code in SQL Script. The key thing that you need to consider is being on SP11 or higher, as you would want to use the native HANA model to achieve this.
I am happy to share additional detail and even a code snippet if you have a specific example.
Comment From Andy
That is great news Scott. I have few cases where 1) We did custom allocation logic due to complexity...
Scott Cairncross: Hi Andy,
That is not uncommon. If you use BPC 10.0 SP11 or later and turn on the HANA native model you can use the in HANA allocation engine which is built directly on the platform (not in ABAP).
So what the HANA native model does is it adds to what makes up the BPC Model or BPC Application, so instead of it just being an infoCube it is an infoCube AND a HANA write back table. So let's say hypothetically that your allocations needs cannot be met by the new HANA allocation engine you could write your own SQL Script you call in a BPC BAdI and have that SQL Script directly update the HANA write back table.
Comment From Andy
... and 2) process data from one model with extended logic and push results to 2nd or 3rd model.
Scott Cairncross: Hi Andy,
Yes you can probably, with the speed of HANA alleviate the need for some of the "supporting" models and bring together a lot of the logic built.
Comment From Amit kumar
What would the performance improvement when we migrate BPC MS 7.5 SP10 to HANA environment?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Amit,
This would depend highly on a variety of different factors:
HANA is a very fast platform, however the way that the application is configured on top of MS or HANA really drives a great deal of the performance experience that the end user has.
So without performing an analysis of your environment, it is difficult to directly quantify. However I will say this, if you have large volumes I would expect a significant improvement.
Comment From Anandh
How do we integrate Marketing Budget from BPC to SAP CRM Funds?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Anandh,
There are a number of ways to do this, however, we have an example for you! We have done something very similar for another customer and have highlighted it in our ASUG presentation and demo which we posted online.
The video demo is posted in the chat [see the replay above] or you can check it out here.
David Dixon: The video demonstrates real-time integration between SAP CRM and SAP BPC. The scenario is Trade Promotion Management based but the integration would work the same (underlying SAP CRM planning is BPS a.k.a. "Business Planning and Simulation" functionality).
Comment From BILL@vVolve
What are the beneficial differences in features of BPC 10.1 compare to BPC 10.0?
David Dixon: In order to answer the question there is a key distinction to be made between the "Unified Model" and "Classic Model" in SAP BPC 10.1.
The "Classic Model" is very similar to SAP BPC 10.0 with new functionality in the web interface (based on HTML5 instead of Adobe Flex technology in order to better support mobile devices along with EPM Unwired).
You will find the bigger differences with the new "Unified Model" option which is very similar to SAP BW's planning capabilities known as "Integrated Planning" but leverages (and therefore requires) HANA planning functionality (previously known as PAK or "Planning Applications Kit" where a lot of the BW Integrated Planning capabilities got pushed down into HANA). The "Unified Model" also includes functionality found in BPC 10.0 and the "Classic Model" such as "Business Process Flows" and "Work Status". Both the "Classic" and "Unified" Models share use of the EPM Add-In for Excel (similar to SAP BPC 10.0).
Comment From carles
In BPC 10.1, which of the IP functionalities will we be able to use? Data Slice? Characteristic Relationship? Any limitations using them in BPC?
David Dixon: In an earlier response I made the distinction between the "Unified Model" and the "Classic Model" in SAP BPC 10.1. In the "Unified Model" pretty much all the IP functionality is supported, improved and/or accelerated if pushed down to HANA like Data Slices, Characteristic Relationships that you mention (see SAP Note 1637199 for more details on which aspects have been fully pushed down).
For the "Classic Model," these concepts are foreign or have a logical equivalent. For example, "Characteristic Relationships" doesn't fully apply to SAP BPC, which is more hierarchy-driven than master data attribute-driven, while "Work Status" is very similar to (but different than) "Data Slices."
Comment From Clarence D.
Is consolidation on HANA? If not, when it will it be available?
David Dixon: Financial consolidation functionality in SAP BPC 10.0 and SAP BPC 10.1 "Classic Model" will both run HANA. SAP Financial Consolidation (separate product from SAP BPC) will also run on HANA as its database. SAP BPC 10.1 "Unified Model" does not have financial consolidation functionality. To understand the difference between SAP BPC 10.1 "Classic Model" and "Unified Model" see my earlier posts...
So in short, the answer is "yes", Financial Consolidation is "on" HANA. Now if you are really asking when will Financial Consolidation be "in" HANA that is an interesting question for SAP to answer specifically as it currently not available. Note that we have been seeing a lot of SAP NetWeaver-based functionality across many applications (ERP, BW, BPC, etc) being pushed down into HANA (making HANA more than a just a database).
Comment From Guest
Is there any way to create BPC master data on the fly? For example, a user is going to forecast projects with many attributes that affect the financials of the project. So the user would like to set up the project, have a project number assigned and immediately start forecasting for that project. I have not seen this done - but I have been told people have done it. Thoughts?
Scott Cairncross: Hello,
Yes, this has been done and there are various ways to achieve this.
There was a How To guide written by Daniel Settanni and available on SDN which addresses this in one way.
You can - if you don't want to use the methodology laid out within the How To guide - also use (in BPC 7.5) a simple .NET program to achieve this and deploy it as a web service on IIS, in BPC 10.0 you can extend the restful web service framework. We have seen both of the above done successfully. In BPC 10.1, you could do something very similar as well.
Comment From Clarence
What is HANA and what are the benefits with BPC?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Clarence,
So from SAP - "SAP HANA is a modern in-memory platform that is deployable as an on-premise appliance or in the cloud."
HANA has a great deal of capabilities within it that I haven't seem in many other platforms... Some of the rich features that I believe to be incredibly valuable are:
In Memory Data Processing
Built In Predictive Analytics (Both via a set of delivered libraries PAL and via integration with R)
Fully deployed webserver with SAPUI5
... The list goes on ...
For more information and great learnings go to http://www.saphana.com/welcome.
So for the second part of your question, "What are the benefits with BPC?"
It makes all of your typical planning calculations a great deal faster (allocations, distributions etc)
By leveraging HANA you can now (within the NetWeaver version of the product) use MDX formulas within your master data without having a huge performance impact.
The majority of the latest enhancements in 10.1 are coming out on HANA including the Unified Model which allows for key figure based planning (this is not available on other platforms).
These are just a few of the many benefits.
Comment From Srinivas
In such a scenario, what is the roadmap for SEM-BPS or SEM-BCS?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Srinivas,
As BPC is the strategic direction of SAP, if you wanted to implement BPC you would have to reimplement directly in the BPC version of your choice. BPS and BCS have had their respective end of maintenance dates pushed out, so you are safe to stay on them. However you most likely won't get a great deal of enhancements in those products. Currently from PAM SAP SEM 6.0 doesn't have an end of mainstream maintenance until 12/31/2020.
Comment From Aaron Williams
Hi Scott/David, We are currently in the early stages of discovery for a potential upgrade from BPC 7.5NW to BPC 10. Is there a substantial improvement to be found in 10.1 that would warrant delaying any upgrade until the general release? And are there foundational BW requirements that differ between the two versions?
This really depends on whether or not you have interest in the Unified Model. If you are using BPC for Consolidations this wouldn't make sense to wait for 10.1 as currently the unified model does not have consolidations (the classic or traditional BPC model still does though).
Do you have the need to implement using a key figure based model? Do you need to use the more BW centric planning capabilities available in BPC 10.1? If so, then you should wait; otherwise, I think going to 10.0 makes more sense.
David Dixon: With regards to BW requirements, you would need to be on SAP NetWeaver 7.4 support package stack 05 or higher if you wanted to leverage SAP BPC 10.1 as well as use HANA as your database for the "Unified Model". If you were to stay on the "Classic Model," then one of the key reasons to move to SAP BPC 10.1 instead of SAP BPC 10.0 is to have an HTML 5 compliant web interface (instead of Adobe Flex), which is much better if you plan on using mobile devices.
Comment From Andy
Scott, We are in early stages of our migration to HANA based EPM 10 and to our surprise we are seeing the input forms and report performance very comparable to 7.5. I want to add that our the reports are running at top levels and we do have 12 dimensions with master data between 10k to 20k for 5 of the dimensions. We notice the majority of the time is spent in zero suppression. Of course we are just using the EVDRE version of the reports without rebuilding them from scratch again. Any comments?
Scott Cairncross: Hi Andy,
Zero suppression is a performance drag. What I can suggest is the following:
Identify the key reports that are performance culprits
Convert those from the BPC 7.5 EVDRE or EVGTS to the new Report Definition methodology.
This will greatly improve your performance. We have seen similar issues and once we used the native 10.0 reporting frameworks the reporting performance was excellent.
David Dixon: I would do a Fiddler trace and look at the MDX being passed. What we have seen in large hierarchies is that front-end will decompose the hierarchies into base members and pass that in the MDX to the backend. That kills performance and in the new EPM 10.0 frontend there are configuration settings to address this, which is something to consider.
Comment From Lisa Loveland
Is it better to use HANA with mobility hardware given the in-memory technology that HANA offers?
Unless you are leveraging HANA Cloud, the on-premise appliance should come from one of SAP's certified hardware vendors. This allows you to leverage not only the software capabilities of HANA but also allows you to exploit the hardware configurations delivered within the appliance, which deliver incremental performance benefits.
Comment From Guest: Thanks to you two!
Comment From Srinivas: Thanks Scott and David. Much appreciated.
Comment From Clarence D.: Thanks very much.
Allison Martin: Thanks to TruQua’s Scott Cairncross and David Dixon for taking the time today to chat about BPC!
Scott Cairncross: Thank you! Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions… firstname.lastname@example.org... Otherwise see you soon!
David Dixon: Thanks everyone! See you at the conferences!
Allison Martin: Thanks again! Looking forward to seeing you both soon!