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Tips for Enhanced Reporting and Planning Using Local Providers

by Pravin Datar, Director, SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidations Solution Management

June 22, 2017

The embedded model of SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver, offers a unique functionality for ad-hoc planning that leverages SAP HANA tables for easy data input and retrieval: local providers. Learn how you can use local providers in SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver, to perform quick planning.

SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver, introduced the embedded model type that only works with SAP HANA as the database. Though the embedded model is tightly integrated with SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW), you can plan with the embedded model without using any corresponding SAP BW InfoObjects as well. This feature helps with ad-hoc planning simulations where you can experiment with a straw-man model in SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation rather than in offline Excel workbooks and then incorporate the simulations into a business plan, if necessary. All you need to do in this scenario is upload a flat file into SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation and let SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation automatically create the model for you—hence, the term local provider. By using local providers, you can perform ad-hoc planning much more quickly and efficiently. The local providers in this scenario are the SAP HANA tables instead of BW InfoProviders. I discuss, in detail, the use case, architecture, and configuration required to create and use the local providers with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver.

Planning with Local Providers

A scenario requiring a quick or ad-hoc planning and reporting solution is the perfect use case for planning with local providers in SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver. I do not recommend this approach for regular corporate planning, budgeting, and forecasting that SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation enables you do with its regular planning functionality. The approach is not recommended because although planning with local providers has many useful features (discussed in the next section), it has two limitations.

The first limitation is that local providers can’t be transported using an SAP transport mechanism. This means that all the configuration done in the system landscape remains in that one system. Therefore, you cannot develop planning configuration in one system, test in another, and use only the tested version in the production system, which is the preferred process in any regular SAP implementation project.

The second limitation is that the master data is not mapped to central InfoObjects, which means that it can’t be maintained. Thus, this limitation precludes you from using common master data between multiple planning models. However, in scenarios that require quick or ad-hoc planning, these limitations do not really come into play. Therefore, the main use case for planning with local providers is any business situation that requires ad-hoc planning and reporting.

How Planning with Local Providers Works

Local providers use SAP HANA tables to store plan data. Figure 1 shows the main architecture behind the use of local providers.


Figure 1
The planning model with local providers

As shown in Figure 1, planning with local providers has an SAP HANA table associated with it, and SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver, automatically generates filters, aggregation levels, and an input-ready query for the model. The input-ready query can then be used to enter data either through a web-input form or Excel in SAP BusinessObjects Analysis for Microsoft Office.

10 Steps for Using Local Providers for Planning

The specific steps for using local providers for planning are discussed in detail below. 

1. Go to the web client for SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver (Figure 2) and select the Administration tab.


Figure 2
Go to the Administration tab in the web client

2. On the left, under Modeling, expand the InfoProviders tab and select the Local Providers option (Figure 3). In the screen that appears on the right, click the New button to create a new local provider.


Figure 3
Create a new local provider

3. A wizard to create local providers opens. The wizard guides you through the steps for creating a new local provider. The first step is to enter the ID and Description as shown in Figure 4. Then click the Next button.


Figure 4
Enter the ID and a descriptive name for the new local provider

4. This action opens a screen that prompts you to pick a comma-separated-value (CSV) file to upload the data for the new local provider (Figure 5). Choose the CSV file from which you want to load the data (in this example, LocalDataFile.csv) and click the Open button.


Figure 5
Select the CSV file to upload data

5. This action opens the Create Local Provider window (Figure 6) in which you configure the parameters to use for the CSV file. For example, determine whether the CSV file should contain a header row (or not) or if it should use DD:MM:YYYY or MM:DD:YYYY as the date format. You can also configure the type of delimiter it uses. Once you’ve made your desired entries, click the Next button.


Figure 6
Configure the parameters to use the CSV file

6. Now the screen in Figure 7 opens in which you can map the InfoObjects to the fields identified from the CSV file. You also have the option to map columns to the central InfoObject. However, this ability to map columns to the central InfoObject allows you the flexibility to integrate some or all the fields with SAP BW InfoObjects. If you want to map the InfoObjects to the fields, enter the InfoObject name (in this case, 0FISCPER). You can also specify a conversion routine by selecting the Use Conversion Routine check box. If you want to extend the master data from the mapped InfoObject locally, select the Generate Local InfoObject check box. This last setting allows you to use the existing master data from the mapped InfoObject and include additional master data that only the local providers use. When you’ve made the desired entries, click the Next button.


Figure 7
Map InfoObjects to columns

7. If you are not mapping any InfoObject to a column (as outlined in step 6), then in the Type column choose the Character String option, as shown in Figure 8. You also have the option to select the check box under the Key Figure column so that its value can be used in calculations. Once you’ve made your desired entries, click the Next button.


Figure 8
Configure field types for columns

8. The last step is to enable the creation of planning models based on the configuration done earlier. When you click the Next button in the previous step, the screen in Figure 9 opens. Select the Create a new model for this local provider check box, enter the local provider ID (L_PROV1), and a Description. Once you’ve made your entries, click the Create button.


Figure 9
Create a new planning model

9. This action creates a new planning model, as shown Figure 10. SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.1, version for SAP NetWeaver, automatically creates aggregation levels, filters, and an input-ready query for this model, and it is ready to be used for planning and reporting.


Figure 10
A new local provider is created and ready for use

10. You can view the new local provider with the generated aggregation level just as you would view any other InfoObject after executing transaction code RSPLAN (Figure 11).


Figure 11
View the new local provider with a generated aggregation level

Additional Features of Local Providers

Local providers have their own generated aggregation levels; hence, you can create additional filters, planning functions, planning sequences, and input-ready queries for local providers the same as you would for any other embedded planning model. Data audits also can be enabled for local providers. If you have mapped at least one dimension of the local provider to a central InfoObject having a hierarchy, then you can use work statuses for local providers that may help you to manage workflow around local providers. You can include local providers in MultiProviders that can then be used with standard InfoProviders for reporting.

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Pravin Datar

Pravin Datar works as director in the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Solution Management team at the SAP BusinessObjects Division. He has more than 20 years of business experience that includes management consultancy, ERP project management, and SAP SEM, BPC RIG, and EPM solution management. He holds a master’s degree in industrial engineering and an MBA from University of California.



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