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McKesson's lessons from its Xcelsius dashboards project

by Graceanne Bowe

August 9, 2012

by Graceanne Bowe, WIS

Ross Wilson, Sr. Director of SAP Business Processes for McKesson, a major medical supply manufacturer based out of California, recently shared lessons his company learned as it implemented SAP BusinessObjects Dashboards for financial analyses and KPIs.    There was “standing room only” at his sessions, and feedback from those who attended indicated that the presentation was immensely valuable. 

SAPinsider is delighted that Ross will join us in Singapore, 16-18 October for BI2012.  Here’s just a sample of lessons learned from McKesson’s dashboard project: 

It’s critical to design connections for high volumes/performance, including:

  • Query stripping for WebI performance against BW cubes
  • BICS connections for Xcelsius 

The company found that using dedicated consulting resources was critical to prototyping success, could focus and drive issues, and brought knowledge of new technology to the organization 

The project team at McKesson worked hard to engage the team in terms of user acceptance testing and RAD (rapid application development) to get requirements.  Their advice?

  • Be prepared to show lots of demos and prototypes
  • With RAD, multiple iterations on design were expected
  • KPI formula definitions required further research and definition 

Building dashboards while building underlying systems (i.e., BW an d/or ERP) adds complexity and can lead to project delays

They closely checked the correct versions of SAP BusinessObjects and SAP

  • Moved from XI 3.1 SP2 to SP3 to support query stripping
    • Had to also install current fix pack (FP6)
    • Integration kit issues delayed timingIntegration testing problems with their third-party report bundling solution were further source of delay 
  • Installation of SAP BusinessObjects technical upgrade to production required separate scheduling with multiple parties, delaying go-live 

It's important to understand underlying BW data and volumes

  • Performance considerations taken into account upfront
  • High volume ª BWA and summary cubes needed to get decent Xcelsius performance

To learn more about Ross Wilson's presentation at BI 2012, 16-18 October, Singapore, or to view the program and register, please visit





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