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S4/HANA for Group Reporting first critics

  1. Critical points

The impression of the new tool was good. A more deep dive brings up, what is not a surprise. The lessons are not learned.

  1. User friendly interface is still missing
  2. Surely, for a ECCS or SEM BCS client this is better, for clients with Hyperion, BPC, BO FC this is a step back
    1. User interface for maintaining is a mess
    2. Ownership and legder concept, takes flexibility away
      1. Why do I need a ledger to make a new consolidation scope, simulation etc….? I hope this will be strongly improved.
      2. Why is it not possible to add own property fields like in FC or BPC?
    3. Its obvious not step forward:
      1. It´s 90% ECCS
      2. 10 % try to get flexibility in, stucked to the 100% accounting driven approach, surely no wonder
      3. Outcome of the investments into outlooksoft and cartesis (BO) are not recognized in the software
      4. If developers from BPC or BO FC would have had influence, it would look fully different
      5. Items like historical masterdata are not seen
      6. Audit Trail like BOFC is missing
      7. A dedicated reporting engine, who gives ad hoc reporting like BO FC, is not existing

If the client is using S4/HANA and the masterdata in FI, the benefit of drill down to the transactions can be a main reason. If a client likes the classical sap approach of consolidation, its the best choice to stay and use Group Reporting. If not, the integration is less important, or maybe even not possible, BPC 11 is on BW4/HANA an alternative to evaluate instead of a different vendor.

But the full integration is in some circumstances not possible. For example, if the source S4 Moduls are not delivering all details for FI and consolidation. I saw this with FI-CA (FICA) with big data. The data amount / volume was to high from FI-CA to FI and CO. The result is that transactions are summarized and details is gone, like invoice, open or paid, partner (IC).

Total integration is gone, same with CO. Details like business partner, segment, profit center are gone or not possible.

Not to mention the performance of Analytics Cloud.

The workaround is a data ware house for example with SAP BW4/HANA. If I need a DWH to get all my data together in one place, why not using BPC 11.0 on BW4/Hana, either with embedded model or even standard classical consolidation model.

I will prepare a comparison of functions and write about a starter kit with BPC 11.0 consolidation.

Enhance your Dashboard (based on BPC Data) by using selectors and the “writeback-function” of the EPM Connector

This article explains how to enhance your dashboard (based on BPC Data) built using SAP Dashboard Design (formerly Xcelsius) with functions to filter data to be shown based on selection criteria and with the “writeback-function” to write changed data back to the BPC Server. It shows how to use the BPC EPM-Connector (an Add-On for SAP Dashboard Design) to enhance the functionality of the dashboard with those features.

The SAP BPC product version referred in this article is SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation 10.0, version for SAP NetWeaver.

This article follows on from my previous one on “How to use the EPM Connector to visualize BPC Data via Dashboard Design”

1    Business Scenario

In this scenario, the business wants to be able to filter the data shown on the dashboard according to some given parameters and submit a new request to the BPC Server for live data based on its selection. Another feature the business wants to have is the possibility to write back the data changed on the dashboard (for example via a simulation) to the BPC Server.

Those functions are provided by the EPM Connector brought by the EPM Add-In for Excel which is installed as Add-On for SAP Dashboard Design (formerly called Xcelsius).

2    Software Versions

The following software are required (only to build the dashboard):

  1. SAP Dashboard Design SP06 Patch 01
  2. SAP BPC 10 EPM Add-In SP14 Patch 02
  3. EPM Connector of EPM Add-In, (add-On for Dashboard Design, located in the EPM Add-In installation folder)
  4. SAP BPC 10 ODBO Client
  5. Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 SP1 Redistributable Package(x86)

All software (except for the Microsoft Visual C++ component) can be downloaded from the SAP Service Marketplace. It is suggested to always apply the latest support package for each software component.

3    Steps to enhance your dashboard with filters for data selection

The assumption is made that you follow the steps described in the post “How to use the EPM Connector to visualize BPC Data via Dashboard Design” and end up with a dashboard similar to the one on the figure below:

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1-      Prepare your sheet with an area for the dynamic filters of the EPM connection

Define on your sheet an area consisting of two columns for each of the dimensions TIME and PRODUCT. The first column is for the member name and the second for the member ID. This area will be used later on for the definition of the dynamic filters of the EPM Connection.

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2-      Configure the EPM connection

Having defined your EPM Connection like describe in the Post on “How –to…” you can enhance this connection by configuring dynamic filters.

Click the button next to “Dynamic filters” and bind it to the area in the sheet where you define the dynamic filters then click “OK”.

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3-      Prepare the input values for the filters

Prepare the input values for the filters on your sheet for each dimension to filter on. The area is constituted of 2 columns (one for the name and the other for the ID) for the member values of the dimension.

Tip: You can first use the “Retrieve Dimension Members” operation to retrieve members for those dimensions in two columns, one for the names and the other for the unique IDs.

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4-      Define the selector component on your dashboard layout

On your dashboard layout, drag and drop the selector components (combo box) for each of your filter. Then configure the component accordingly.

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Click on the button next to Labels and bind it to the labels/names column of the area for the filter values for each dimension TIME and PRODUCT

For the “Data Insertion”, named your “insertion line” and define the insertion type as “Row” so that the selected value be inserted in the destination line as completed row. Then bind the source data to the complete value area and the destination to the line corresponding to the dynamic filter for the given dimension.

The figure below illustartes this process for the dimension TIME. You have to repeat the same process for the dimension PRODUCT.

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5-      Add a button to your dashboard layout for submission of your selection and to refresh your data

Drag and drop a “Connection Refresh Button” from the components list into the layout editor

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Configure the submit button to refresh the EPM Connection, by checking the connection in the refresh button property sheet.

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6-      You are done with the insertion of the filters for the data selection. You can now test your dashboard by clicking on the “Preview” button.

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Once the dashboard is loaded, you can select some new value for the filter and click the “Submit” button. You will then be asked to enter the BPC user name and password, and then click “Ok”.

4    Steps to enhance your dashboard with the function to write back data to the BPC Server

Now, let say you want to store the data of your simulation back to the BPC server. For that, you have to define an EPM connection for each parameter you want to write the value back to the server.

I’ll present here the process to write the value of the simulation parameter “Quantity of Sales” back. You have to repeat the same process for each value you want to write back to the server (i.e.: Sale Price/Item, Mat. Cost/Item, Man. Cost/Item).

1-      First start by preparing an area on the sheet for the storage parameters of your EPM Connection

This area consists of 4 columns: the first one for the dimensions name, the second for the dimension IDs, the third for the member names and the fourth for the member IDs.

On the figure below, note that I marked in orange color the parameters that are subject to change (either they are part of the report –i.e. they are included in the rows or columns- or part of the dynamic filters) plus the parameter to write back (third row: Qty of Sales). I also marked in yellow the parameters that are supposed to be static. For the first part in orange, the first row is for the dimension ENTITY the member name and ID are set trough a formula that return the entity on which the current simulation is based. The second row is for the dimension CATEGORY, which is set to FORECAST, since we want to store the value as forecast. The third row is for the parameter to store, i.e. the Quantity of Sales which is a member of the dimension ACCOUNT. The fourth row is for the dimension TIME the member of which is returned from the selection made for filtering. So here we just copy the value from the dynamic filter. The same is true for the fifth row (dimension PRODUCT) which is copied from the corresponding dynamic filter row.

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Tip: You can first use the “Retrieve Dimensions” and the “Retrieve Dimension Members” operations to retrieve dimensions and members for those dimensions in two columns each, one for the names and the other for the unique IDs.

2-      Add a new connection based on the EPM Connector

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3-      Define and configure the connection

Give a meaningful name for this connection.

Next choose the EPM Application which you want to connect to. In this case, select “Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP NetWeaver platform”.

For the “Operation” field, select “EPM Report”.

In the “Input Details” section:

Next, enter the host name of the BPC web server. Enter both the host name and port.

Click the dropdown box next to “Data Source” and select “Retrieve”, the data source will then be retrieved according to the hostname and port you entered previously.

Repeat this action for the fields Environment and Models then choose when necessary the right value between the one shown by the retrieve operation.

Bind the “Cell Definition” to the area you previously define on the sheet for the storage parameters. This will settle for this connection the dimension members for which the value have to be written back to the server.

Bind the “Cell Value” to the cell where the value of the parameter to be written back to the sever is put.

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In the “Output Details” section

Click on the button next to “Result” and bind this to the cells where you want the result of the operation (which is the value written back when the operation is successful) to be written on your sheet.

You can also select a cell where to put an eventual error message for the connection by clicking on the button next to “Message” and binding this to a cell on the sheet.

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You have to create a similar connection for each parameter you want to store back the value to the server.

4-      Now, add a button on your dashboard layout to save your data

Drag and drop a “Connection Refresh Button” from the components list into the layout editor and named it accordingly to the action the button will operate (i.e. “Save”).

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Configure the Save button to refresh the EPM Connections defined previously for each of the parameter to store, by checking the connections in the refresh button property sheet.

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5-      The model is now complete.

Test it out by clicking the “Preview” button. You can then select a month and a product and submit your selection to refresh the data. After having selected an entity you can go for a simulation. After what you can store your changes back to the server by clicking on the “Save” button. If you did everything well, the changed data should have been saved back to the server.

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Einführung

Liebe Leser,

mit diesem Blog möchte ich meine Erfahrungen aus über 20 Projekten und mitlerweile 20 Jahren Erfahrung am Markt der “EPM” Lösungen darstellen.

Meine Entwicklung ging von Hyperion Enterprise, Pillar, Essbase zum SAP ECCS, SEM BCS  dann zurück zum Hyperion Financial Management. Ein grosser Fan immer noch vom SAP BO FC, ehemals Cartesis Magnitude, Finance, hin zur integrierten OLAP, Planungs- und Konsolidierungslösung von SAP dem Business Planing and Consolidation BPC.

In Ergänzung mit SAP HANA sicher eine der zukunftsträchtigsten Lösungen auf dem Markt der Produkte zur integrierten Planung und Konsolidierung, oder dem gesamten Reporting.

So, 2017, Wir sind 4 Jahre weiter, viel ist passiert SAP hat BPC um das Modell RTC (Real time consolidation) erweitert. Ich bin seit Mai 2017 Mitarbeiter von SAP im BTC (Business Transformation Consultant) Team CFO Advisory tätig.

Wir sind dabei mein Starter Kit von BPC 10.0 auf die Real time Variante zu heben. Unser Partner in Indien hilft bei der technischen Umsetzung. Wir haben die Zusammenarbeit intensiviert und im Rahmen eines Retail Projektes in Kopenhagen das BPC integriert in die Welt des ERP´s.

Wir werden in diesem Blog wieder Artikel schreiben und über das RTC Modell berichten.

2019 ein paar Projekt weiter:

  1. S4/HANA Controlling Konzept:
    1. Ergebnisrechnung mit FICA als Datenbasis
    2. CO / Versus BPC
    3. BPC versus Group Reporting
    4. SAP HCM integration mit BPC S4/HANA
    5. Vertriebsplanung mit CRM nach BPC
    6. Wo mache ich was im S4/HANA (SAC/BPC/Group Reporting/COPA/CDS VIEW/ Analyse for Office) ?
  2. Central Finance Konzept Pharma
  3. Retail Planung auf BPC 11.0 BW4/HANA als Ablösung einer BW Version
  4. Produktionsstrassen Planung Automotive auf BPC 11.0 (Prototyp)
  5. Zwischengewinne im Maschinenbau über eine Wertschöpfungskette mit BPC
  6. Ablösung einer Planungsapplikation auf Tagetik mit SAP BPC 11.0
  7. Berührungspunkte mit SAP Group Reporting Konsolidierung
  8. Erweiterung einer SAP FC Applikation um einen Cashflow und dem Thema Verschmelzung / Endkonsolidierung

Ich hoffe, dass dieser Blog Ihnen Hilfe bietet, Diskussionsstoff, Anregungen und Ansichten zum Thema integrierten Berichtswesen.

Viel Spass

Frank Mülder