How we revamped Business One demo databases
Well, it’s been a while since last time I blog something on Too many implementation hours? Ever tried Copy Express?…2 months just flew by :), I do apologize for not being able to keep this blog refreshed.
This time, I’ll go easy – I’m goanna pick something from my work for blogging. To make your blog-reading-life easy as well, I decided to slice the whole story into 2-3 shorter posts, which means you’ll have something new to read every half month and hopefully the article length won’t kill all your brain cells.
What I’d like to talk about is an internal project that I’ve been running since middle of last year. Out of this project, 2 elements convinced me that it’s even worthwhile to share with external Business One community:
1. SAP Business One demo databases – the ones you got when install the product CD/DVD (comes as an option), which are normally named as “SBODemo_US, SBODemo_UK, SBODemo_DE, …”
2. DTW (Data Transfer Workbench) (ref. 1)– the oldest and probably mostly-used standard SAP Business One add-on
Let me start with demo databases firstly. Demo databases play fairly important roles throughout Business One projects – with demo databases, sales/presales demonstrate the product; consultants prototype the business scenarios; end-users educate themselves. According to a survey (ref. 2) we conducted early this year, most people either use the demo databases shipped with Business One installation or build their own or use both.
Overall, the official demo databases provided by SAP have been performing pretty well. Nevertheless, world is not perfect, neither are those demo databases: we’ve been seeing several areas where demo databases could potentially improve with.
A picture speaks 1000 words. Without overwhelming you with too much “bla-bla”, I drew you a little image here:
I used to call this picture “Today’s World”, because it’s representing current situation when talking about Business One demo databases. No matter what version of Business One you’ve installed – 2005A SP01, 2005A, 2005B or even earlier releases, data in the demo databases varies from country to country:
- They are running on different businesses – computer store, sports equipment, etc.
- They have various master data and naming conventions.
- Business transactions were created manually without decent planning, some periods got many orders/invoices while other periods got less or zero, and some transaction types have empty data.
Early this year, we did a survey (ref. 2) to our partners worldwide, in which we asked one question “what you mostly like to see in the demo databases”. Following answers are on the top list:
- More data, especially more transaction data
- Support new modules and functionalities
- Could be used with SAP training materials
Our internal project, conducted in a progressive, evolutionary and trial-and-error way, is targeted to present Business One demo databases a complete new face, and at the end of the day, to server demo databases users more effectively. Image below is what we’ve been bearing in our mind:
The databases you will find in the upcoming Business One releases (2007A and 2007B), most of them have:
- Same business model (OEC Computer, hardware and software retailing)
- Unified master data codes (even though the details are in local languages)
- Well-planned transactions (cover most of Business One modules, running through 2006 and 2007 Q1)
- Local flavors (legal/accounting/geography/contact/etc information are set up by local practices)
The reason we picked OEC Computers, AKA SBODemo_US, is because this demo database is the most well-maintained demo databases from our point of view: the master data is comprehensive, the business model fits in Business One demonstration purpose perfectly well. Although some aspects are still missing, this is still a nice fundament we could start working on.
- Besides what I mentioned, in the upcoming 2007A, up to 15 countries (ref. 3) will have OEC Computers, we expect to see same trend shifting towards 2007B.
- Meanwhile, partners could go to the Channel Partner Page (ref. 3) and download their local versions of OEC Computers.
- Last but not least, the new Business One training courses and many knowledge products are developed based on OEC Computers data model. Users could print the training docs and explore the functions in their local version of OEC Computers.
In my next post of this series of blog, I’ll explain how we used SBODemo_US as a start point to build other country versions, and how we used DTW to accelerate the building process. Please stay tuned!
To get more information on Data Transfer Workbench, please check DTW anding page (access restricted to SAP Business One Partners)
119 partner contacts from 15 countries participated the survey through email and telephone interviews
To find out if your country has a local version of OEC Computers, check SAP BUSINESS ONE DEMO AND EVALUATION CENTER (accessrestricted to SAP Business One Partners)