Continuing from we left off last time –
Point # 3: BPC Software components:
Microsoft has released office 2007 for the general use some times back and currently several user groups started using MS Office 2007 or in the process of getting into it. Now this is a face that BPC 5.1 is predominantly much more comfortable with MS office 2003, particularly when we are talking at the MS Excel functionality based model.
I personally came across lot of situations where a transition (from MSO’03 to MSO’07) during a BPC implementation timeline or where some team member uses ‘07 and some ’03, creates a lot of unwanted confusions, breaks – resulting loss of valuable but unnecessary time.
My suggestions, before you embark on a BPC project decide about the MS version you would like to use during the implementation and stick to it. In case if you decide to use MS Office 2007 to start with, there are several OSS notes available to make it work, some at a server level or some at the client side.
Here are the impact areas for an Office compatibility problem,
- BPC – Admin area (where you maintain your dimension members)
- BPC for excel navigation links
- BPC for Word/PowerPoint navigation links
I have documented some key OSS notes I found handy here. But will strongly recommend looking into the SAP support portal for latest updates. Always remember, in all probability you are not the ‘lucky’ few to suffer for the first time for that particular issue. There must be somebody else who has gone through the same pain. Here is the list; one must have when in this situation –
- 1089848 Users Cannot Log Into BPC for Excel After MS Update
- 1173726 65K row limitation and Office 2007
- 1240811 Known issues with BPC and Office 2007
- 1243550 Templates become corrupted after saving in Office 2007
- 1264171 Microsoft Excel 2003 template is unrecognized in Excel 2007.
And lastly, make sure you are having the proper SP patch (>= SP2) implemented in SAP BPC to start with. As on 10th March 2009, SAP has published Patch 8 for the general use. I personally always believe in (Current -1) strategy. So one should have at least at the SP7 level as on today.
SAP BPC comes up with a standard Work flow engine ‘Business Process Flow’. There are a lot of values & process integrations can be achieved using this BPF functionality and its strength has been mentioned in each of the BPC sales material you might have came across. But there are several projects, where BPF didn’t work the way it was expected to do. An early planning & strategy formulation about BPF functionality in your rollout is a time well spent.
Now my favorite topic – sequencing your Consolidation & Planning effort. To discuss this, I must commit to the fact that I still have some confusion about BPC positioning in the bigger roadmap. I read quite a bit of write-ups and listened to SAP folks and came into a conclusion that, SAP really thinks BPC is the tool for the financial Planning going forward.
But if you look into the consolidation scenario, SEM-BCS is still there in SAP’s plan. Also whoever has used SEM BCS, knows it (BCS) comes with a lot of predefined processes which are not present in BPC (but those are possible to configure/develop with some tweak). Also as the ‘IFRS’ gaining momentum, SAP Business Object Consolidation tool ‘Cartesis’ as a consolidation tool getting lots of focus.
There are several communications from SAP on this and I have a feeling considering all the point above that rolling out BPC with Financial Planning and then to Consolidation make a lot of sense from product roadmap angle. But, if you look into the business process angle, without Actual data in the system, planning seems to be a big NO. Keeping that in mind it is preferable to rollout Consolidation & then Budgeting & Forecasting in BPC. You should think which fits well for your company.