I can’t decide whether I like BW Business Content or not. I am 50-50. It’s just like Star Trek: I can’t decide if I like Capt. Picard from Next Generation better than Capt. Kirk from the original Star Trek.
In my previous position at my previous employer, my first experience with using BW Business Content a few years ago was great – we used it for Budget Control System Funds Management. It was one of the reasons we implemented BW as ECC did not support Funds Management hierarchical reporting and that was a customer requirement.
We only had to add one extra field! However, at the time, I was the “functional” analyst on the project and the BW developers had develop pages and pages functional specs to ensure the content was correct.
At the same time, the BW developers turned on FI-AA business content with the asset master data and transactions without obtaining the requirements. As the functional analyst, this was a nightmare. Where were our custom fields? The developer kindly gave me an article from SAPTips written by Pat Pesa, who explained the flows into the DSOs and the InfoCubes…but goodness, the compound characteristic of cost-center controlling area was driving me crazy in the BEx queries!! Calling Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza: Serenity Now!! This project was abandoned at this time.
My next experience was as a BW developer to try to use it with Plant Maintenance Business Content. I tried and tried to get the preventive maintenance forecast hours by work centers to work with Business Content; it was a no-go. I would have been better off starting the modeling exercise from scratch. I ended up writing my own views to extract from to get the data needed from the maintenance plans and task lists. I spent countless hours on this task!!
Then the next time we were implementing ECC 6.0 Travel Management; the requirement was to track how long the travel process worked; the driver of the entire travel project was to get the employee’s travel paid in less than 5 days. BW was responsible for calculating and gathering this data.
I studied the Travel BW content and immediately decided the cubes would not work. However, I could reuse the InfoObjects such as 0EMPLOYEE, traveler, location, city, etc. So in a sense I was using Business Content. The other challenge was, should this be a full or delta load? After studying predicted data volumes, and looking at whether BW did delta or full loads for transactions. I decided to do full loads as well. I had to develop my own extractor using ABAP but at least I didn’t struggle with developing my own delta load.
The next project was to load training data from training & events management – the question was, who is taking our classes, and from what organizations? Guess what? Standard Business Content worked, and we were live in production in less than a month…what a timesaver, as the admin was manually gathering the statistics from several ECC reports. I could also reuse the 0EMPLOYEE info object I activated as part of my Travel project. A BW Business Content Success story, for sure!
Another project was to provide Warehouse Inventory reporting; there’s not much Business Content in WM, but at least I was able to reuse the 0MATERIAL infoobject. Everything was custom after that.
There are dangers to Business Content; to the untrained, you could activate all sorts of Business Content you really don’t need or use (hello, xRPM BW Business Content?).
At the end of the day, I am still 50-50; I like being able to use the BW variable content for queries, the infoobjects, but the cubes/DSO’s/extractors are an entirely different story. If you gather your requirements, do the use case analysis, prototyping, requirements reviews, technical reviews, then your project should be successful (another blog coming on this). This was not done for the FI-AA Business Content project, and therefore it was a failure.