Today, the 2011 ASUG Annual Conference (and SapphireNOW) began with a series of pre-conference education sessions. I was fortunate enough to attend the Enterprise Performance Management Version 10.0 Roadmap session led by a number of product experts within SAP’s EPM leadership team. The goal of the session was to provide an overview of the changes that were coming in the to-be-launched-this-week EPM 10.0 as well as the vision for the suite of products beyond this pending release.
I was most interested in the SAP BusinessObjects Business Planning and Consolidation (“BPC”) portions of the session, since that’s the tool that I work with the most within the EPM product category. In today’s session, I learned that SAP will be delivering a number of enhancements in the 10.0 release and I’ll do my best to try to outline the bigger changes below and my thoughts on those changes.
New look and feel – One of the themes that SAP has been touting in the EPM 10.0 release is ‘Unified’, and this refers to making each of the EPM products have a similar user-friendly interface so that the user doesn’t know whether they’re in a BPC report or a Strategy Management scorecard (for example). This new user interface seems very visually appealing based on the screenshots and demos provided.
Integrated security with Netweaver back-end – One of the complaints about BPC security in previous 7.x releases was that the security was not integrated with the underlying BW system. SAP appears to have addressed this issue and provides a new administration area that will give system administrators a user friendly tool that acts as a front-end to PFCG or SU01 transaction code.
Enhanced hierarchy maintenance – While maintaining hierarchies were do-able by maintaining the ParentHx property in the dimension sheet, new functionality was developed that will allow for drag and drop hierarchy builds within BPC.
Enhanced script logic editor – Let’s face it, writing script logic can be less than straight-forward (and that’s putting it nicely), but with the new functionality planned for this enhancement, it will become a little easier. With keywords and MDX statements now at a script-writer’s finger tips, searching online for the exact nomenclature will hopefully be less frequent.
No more .Net tier – As a business guy, I’m not sure that I understand exactly what this involves, but a more simplified and streamlined backend likely makes things easier.
Enhanced core consolidation functionality – New features such as Consolidation Central will give administrators a single place for configuration. Better data validations (with thresholds that will allow consolidation process to continue or if breached, to stop) and a Consolidation Monitor (ala SEM-BCS) are added features in the upcoming release.
Ownership Manager – the Dynamic Hierarchy Editor is now called the Ownership Manager. This web-based tool allows for auto calculation of ownership percentages based upon a user input of the Parent/Child relationships. Based on the description, this reminds me a little of the SEM-BCS Group Shares report.
Web-based Journals – Journals will now be entered via a new web-based front-end, with what seemed to be a user-defined layout. Enhanced journal reporting using a query manager will also allow users to better investigate the entries that are being posted in the system.
Future HANA Enablement – Beginning later in 2011, BPC will be enabled to run on HANA, first with replication of data using the Sybase Replication Server. Then, in mid-2012, look for BPC to run fully on the HANA technology.
Further demonstrating what SAP has said it would do, some of the Netweaver enhancements mentioned above will be available in the Microsoft platform, but not all. Specific notable enhancements called out for the Microsoft platform were performance enhancements brought on by fully leveraging the 64-bit architecture and a new Advanced Variance Analysis tool that will help drive variance reporting. The AVA will only be available in the Microsoft version of BPC, at least for the initial roll-out of 10.0
It was a really good Roadmap session with a lot of excellent and knowledgeable speakers. I hate to short-change the speakers for the non-BPC EPM tools, but that’s what my personal focus is on these days.
I look forward to an exciting week at ASUG Annual Conference and SapphireNOW as there will be plenty of EPM sessions (more than any one person can actually attend by him/herself).
Don’t miss the official launch of EPM 10.0 on Tuesday, May 17 at 11:00am ET.
I’m quite certain that I missed out on some other enhancements that are coming in 10.0, especially on the Microsoft side, so please don’t think that’s all that’s coming.