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Don’t get me wrong – I like being paid handsomely continuously architecting BW solutions which could just as well be delivered out of the box by SAP. doing user training that SAP just as well could be making available, etc.

Another blog by Tammy Powlas treated this subject as well. Conclusion here and in the comments was that BC could be used to some extent but has to be reworked and remodelled almost entirely whenever implementing. I would like to extend this point further.

Business Content – stale and unfinished

When did Business Content become lowest priority in SAPs pursuit to create an information management platform where user adoption is its strength? 

I believe (historically, at least) that the delivery of Business Content is one of the key parts of the SAP BW value proposition in competion with other Data Warehouse/Business Intelligence vendors.

Decision makers choose SAP BW because it comes with (if you believe the sales agent) pre-installed analytical solutions for all the business processes in the ECC business suite, thereby eliminating the need for long subsequent BI projects after introducing new business processes/ECC functionality.

Us BW workers know the truth is far from it. And to some degree we have learnt that from business content only extractors and InfoObjects are actually usable, while the rest of the dataflow is pretty much useless. Examples are business content not adhering to SAP’s own architectural guidelines, 3.x version content, hopeless dimensional modeling and missing alignment of common characteristics. And don’t get me started on the documentation available – extremely low context and detail.  

Business Content – how it should be

  • Business Content should be the analytical solution supporting the business processes implemented in the ECC. Why is there no real scenarios built where SAP deliver the business process, the analytical/controlling process and combined process documentation and makes it available for end users to use and educate themselves? If SAP took the time to do this they would also be able to create solutions which contain queries and WAD templates that users are actually able to use with minimal adjustments.
  • Why do I need to activate business content? It takes forever and is error prone. It should be available out of the box (maybe with process chains unscheduled). At least make it a one-click activation – and then add rollback/uninstallation functionality.
  • Alignment of characteristics and key figures to support real analysis. Too much of Business Content delivered is fragmented and unaligned to its purpuse – you have to run multiple queries and perform Excel manipulation to use for management reporting. Or you customize your solution for include these things for alignment – with additional cost.
  • Adhere to architectural guidelines. Why does Business Content not always adhere to current architectural guidelines, such as LSA, performance optimization guidelines, process chain design, upgrading objects from v 3.x etc? It is ridiculous that I have to start out rearchitecting the whole solution whenever activating business content in order to adhere to SAP’s own recommendations.

 

Conclusion

I could go on with short comings of Business Content. But all these shortcomings have solutions that for experienced SAP workers know are just best practice and a matter of following SAP’s own recommendations. And I believe the potential is huge. Once this is in place – implementation of relevant and stunning analytics solutions in BOBJ is a breeze and real user adoption becomes plug’n’play.

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9 Comments

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  1. Naveen Kumar Ketha
    Hi Jacob,

    Excellent Blog.. Can anyone from SAP comment on this blog?

    Few months back I think SAP had done a survey to find out how many customers are interested in getting the Business Content delivered in 7.0 Version. I had completed the survey and told SAP that It’s very important for SAP to deliver Content in 7.0 and update the Business Content That meets today’s technology.
    Can SAP shared the survey results or atleast communicate roadmap of Business Content?

    I am really surprised why SAP is not showing any urgency in updating Business Content which is one of the biggest selling points for BW

    Thanks,
    Naveen.

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    1. Martin Maruskin
      this survey as well. Meanwhile I was in touch with SAP guy with regards of Business Content. Seems they keep on working on this topic…
      However I would appreciate if someone form SAP could provide some comments…
      Cheers, Martin
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    2. Kenneth Murray
      Everything you say is exactly how I have felt for a very long time.  I have just given up on hoping for anything meaningful in this area.  The documentation is enough to make you throw your hands up and say uncle.  I love it when a client says “can’t you just quickly install the business content?”…  I just installed the SCM 3.x Business Content (no 7.x available after how many years?) and the documentation and level of “Business Content” queries is almost useless.
      I only have hope for future generations when it comes to this area..
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      1. Richard Putz
        Short addition:
        SAP BI Content development has taken into account these valuable results (of the online survey) for the planning which data flows from BW datasources to InfoProviders shall be migrated to SAP BW 7.0 technology.
        (0) 
        1. Naveen Kumar Ketha
          Thanks Richard for sharing the survey results. Do you have any times lines on when Customers can expect Business Content delivered in 7.0 ?I hope there is a road ma for BC.
          I hope based on the survey results, SAP can understand It’s a high priority and very important for Customers to have BC in 7.0 to have better TCO.
          (0) 
      2. Richard Putz
        Short addition:
        SAP BI Content development has taken into account these valuable results (of the online survey) for the planning which data flows from BW datasources to InfoProviders shall be migrated to SAP BW 7.0 technology.
        (0) 
  2. Markus Boehm
    Hi Jacob,

    BI Content was mainly modeled and developed at a time when SAP BW was not ready to support the overall data warehousing concept.
    As of SAP BW release 7.3 the data warehousing workbench comes up with more and more features enabling the BI Content implementation with respect to SAP’s own architectural guidelines (e.g. LSA) and reducing the data latency by near real-time data acquisition.
    With regard to already existing SBOP integration into SAP BW and BI Content for distinct applications we would like to draw your attention to the following SCN page: Embedded Analytics for Innovations 2010 (Embedded Analytics for Innovations 2010)

    We have started an idea place (https://cw.sdn.sap.com/cw/community/ideas/datawarehousing) to collect your ideas regarding BI Content improvements. I encourage you to share your ideas.

    Best regards
    Markus

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    1. Jacob Isaksen Post author
      Hi Markus,

      I apologize for not writing this reply sooner. It’s nice to see SAP staff getting involved in the blog debate.

      I applaude having an Idea Place for BI Content – just wish more would contribute, given the wide adoption of BI Content.

      I’m working on an entry, based on one of the above blog. More will come as time permits.

      Could you reveal where I may find information regarding current BI Content roadmap?

      Regards, Jacob

      (0) 

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