Plug’n’play Business Content – still waiting…
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.
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.