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If SAP allows it, why can’t BPC?

SAP Business Objects for Planning & Consolidation (referred as BPC in subsequent
discussion) for Master data (Dimension Members) allows use of letters (A-Z),
numbers (1,2.0), Underscore ( _ ) , Dots ( .) , any other characters is not
allowed to be maintained as dimension members. This applies for both the
versions of the product – Microsoft (MS) and NetWeaver (NW ) of the solution.

Let us take an example of material master in SAP- ERP, depending
on your configuration – it will allow you to create “material no.” using
special characters however in BPC there is a limitation on the permitted
characters as given below in the help link below: ( )

*+Create dimension names with a maximum of 16 characters and
     without single quotation marks (‘), double quotation marks (“), back
     slashes (\), or ampersands (&). Dimension IDs cannot contain a dash
     , but can support an underscore (_).+*


As BPC is being positioned as the enterprise wide solution for
Financial and Operational Planning hence it is imperative that it allows
use of special characters in the dimension members.

 I recently had a situation in one of my BPC Planning Project
– when I mentioned about this limitation to the CFO, response was *“If
SAP allows it, why can’t BPC”.*

I am highlighting the challenges and solution provided for this


<p>-       As the master data had
possible characters like “,” (comma), “ “ “ (double quotes), “’ ” (sing quote)
,  ” |” (tab), there was a challenge to identify the delimiter
to be used to extract the master data from SAP</p>

<p>-       The logic to replace special
character (discussed above) with the “ _”  (Underscore) would result into
a new code which may already be available in the existing master data resulting
into duplicates (For example: Master data A-B, will be replaced with A_B,
however A_B was already part of the existing Master data)</p>

<p>-       There were some master data
with one or two spaces at the end resulting into duplicates (A-B<SPACE>,

<p>-       Conversion file had to be
maintained for Transaction data as different IDs were maintained in BPC than
IDs from SAP, due to special characters restriction</p>


–       We have obtained a fixed
width file format from SAP to avoid any issue with delimiter being the part of
the Master data itself

–       Added another property
(attribute ) called SAP_ID to indicate the original ID from SAP, which will
also be used for retraction to SAP & Reporting, as Users were familiar with
IDs in SAP

–       Configured SQL Server
Integration Services (SSIS) package
to remove special characters with “_” ,  in case if the same master data
is already available then added a running number (1,2,,,,,,9) at the end to
make it unique

–       For subsequent runs  of
the package, process only those master data which are not available in BPC
hence the logic did not apply to processed dimension members in BPC – always
worked in the delta mode 

–       Configured Standard
makedim.dtsx package to update the processed master data from staging table
into the BPC

–       Configured Conversion file
using SAP ID & BPC IDs to avoid manual maintenance of conversion file

–       Scheduled  2 packages
using Data manager – 1st –> to make unique master data and
2nd –> makedim.dtsx (to update BPC dimension)

While we did we manage to overcome the limitation in BPC because
of restriction on the permitted characters, it will be great if BPC development
Team can look at overcoming this limitation. In SAP – BW there is way to
maintain the permitted characters as part of the Configuration – something similar
could be done in BPC as well (just a thought – there could be a better way!)

I have put a request at SAP – Idea place  ( ). if you think BPC should have this functionality do vote for this idea so
that this limitation can be overcome, in future we will not a CFO or Group
Finance – making a statement *“If SAP allows it, why can’t BPC ” *</p>

1 Comment
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  • True Umesh. The BPC data type should sync with ECC and BW. We too had a similiar situation where WBS id from ECC can’t be accomadated in BPC for capex planning. We had to append full WBS ID with description column and used lookup to display in EVDRE.