SAP BPC 10 has been in general release since April 23rd 2012, and from my project experience it appears well received. In this particular blog, I won’t focus on singing the praises of SAP BPC 10, so will avoid mentioning the greatly improved navigation, the smart administration console and perhaps most impressive, the easy to use and powerful EPM reporting tool. Well, not again. Instead I’m going to wax lyrical about one of SAP BPC 10’s newest features – time dependent hierarchies.
On the 6th February this year, SAP released a note informing those interested that SAP BPC 10 now allows you hold time dependent hierarchies. A few quick changes to the back end of your system and you are ready to go. There are two reasons why I believe this is blog worthy. Firstly, because it’s new; and because it’s new there isn’t a great deal of information or example floating around the web. Secondly, and the real reason I was stimulated to write this blog, is because it’s absolutely marvelous.
The business requirements for this functionality are numerous. For a detailed review, read Muthu Ranganathan’s blog – Time dependent hierarchy with BPC10 NW – Planning and Consolidations Use cases. To summarise, this new functionality facilitates:
- Planning and historical review of employee restructuring
- Legal entity restructuring – probably the most common and allows you to view the impact of a proposed merger, acquisition or divestment
- Regional restructuring
- Chart of accounts restructuring – very useful if your GAAP requirements are changing.
- Customer reclassification
- Product category changes
- Asset lifecycle management.
Regardless of the scenario, time dependent hierarchies allow quick evaluation of future scenarios and accurate review of historical data in its correct context. This should also prevent the need to create additional hierarchies to accommodate historical master data changes which slow down performance and are trickier to maintain.
Using the tool
Some aspects of the greater SAP landscape do not facilitate immediate usability and require a certain amount of training or understanding to use. This is not the case with this latest feature. This latest feature (and the note that came with it) is splendidly ergonomic. The time dependant hierarchies functionality in SAP BPC 10 is easy to set up, easy to maintain and adds a tremendous amount of value to an existing or new solutions (I did warn I’d wax lyrical).
The installation requirements are straight forward enough and I will spare you the pain of going into those in detail. Once this has been done, the first thing you’ll need to do is decide which dimension (or dimensions; though you are unable to apply this to time, which I find odd) you require time dependent hierarchies for. Now, this is where it starts to get good, and when I say good, I mean easy, and when I say easy, I mean tick a box easy. To change your dimension’s hierarchies to time dependent you just tick a box in the dimension structure.
Now the fun starts. Open your selected dimension in hierarchy mode and you’ll now see three new features; Create Version, Delete Version and a drop down box with a time period contained.
Select to create version and you are asked for the date the hierarchy starts. The hierarchy will apply from that date until, either the end of time, or until the next hierarchy starts. You are also asked which existing time dependent hierarchy you wish to copy in order to start.
You are then in the position to alter your hierarchy until it is correct for the time period selected. Interestingly, you can only create or delete time dependent hierarchies in hierarchy mode, but you can edit them in list mode (perhaps not that interesting). Once you have made your changes, reprocess the dimension and you’re done.
Ultimately this is where this additional feature adds its real value. Here you are able to view numbers in a historical or future context. There is a new feature that allows you to choose what is called the ‘key date’ or the date for which you would like to view the hierarchy. In the below case, I have select this time last year to see how my entity structure looked, but with this year’s numbers (and before you speculate these are random numbers).
Now, by changing the key date to six months from today, I can now see that Asia Pacific is captured within the Americas region affecting the nature of the report.
This works equally well with other dimensions and also allows you apply different key dates to different reports so you can compare them alongside each other.
Although not a ground breaking new feature as such, I’ve explained and demonstrated how straight forward the time dependent hierarchy functionality is in SAP BPC 10. There are some other points not mentioned here, for example there is the availability of using a data manager package to copy versions, which can be found in the released note. I believe, however, that even in this short blog, it is clear that this is a really sound improvement to SAP BPC 10. Also, this opens up additional scenarios where SAP BPC 10 is an option for those who felt this was an insurmountable restriction previously. I look forward to testing this functionality within a full SAP BPC 10 implementation and in particular seeing the benefits it will bring the business as usual process.