As a BPC/BW/HANA Education Consultant for SAP Education, I spend a lot of time “demystifying” topics like SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) for my students. In this blog, I’d like to do the same for you. I’ll teach you a few things, and provide links to information that can help you expand your knowledge. Also, be sure to read all the way through. That’s because at the end of this blog I’ve included some tips and tricks that you might not see in a normal classroom environment!
If you have a topic you’d like us to discuss, please post a reply to this blog. And of course, we encourage you to comment or ask questions. We’re here to help each other learn!
What courses should you consider to learn about BPC?
Have you read through some of the documentation available in SAP Learning Hub, or perhaps you’ve looked at the descriptions of these SAP courses?
- SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, version for SAP NW (Standard Edition): Administration & Planning Configuration (BPC420)
- SAP Business Planning and Consolidation: Reporting and Planning (BPC430)
- SAP Business Planning and Consolidation: Consolidation (BPC440)
- SAP Business Planning and Consolidation, Version for SAP NetWeaver: Embedded Model (BPC450)
If you have, you probably realized the BPC learning curve is quite easy. These classes are offered as instructor led training in a classroom, virtually, or we can do them onsite customized. You may need some guidance up-front and that’s why I’m here! This blog will demystify how to come up to speed on BPC, to fill in some skill gaps you might have, or even to get certified.
What are other sources of information for BPC?
If you are new to BPC, I suggest that you first check out the BPC classes that are linked above. If you worked with the earlier versions or you have some skill gaps – for example you never worked with business rules – there’s a learning room that might be helpful (read on!). Of course, the BPC online help is always good to have handy and don’t forget about the how to papers as well.
How can you get certified?
If your goal is to perhaps fill in some gaps and then get certified you may want to consider the BPC Learning Room to browse through all of the course guides and then sign up for the exam which is offered at various times and locations. It is a 3 hour test with 80 questions and it covers the 10.0 Standard version of BPC (10.1 for the Standard version is essentially the same as 10.0).
What are the two main product offerings for BPC?
Just so you know BPC now comes in two flavors: Standard and Embedded. The Standard version was originally called Classic. This is the flavor we’ve been working with since 2007. The Embedded version came out in 2014 when BPC user centric features such as the BPC Web Client, work status, and business process flows were put on top of BW Integrated Planning. Feel free to post a reply below or ping me with about BPC product options.
Tips and Tricks
This will be the initial offering of tips and tricks in this blog. We’ll update the blog later with additional golden nuggets! These are above and beyond what you would see in a normal classroom. The ones I am sharing below were selected because they have come up just recently.
Tip #1: How to automate a data manager package to run in one step
If you have imported data or copied actual to plan data lately you of course had to endure clicking about 8 – 10 dialogs along the way. And, if you have to repeat the process that can really get to you. So, why not just record the selections in a macro (mrc) file so that you can run the package in just one click?
Here’s how. Go to the EPM add-in and in the Data Manager tab, choose Run Package. In the Run Package dialog, select a package such as flat file import and then click Automation:
Choose New Automation and record your selections for the package: 1.Select the flat file, 2.Browse for the transformation file, 3.Choose merger or replace & clear, 4.Decide how to handle duplicate records in the source, 5.Select whether to run default logic, 6.Select whether to check work status, 7.Select a key date, and finally name the mrc file.
Now you can run the package in just 3 steps instead of 10! Just choose Automation, choose Run Automation, select the mrc file, and that’s it!
Tip #2: How to set user defaults in the EPM add-in
Have you ever wondered how to set user options or ID vs description display or how to push connections out to users? Let me show you the user files that store this information first and then let’s talk about how to push these files out to the user machines.
Let’s begin by locating the connections and preferences files. In the EPM add-in , go to File → Open → Desktop → User → AppData → Local → EPMOfficeClient and there you’ll see the Connections.xml and EPMClientPreferences.XML files:
The Connections stores connections that the user either created themselves or that have been pushed out to the user via the UJLD transaction code. Here’s an example of the connections file content:
The key parts of the preceding file include the Environment (BPC420_00), the Model (Consolidation), and the server (http://wdflbmt7040.wdf.sap.corp:60029/sap/bpc/).
Here’s an example of the EPMClientPreferences.XML file:
The preceding image essentially has two components: 1. Defaults and 2. Member Selections. Here’s an example of a default: <DoubleClick>true</DoubleClick>. This setting allows the user to double click on a parent to see its children – true is on and false is off. Here is a setting of a member selection:
The preceding code identifies the application and the current view is now known as the EPM Context. In this example, the account member BS00 has been selected. This allows the user to use their last set of data selections when they log back in to the EPM add-in.
So now we need to discuss how best to push this out to the user machines so they don’t have to create their own connections…and you can set their defaults to make the user experience smoother, easier and more consistent. To push the two files discussed above, we’ll just use the UJLD transaction code in BW:
At the top of the preceding image, you can see the three options for the user: User Update, Auto Update, and Force Update. Which one to use is up to your basis support.
The File Version – enter the version of the installer included in the download.
Installer Type – use Full Installer for the first install, and Update File for updates.
File to Upload to Server – this will include the two discussed earlier. Update them individually.
As a result, your EPM add-in users won’t have to create their own connections, and everyone will have the same set of user defaults to make their experience more pleasant and easier to support.
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As I mentioned, if you have comments or questions, or you’d like to suggest a topic for us to discuss, please post a reply to this blog!