BPC embedded: Combining the 2 worlds of BPC standard and BW
While BPC standard is a data mart scenario which requires to copy all master and transactional data, BPC embedded is a deeply integrated scenario with the corporate data. This coporate data is usually selected from all different backend systems by the central data warehouse.
Data models usually have a ‘visibility’. In a BW system with corporate data all InfoObjects and InfoProviders have a global visibility. Please don’t confuse this with authorizations. With ‘visibility’ here I mean the following: in BW there exists no ‘container’ other than the BW system itself where the BW objects physically belong to.In ‘BPC standard’ there exist a physical container the ‘BPC Environment’ to group planning applications and the visiblity of objects. However, you have to pay the price that you need to replicate the data. See Solving the planners dilema.
BPC embedded tries to bridge both worlds. Leveraging the corporate data from BW especially for actuals and still enabling line of business (LOB) features. However combining both worlds also leads to semantic objects of both worlds. First we offen see differences of used terms like shown in the table below
|General Term||BPC standard||BW|
|Dimension, Master Data||Dimensions||Characteristics|
|Representation of values||Measure or Account Dimension||Key Figures,|
|Cube, Data Storage||Model||InfoProvider, RealTimeCube, aDSO|
|Constraints||Rule||Characteristic Relationship, DataSlice|
|Report||Report||AO Worksheet and BW Query|
In planning and reporting one is interested in values depending on a modeled set of dimensions. Take ‘Revenue’ by ‘Fiscal Year’, ‘Version’, ‘Product’. In ‘BPC standard’ the dimensions are called dimensions and the objects representing the values are called ‘measures’ or account dimension as a special dimension. BW uses the notions characteristics and key figures for the values, respectively. In some clients (Admin-Client, EPM Add-In) ‘BPC embedded’ objects use the ‘BPC standard’ terminology for UI consistency reasons, however in the BO end user tools like AO and DS the BW notations need to be kept to make them work in both worlds.
But the different wording is not all, we have also see semantic differences. The BPC model uses the account model while BPC embedded has its strength in the key figure model. Instead of the account dimension with its normal and calculated members we have base, restricted and calculated key figures in BW. Sign flipping on accounts for example has also be modeled in those key figures. Those key figures are not master data but modeled objects which can be transported. BW is very strong on different type of hierarchies but also support intermediate sums. In BPC to get intermediate sums every dimension has a trivial hierarchy with the All Member being the top node and all other members being leave nodes. Also time dimension in BPC standard can be filled with arbitrary values and build arbitrary hierarchies while in BW times follow the standard ERP times and has predefined time hierarchy. BPC standard stores data periodic or aggregated with respect to time (YTD) why in BW we only provide YTD in the query consumption. Also Constraints behave different and even more the different calculation engines.
Of course a expert summary cannot cover all differences and aspects of the models and engines. Details are well explained in the blog Concepts compared: BPC standard and BPC embedded
In addition BW and therefore BPC embedded uses a lot query features together with AO worksheets while in BPC classic reports are created in the EPM Add-In. The reports are done by power user, usually controllers. On the other hand queries are created by the central IT team. In BPC embedded we try now also to bridge this using local query designer for the line of business and adding more report design capabilities to the AO front end tool. Goal is that power users can start from default queries of a cube or other InfoProvider and create his own report without modelling query. In praxis probably a hybrid approach might be most effective by setting up some template queries which can be enhanced to own reports fitting own needs.
See the next article to study the differences in detail of both BPC models in detail.