Test driving the new SAP BPC 11.1 version for BW/4HANA
Two years ago, I switched from a beloved car brand that I stuck with for over a decade to something new. I love my new ride, but this summer I rented a car during my vacation and I was given a new model from my old, familiar brand. Even though the interior looked new and fresh, I instantly knew where to turn the lights on, how the menu buttons worked on the steering wheel and how to turn on the windshield wipers. I felt that comfortable familiar feeling immediately.
That’s how the Standard Version of Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) 11.1 felt when I had the opportunity to test drive it in our lab the over last few weeks. The reporting interface, namely the EPM Add-in, is virtually unchanged. The admin console’s updated web interface feels new and sleek, but the menu options are exactly where I expected them to be. The largest change, just like in my rental car, was under the hood—SAP’s new powerful database engine in BPC 11 is BW/4HANA. I will highlight these components as it relates to the Standard Version of BPC 11 in a bit more detail:
BPC 11.1 EPM Add-in
The Excel reporting interface in BPC 11.1 provides a familiar way to create reports and input templates in BPC 11 Standard. I used the EPM plug-in within Analysis Office 2.5 to test drive the reporting interface. Creating a report was as familiar as turning on the lights in my old ride. I can use all of the SAP best practices and tricks I’ve learned over the years using the EPM add-in.
Here are a few examples of my favorite functionality:
- Axis and Dimension Overrides
- Local Members
- Copy Range
- EPM Comparison
- Sheet Formatting
All these functions worked like a charm. The data manager functions and organization remained the same here as well. Some might wonder if I observed any performance gains in calculated dimension and measure formula data intersection, but unfortunately our dataset and dimensions weren’t robust enough to benchmark performance. Perhaps that will be a future blog topic to discuss.
The web interface in BPC 11.1 offers a fresh Fiori-like look with updates to how to navigate around the admin console and how to customize the landing page. Although the web interface changes could seem intimidating at first, navigating in the web admin felt as familiar like operating my old car. The new “hamburger” menu is easy to get used to especially if you’ve seen SAP Analytics Cloud. To further aid navigation, there is a new search functionality to allow users to search for configuration objects like dimensions or business rules or logic scripts. There are enhanced BPF navigation screens as well as a new task bar that can be enabled or disabled individually. Navigating and switching between pages and workspaces feels like a more seamless experience. Web reports and charts also have an updated look, but the functionality and creating them was very familiar. The download center is still tucked in the corner as in previous releases, the only thing I had to look for a bit more was the manage environment interface. Customizing the landing page is very intuitive; moving or resizing tiles are effortless.
HANA Studio\SAP GUI
The underlying database and its modeling interface is probably the most significant change when it comes to BPC 11 in comparison to previous versions. As most car buyers and owners don’t spend much time hunched over their car’s engine and don’t know every bit of detail on how the engine propels them from point A to B; BW/4HANA provides sufficient power to support all the data thirsty modelling most companies require these days.
Although the HANA Studio interface is not new for BW modeling, functionality that can be accessed using the SAP GUI is very limited and is mostly restricted to viewing BW objects and configuration that didn’t make its way to the new interface. Most of the object level configuration changes that can’t be performed in the admin console or BW modeling are exclusively done in HANA studio. There are few exceptions, for example, BPC specific process chains can be viewed in the old SAP GUI interface.
As I wrap up this blog post, I hope I was able to answer some questions about the various user interfaces and functionality of SAP BPC 11.1. It amazes me how familiar but also how exciting it felt to test out our new system and build content for our demos. Overall I’m impressed in what I saw in the Standard Version of BPC 11.1 and can’t wait to check out how modelling in the embedded BPC option has changed in BPC 11.