I have had the pleasure of approximately 60 flights year to date visiting BPC clients (and unhappy Hyperion clients) sharing details of SAP’s Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC). Top two subjects? Upgrades to SAP BPC 10 and the SAP BPC Roadmap.
I am here to report that from Houston, Boise, Vancouver, BC, Oklahoma City, Denver, Seattle, San Jose and even Orange County there is a considerable number of SAP clients who are still running BPC version 7. Not because these folks are behind the times, but rather their BPC 7.0 and 7.5 deployments were best in class for the EPM space. Gartner even agrees. I like to call these my “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” clients. To their credit they maximized the ROI of their SAP BPC 7 investments and should be commended.
Well the time of “broke” is coming. Meaning that the end of Mainstream support for SAP BPC version 7.x Microsoft is happening on March 31, 2016. What this generally means:
- Expect your support costs to double. Mainstream support will end. Out of mainstream support costs will be much higher than standard mainstream support.
- No enhancements or future fixes, patches or upgrades to Version 7.x (there are exceptions for security and certain bugs. Refer to your support documentation or contact SAP sales to review)
- Less support staff dedicated to BPC version 7. Longer wait times, less resources supporting trouble tickets and basic de-provisioning of BPC 7 support capacity and capability.
- Further Constraints on Open Market resources as talent shifts to newer versions, retire, etc.. Expect prices and lead times for BPC 7 consultants and support to continue to increase over time beginning CY2016.
The great news is that BPC version 10 has been out for several years and delivers amazing enhancements over BPC 7.5, namely in the evolution away from EVDRE’s. This is a “big deal” because EVDREs were required in BPC version 7 to create reports or input schedules. This meant that anyone building these items required significant training. Now with a migration to BPC 10, that training requirement is eliminated and any Excel user can be quickly and easily “up trained” to be a BPC user. Other enhancements exist but making reports and input worksheets easy for users is BPC 10’s most significant upgrade in my opinion. Some other key enhancements include:
- New HTML 5 Web User Interface
- Support for SAP EPM Unwired mobile app
- Enhanced reporting functionality, performance and the EPM add-in. The EPM add-in is Menu add into Excel that allows Excel to become a “window into BPC”.
- What I’ve heard IT departments say:
“We love the fact that the BPC client is now an Excel add-in that users can install themselves. BPC is easier on my IT department than Oracle Hyperion and for that you have my staff’s appreciation. We no longer need to pay for Essbase.” – CIO, High Tech customer in San Jose
“BPC 10 completely eliminates the need for EVDREs, specialized training or cost to hire consultants to write reports. I am very pleased.” – Director of FP&A, Oil & Gas customer in Houston
What is the roadmap for BPC? According to SAP, BPC 10.x mainstream support will run to end of the decade until 12/31/2020. That means if you schedule your BPC migration today, you have OVER 5 years of support with no worries. I suspect those “ain’t broke” clients are smiling again. Because they are SAP clients and paying for BPC support, the software is FREE! Software upgrades to BPC 10 are often covered under our itelligence AMS (Application Management Support) teams or traditional BPC consulting which are the top notch Aster guys. Itelligence acquired Aster almost 2 years ago and that team remains intact today as the backbone of the itelligence BPC practice.
Sometimes clients want the upgrade with no additional changes and other times they take the opportunity to enhance the application and/or performance. Both approaches make sense depending on the goals and constraints of your organization. I highly encourage you to plan ASAP for your BPC 10 upgrade. There are reasons enough to upgrade now and not wait. By waiting, you slow down your organization and prevent your users from accessing the new front end. That alone is more costly than an upgrade. To immediately improve BPC adoption and user satisfaction, I recommend that you get BPC 10 in the hands of your users as soon as possible. They will certainly appreciate your efforts to make their jobs easier, the IT department will appreciate the reduction of labor and headache from supporting EPM solutions and you will avoid the aforementioned impacts of BPC 7.x’s end of mainstream support coming in just six short months.
Remember folks, put your data to work for you. If not, you are working for your data.
Join Us for a Case Study Webinar with Ellucian: Upgrading SAP BPC 7.5 Microsoft to BPC 10.1