Making the Most of Migration

Data Quality

SAP BPC: 7.5 – 10.1 (EVDRE to EPM-ADDIN)

If you’re working in a finance department for a medium/large sized business, there’s a good chance you’re currently living with a legacy financial planning system. There’s also a chance there’s a migration/upgrade looming on your timeline in the next twelve months that is keeping you awake at night thinking about how you’re going to squeeze it in around you’re already hectic month end.

Migration to an updated version of what you’re already using (usually due to updated support or integration) doesn’t mean you have to replicate the exact blueprint. Time and time again, departments focus purely on the conversion from one version to the next, without investigating the potential value add of the updated software. Another common practise is failing to probe at the dry rot of the existing system before spending time and efforts replicating it, losing an opportunity to allocate resources elsewhere.

With some initial analysis, you can feel the full benefit of a software upgrade. This can be particularly poignant when migrating from SAP BPC 7.5 to 10.1, especially if the upgrade includes moving across from EVDRE based reporting to the EPM-Add In. EVDRE requires a high amount of user manual input, and doesn’t have the same level of dimension lock down or dynamic protection as the Add-In offers. The following steps will help lay the groundwork of your SAP BPC upgrade, and a lot of the principles can be applied to migrations:

OUTPUT VALUE TEST

Value test your current outputs: Review your reaped reward from the current system. Understand the critical outputs and remind yourself of the pains you experienced initially that caused the decision to invest in a planning system in the first place. Review with end users, what they do and don’t use. Don’t be afraid to probe into whether or not specific outputs actually provide value, and map out what they are used for.

Ask the following questions of your outputs:

  • Does the output of a report make it to senior management through reporting and have the potential to influence decisions?
  • Do the generated KPI’s truly correlate to performance?
  • Is the information created, used for any operational analysis?
  • Is the data correctly calculated?
  • Could a calculation be made more accurate/updated with evolving best practise?

Use the above questions to divide your outputs into essential, nice to have and not of benefit. From this you can work backwards to identify calculations, controls and therefore inputs that are essential and also identify areas that should be focused on less.

To build on this, discuss with end users what they would like to be able to automate within the system and also what they currently do manually. They may not know that some of their manual data manipulation may be possible within the system and could free them up to do more impactful analysis.

Finally document in full you’re essential outputs, discontinued requirements and new functionality to add.

PROCESS REVIEW

Now that all the business requirements have been gathered, the process by which you gather and generate your planning data can be investigated, in the context of the new system.

Understand that just because you’ve managed a process in a certain way before, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same going forward. Multiple manual data loads and inputs can often be consolidated into a more slim line, automated procedure.

The interface for EVDRE requires multiple manual selections to be entered by the user. This can often lead to information being accidentally entered into the wrong location in the system. Within the EPM-Add In it is possible for developers to fix dimensions and specifically outline variable contexts to ensure users are only able to adjust and input to relevant regions within the data model.

There is an EVDRE converter built into the EPM-Add In which works fine, but to make the most of the updated functionality it’s worth rebuilding your core reporting pack.

Use the following principles to build a best practise updated reporting pack:

  • Update relevant dimensional structure accordingly
  • Scale down your manual input where possible
  • Consolidate multiple reports into one that can dynamically represent all of your previous tabs using variable context on pre-defined dimensions
  • Create a Business Process Flow around your new and improved process (especially if you’re planning to use the system to do a monthly close)
  • Protect and regulate end-user interaction, using formatting lock rules
  • Don’t do things twice! There is no need to have multiple reports in the new system with the same dimension setup, displaying different members i.e. [Balance Sheet UK, Balance Sheet EU, Balance Sheet US] all of these can be merged into one General Balance Sheet with variable context

By doing your new system you can:

  • Easily lead to a reduction in the number of huge excel sheets used to generate Budget, Forecast and Month End.
  • Protect data quality through input management.
  • Improve the user interface meaning new or infrequent users will be able to gain value and generate useful outputs without extensive knowledge of the complex data structures.
  • Standardise formatting into a simple template that be can quickly applied to Ad Hoc reports.
  • Reduce the need for hidden tabs, ensuring data is linked directly to the database without multiple unprotected/documented calculations.

SUMMARY

Use your migration as an opportunity to take a step forward in terms of efficiency, not just upgrading to meet support requirements. Understand what the new technology can do for you and reframe your solution within these new, greater boundaries. To discover more about migrating SAP BPC, our proven implementation methodologies and accelerators, please get in touch.

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