Monday, June 3, 2013, 12:15 AM
SAP Process Control is designed to transform manual assessments into automated control schedules and checks. GRC 2013 speaker Tracey Rust of Integrc recently took questions on get the most from this tool, in a Q&A moderated by GRC 2013 producer Matt Moore.
In advance of Tracey's session at GRC 2013 conference in Amsterdam, this Q&A covering topics such as Process Control implementation planning, how to avoid data migration issues, use of Adobe forms, performance and change management, ensuring correct filter values, optimizing dashboards, and more.
You can read the full text of the Q&A in Insider Learning Network's Compliance Forum, or read our edited transcript here.
Matt Moore: Welcome, everyone, and thanks for joining us today.
Today, Integrc's Principal Consultant Tracey Rust is joining us to take your questions on SAP Process Control. Most recently, Tracey's role has focused on controls design and automation, and she has led a global transformation program to implement SAP Access and Process Control.
Tracey will be presenting a session dedicated to SAP Process Control at the upcoming GRC 2013 conference in Amsterdam.
Welcome, Tracey, and thank you very much for taking the time for today's Forum!
Tracey Rust, Integrc: Hi all and welcome to the session.
Matt Moore: I do have one question to start things off -- a business question before we get into more details about filter values, reporting and data:
In your GRC 2013 session, you cover typical use cases for Process Control. For those evaluating this solution, where in the business do you see PC now? Any tips for preparing for a new implementation?
Tracey Rust: The key areas are to consider the GRC maturity of the client and assess the degree of automation that can be offered -- the aim being to reduce the burden and cost of manual-based tests. This not only increases assurance but also helps offer cost reductions in control management.
Matt Moore: Can you elaborate a bit on GRC maturity and what specifically to consider?
Tracey Rust: When I say GRC maturity, I refer to the maturity of the business approach to their control and risk matrix. In some cases a client may have a very mature RACM that has taken years to refine, and we must not lose sight of that investment. Hence the automation of the manual activities can be focused on this as a starting point. Once these automated controls are in place you can then look to extend the breadth of the framework further.
In other situations, the client may be just at the start of their GRC journey. The use of the solution and its design can help them refine their RACM and take it to the next level.
M.S. Hein: Tracey, good morning.
Can you give a few tips on preparing for -- or avoiding -- data migration issues with Process Control? Thanks.
Tracey Rust: Assuming when you refer to migration you mean across the GRC landscape, then the main thing is to think ahead.
The data within PC is moved using three different tools: CLM, ABAP Transport, and manual. CLM and ABAP transports provide a controlled mechanism for migrating the data across the GRC landscape. Manual changes, of course, are more difficult to manage. I would always ensure that within the migration a full data validation and sign-off by the client/auditor is in place.
Matt Moore: With all the automation that comes with Process Control, user adoption is still critical to take you through to remediation. Can you share a couple of your best practices for optimizing dashboards and forms for the managers who need to respond to alerts? Is this where Adobe Interactive Forms can be used?
Tracey Rust: When it comes to dashboards then my recommendation it to invest the time in gathering your requirements. Make sure you really understand what each setting means. Sometime people focus too much on how it looks rather than what goes in it.
In relation to Adobe forms, the standard form covers a wide area of Survey assessments, manual test plans, and elements of Risk Management. As a result, the form can look a little complex for the user. Tailoring the form to suit the client is a good solution, but do so with caution to ensure that you are not removing things that will be needed in the future.
The use of the interactive forms opens up a whole new approach to the controls solution. No longer do you ask a senior Finance Director/Risk Manager to log on to a system. They can just complete their responses in a form that arrives via their email.
Currently this functionality does not exist with the continuous monitoring area of the system.
HeraleenBowers: Is there any documentation about best practices to integrate GRC Process Control with GRC Access Control? Our implementations are currently separate, but we may get an opportunity to integrate them in the future, and we are wondering how to best get them working together to improve our return on investment.
Tracey Rust: There is a document that covers the details of how the AC and PC elements of the system integrate. I am not aware that this is specifically a best practice document, more of an overview of the options. There are some key points that you should always look for. The top 3 being: Organizational Structures, Connectors, and Controls.
Dave Hannon: Tracey,
Thanks for taking our questions today. I have two questions (at opposite ends of the spectrum).
First, are there any common tips or practices for improving the technical performance of Process Control? Sizing suggestions or version/integration concerns?
Secondly, when I hear "automation" I immediately think change management. Do you have any suggestions on areas that organizations might want to pay particularly close attention to -- in terms of org change management -- when increasing the automation in PC?
Tracey Rust: Hi,
In relation to technical performance, then we always start with the SAP sizing guide and take it from there. This is within the Basis area of expertise.
You may find that you experience communication issues for some controls, however these tend to be when a data set is very large. The key here being to schedule the control more frequently.
Yes, automation and change management are linked. I would always recommend a set of automated controls that are designed to ensure your GRC PC system stays in line with any changes to the connected ECC systems. For example, if within PC you have selected certain company codes as within scope of your controls, you must ensure you can flag if these filters need updating if a new company code is created. Automated controls can be set to do this.
Remember, monitoring by exception means they run in the background and only send something to the user if an issue is identified.
Mark Bridges: Dave,
For sizing have a look at the following:
Sizing guide SAP GRC 10.0 (Access Control and Process Control) service.sap.com/sizing. Once on the web page then in the menus on the left hand side open “Sizing Guidelines --> Analytics" to find the documents.
You will need an SAP Service Marketplace ID to be able to access this area.
The only version/integration you need to take into account is if you are looking to run GRC 10.0 with an existing Access Control v5.3 that will communicate to the same ECC systems. There are specific patch levels for the plug-in that are applied to the ECC systems to ensure they can co-exist.
Ken Murphy: Hi Tracey, how does Process Control help assess IT preventive controls and IT dependent controls?
Tracey Rust: Hi Ken,
That's a big question. I could write for hours!
The main value is the ability to monitor by exception. The controls, once in place, are scheduled based upon a timetable (or ad hoc if needed), but only when an issue is identified would the owner need to take corrective action. All the time assurance data is being collected.
This allows you to expand the breadth and frequency of your control testing.
The largest initial impact tends to be in the areas of Procure to Pay or Record to Report (also Finance to Manage) process areas, but controls can cover the whole breadth of the business processes.
My suggestion is to make sure you understand the key risks you are addressing and focus the control automation in those areas.
Bette Ferris: Hi Tracey,
I understand that setting the right filter controls is a key step. Can you give a few pointers on setting up and checking filter values to ensure that they are correct? And do you have a recommendation on reviewing values on a regular basis?
Tracey Rust: Hi,
The use of filter values is key. They define the scope of your control tests and can be very effective if the supporting ECC systems have been in place for some time and have some old data or configuration that is not used but still in the system.
The only standard way to check these is to do so manually, and it can be difficult and time consuming to do this. As a result we developed our own tool to extract these values to allow for validation.
I would also suggest a set of automated controls are in place to monitor anything used within a filter value. So, for example, in PTP you may filter on purchase document types. If this is the case you need to know if someone creates a new one in the supporting ECC system.
Rather than having a dependency on a manual change management process, you can monitor this using an automated control that shows an exception when a new purchase document type is created. This is then the trigger that is used to update the filter in GRC PC -- of course, assuming the change in the ECC system, etc., has been approved.
Matt Moore: Thanks to all who posted questions and followed the discussion!
A full summary of all the questions will be available here in the Compliance Forum. And, of course, I invite you to our annual GRC 2013 conference in Amsterdam, starting June 11. Tracey will be presenting her session on SAP Process Control and regulatory control. It is sure to be an excellent session, and attendees will be able to take home a recorded demo of SAP Process Control and a controls dashboard to share back at the office.
You can also check out our full list of Process Control-related sessions here.
And finally, thank you to Tracey Rust and the team at Integrc for participating today. Tracey, thanks especially to you for all the great advice. We'll see you in Amsterdam!
Monday, May 13, 2013, 10:32 PM
How do YOU prep for SAPPHIRENOW? Haircut? Mani? Drycleaning? Maybe you're putting final touches on your presentation. (And if you were giving a session on SAP Visual Intelligence, um... that's a lot of cut-and-paste.)
MY homework includes reading everyone's SAPPHIRE "watch list". Yes, there are questions of cloud, HANA, pricing, BI and HR roadmaps (and look out for payroll, says Jeremy Masters). SAPexperts asked questions around mobility, and we had a really entertaining conversation, as always, with Jon Reed. (Roadmap, shmoadmap, says Jon. He wants to talk integration.)
But, time's up! Now I just want to know which sportstars will be joining Bill McDermott on Day 1. And for those of us back in the office, we can still follow the action. (Jon Reed shared some great Twitter tips, and Scott Wallask says just follow Tammy Powlas - good advice).
SAPinsider and Insider Learning Network together are doing our part. We're live streaming the three SAP executive keynotes, plus a handful of 20-30 minute sessions: Steve Lucas on database solutions; a BI panel with Jason Rose hosting e-Bay and others; and Sherryanne Myer on HR Renewal, among others.
Here is the lineup, times, and links. Sit back for a keynote or session, and follow @sapinsider and @iln4sap for reminders, too...
TUESDAY, MAY 14
9-10:30am ET: KEYNOTE with Bill McDermoot & Bob Calderoni
Watch live on SAPinsider
Customers, Fans, and a Better-Run World -- Find out more
by Bill McDermott, Co-CEO SAP
Networked Innovation: How Business Networks Are Driving the Next Wave of Productivity and Insights
by Bob Calderoni, CEO, Ariba, Inc., and Member of Global Managing Board, SAP AG
11-11:30am ET: PANEL with SAP's Jason Rose
Watch live on the BI Network
Drive Business Value Using the Latest Business Intelligence Solutions
Speakers: Bob Russo, Maidenform Brands, Inc.
Silvia Vasquez-Lavado, e-Bay
1-1:20pm ET: SESSION with Steve Lucas
Watch live on SAPinsider
Transform Business with Database and Technology Solutions
by Steve Lucas, General Mgr, Global Database and Technology, SAP
4-4:20pm ET: SESSION with Sherryanne Meyer
Watch live in the HR forum
Deliver a Renewed HR Experience
by Sherryanne Meyer, Mgr, IT HR, Air Products and Chemicals Inc.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 15
9-10:30am ET: KEYNOTE with Jim Hagemann Snabe
Watch live on SAPinsider
Innovation, the Unfair Advantage
by Jim Hagemann Snabe, Co-CEO SAP
3-3:20pm ET: SESSION with NuVasive's Quentin Hurst & SAP's James Naftel
Watch live on our IT Forum
Lay a Foundation for Success with Enterprise Mobility Management
by Quentin Hurst, Director, Business Systems Applications, NuVasive
and James Naftel, Sr Dir, Platform Solution Management, SAP
THURSDAY, MAY 16
8:30-10:30am ET: KEYNOTE with Hasso Plattner & Vishal Sikka
Watch live on SAPinsider
SAP HANA Changes Everything!
12-12:20pm ET: SESSION with Sealed Air Corp.'s Rajesh Mahajan
Watch live on the CRM Network
Sealed Air Corp. Adopts SAP CRM Strategy to Keep
Pace with Changing Market
All session descriptions are on the SAPPHIRE NOW Agenda page.
Enjoy! I'll be getting my cup of coffee soon. Maybe I can fit in a manicure while catching up on SAP's procurement strategy...
-- Kristine Erickson, Managing Editor, Insider Learning Network
Monday, May 6, 2013, 5:56 PM
Who can preview SAPPHIRE better than Jon Reed?
In this podcast, SAP Mentor and independent analyst Jon Reed (JonERP.com) spoke with SAPinsider's Ken Murphy about what's top of mind for him heading into SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando starting May 14.
Sure, Jon wants to see HANA customer stories, and more about cloud, Ariba, and the new HANA-Sybase platform. He shares his opinion on the musial guests, and gives his take on the keynotes. Asked about how SAP can clear up customers' roadmap questions? "I'm not a huge roadmaps guy," he says, and tells us what he's really looking for instead from SAP. Great stuff from Jon Reed.
You can listen to the full discussion in the original podcast, or read the edited transcript here:
Ken Murphy: Hi everyone, this is Ken Murphy with SAPinsider and Insider Learning Network. With SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG annual conference approaching, we are pleased to be joined by SAP Mentor and independent analyst Jon Reed of JonERP.com, who has agreed to give us a sneak preview of what he is expecting to see in Orlando.
Welcome to the podcast, Jon.
Jon Reed: Ken, pleasure to be here.
Murphy: Before we begin, I want to get to, I guess, the most important information first: Just how many times have you been to SAPPHIRE?
Reed: Ken, I don’t have a count ready for you offhand, but I can tell you I did lose count at 10. So, that gives you some idea.
Murphy: So, you know your way around.
Reed: I don’t want to date myself any further than that.
Murphy: In addition to HANA, there are questions on HR – on-premise vs. cloud, for example – and some ongoing questions about BI and BusinessObjects tools selection. Are there any specific roadmap questions that you’re looking for SAP to address at SAPPHIRE NOW?
Reed: That’s a funny question, because I think you hit on the ones that SAP is most likely to touch on. And to give SAP some credit, I think they have made some progress on all of those. I think we also want to hear even a little more on the combined kind of HANA-Sybase real-time platform portfolio.
But, I’m not a huge roadmaps guy, for a couple reasons I can explain.
The one roadmap I’m particularly interested in -- and that I would think customers are particularly interested in -- is more about an integration roadmap overall.
I think one of the aspects of SAP’s hybrid cloud approach is this ability to plug in different pieces of software which may or may not be provided by SAP, or may be from different SAP business units. So integration’s becoming a really important piece of the puzzle.
SAP for quite some time now has, in the guise of NetWeaver and NetWeaver PI, offered some heavy-duty integration to some of its largest customers. But I’m looking for a bolder, more aggressive integration strategy going forward that includes things like integration as a service. So I don’t expect some kind of full roadmap yet, but I really want to hear more about this.
It seems to me SAP’s in a great position to help its customers with integrating this diverse range of software that’s cropping up in enterprises, some of which is proliferating in business users and line of business decisions. At the same time, SAP could also drop the ball on that issue and provide a lot of openings for other vendor or customer dissatisfaction -- which nobody wants.
So I’ll be watching for that.
Murphy: With a new HANA book and a new HANA magazine that will be unveiled at the show, and plenty of sessions on the topic (HANA, that is), it looks like in-memory will continue to be a big focus for SAP, as it was last year.
Where do you see SAP taking those discussions around HANA, and do you think there’s anything specific about HANA that folks should take notice of this year?
Reed: I think it’s interesting. SAP’s obviously going to be pretty aggressive about Business Suite on HANA at SAPPHIRE and trying to make clear to customers what some of the options and use cases are. It was announced in January, but that’s going to be a big piece.
One of the challenges SAP has is that HANA is more than just a database, and customers want to understand the use cases for HANA.
This could actually include using HANA as a platform to build real-time applications, or maybe purchase such applications from partners, and so SAP’s got a little bit of a challenge trying to help customers understand the different possibilities with HANA. I’d be disappointed if SAP only talked about database replacement, because I just don’t feel that a lot of SAP customers are going to be in the mood to do kind of a database rip-and-replace.
But once you get into industry-specific use cases where you can really see customers using real-time information and real-time computation power from HANA in new ways to break into new markets, that kind of stuff gets really interesting.
So, I would guess that we’re going to hear about both, but it will be interesting to see if SAP can get across dimensions that make sense to customers because every customer’s a little bit different.
One of my hopes is that SAP will not just be talking about futuristic stuff with the Business Suite, but will actually have some customers – they have a lot of BW on HANA customers that have gone live now. Hopefully we’ll hear from some of those, and start to hear from a customer perspective what the real perceived benefits are. So I’m going to really be looking for that.
Murphy: SAPPHIRE is a huge event. With so much going on, what would you recommend for those back at the office looking to monitor what’s happening in Orlando? Any social channels that you’ll be following during the show or that you recommend?
And how do you see SAP using social and its online presence to expand its reach for this conference?
Reed: That’s a really good one. Obviously, SAP’s going to be broadcasting a lot of the conference virtually, so if you go to the SAPPHIRE NOW website, or the ASUG 2013 website, you’ll have links to the live broadcasts of keynotes, for example, that are going to be shared online.
One thing that’s happening, of course, is that we no longer consume live events just as events; we’re consuming a kind of running stream of commentary. So news and conversation are kind of getting mixed, and to some extent that makes it really hard; it’s an attention-span trial to track all these different feeds.
But the other thing is it kind of gives you a real-time gut-check on what’s happening, and so for me I like to follow Twitter conversations about what’s happening -- especially with keynotes. If you’re on the ground at events, it can be useful because you can find out late-breaking schedule changes and stuff like that.
If you’re not at the event, watching the Twitter stream in particular can really help you get a handle on what’s happening at the conference.
You start to feel a part of things because you can ask questions of people who are on the ground and not feel as isolated. So for example, if you ping me on Twitter during the show I’ll try to get your question answered -- I think a lot of people share that mentality -- so that part is pretty cool.
The only thing I would issue a bit of a caution about is that my experiences at these event hashtags on Twitter are getting pretty polluted. For example, if you go search twitter.com and type in the hashtag “ASUG 2013” you might get a more focused conversation, but the SAPPHIRE NOW hashtag especially (and to some extent the ASUG hashtag) gets kind of bogged down. It is sometimes a little difficult to really track the stuff you’re interested in.
So a couple ways of combating that is to follow some individuals, either in a HootSuite-type program where you can track them individually, or to trim them into a list.
Another really cool thing you can do, even just on search.twitter.com, is not only to type in a hashtag but also a keyword. Type in “ASUG 2013” but also “HANA”, and you might be able to get some of the chatter on HANA from more of a customer and ASUG perspective.
That’s just an example of how you can start to slice and dice things a little around areas you’re interested in. You can even do it for a topic that might not be as full of hype as HANA, something like Workflow, for example, if that’s a focus area for you.
By monitoring conversations around topics of interest, and that will help save you a bit from this barrage of noise that comes down the channel, when and you start to wonder, “Am I getting good information, or is this for a place for people to market stuff that isn’t relevant?” So, you do have to plan ahead a little bit on how you’re going to filter and sort this information.
MURPHY: As we approach the show, are there any other predictions from you as far as surprises in store for attendees? Anything special that people should be on the lookout for?
REED: Well, you know there’s actually some pretty interesting stuff. One is that Bob Calderoni, the CEO of Ariba, is participating in the keynote on the first day along with Bill McDermott. We haven’t heard from Calderoni on the keynote stage before yet, so that’s going to be really interesting. Ariba is going to play an important role, I think, in how SAP’s future unfolds with its business networks and such.
And then we have an ASUG keynote that night that includes a guest keynote by Seth Godin, who’s a best-selling author around marketing topics. My opinion is that Seth can be kind of hit-or-miss; I’m not one of those people that worship him as a guru. But especially if he figures out how to tie his thinking around differentiation and brands into the kind of stuff that SAP and SAP customers are dealing with, that could end up being a really good keynote, so we’ll have to see.
And then finally on the second day, Wednesday, Lars Dalgaard, SuccessFactors CEO, is also going to be on the keynote. We actually haven’t heard from him for awhile for various reasons; he had some family matters to attend to and some other things. I’ve been told he’s very active behind-the-scenes, but this is really a chance to hear from him.
And between those keynotes, maybe we’ll get to really piece together more of where SAP is going with cloud. Although customers may not be as concerned about this today, if I’m an SAP customer I do want to feel confident in SAP’s cloud strategy going forward. We just really haven’t heard much about that this year -- it’s been “HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA.” And of course HANA does tie into cloud, but we want to understand that better. SAPPHIRE is going to be a really good opportunity to get a gut-check on that.
I don’t know if I can comment on the music event, because the lineup is a bit out of my -- how can I put this? -- my musical comfort zone. But Alan Jackson has sold 60 million records, so I guess I have something to learn from him. But I don’t know how that’s going to go, because I’m not familiar with that lineup.
Murphy: Well, Bonnie Raitt can play a pretty mean guitar herself, so…
REED: Yeah, Bonnie Raitt’s going to come through. So as long as Bonnie Raitt’s on-stage things should be okay, but I’m not sure what’s going to happen that night, to be honest with you.
Murphy: I’ve been speaking with SAP Mentor and independent analyst Jon Reed about the upcoming SAPPHIRE NOW and ASUG conference in Orlando. Jon, thanks for joining us, and enjoy your time at SAPPHIRE, which we know will be at least your 11th event.
REED: At least my 11th! I look forward to seeing your WIS Pubs team down there, too.
Murphy: Thanks again, Jon.
Monday, February 25, 2013, 4:08 PM
What's the most underutilized Controlling module in SAP ERP Financials? And where are the most significant pitfalls for Financials users who misunderstand or misuse their Controlling options in SAP ERP?
Rohana Gunawardena of Quality Systems and Software shares his advice to SAP users and some do's and don'ts of CO setup and configuration.
Rohana spoke recently with Financials 2013 conference producer Allison Martin. You can hear their full conversation in our podcast archives, or read our edited transcript here:
Allison Martin, Financials 2013: This is Allison Martin, conference producer of the SAPinsider Financials events. I'm joined today by Rohana Gunawardena, Director of Quality Systems and Software's SAP practice – and a well‑known speaker at our Financials events.
Thanks for joining us today, Rohana. Just to start off, would you mind giving a bit of your background & experience in SAP Financials?
Rohana Gunawardena, QS&S: Sure, Allison. First of all, thank you very much for inviting me to this podcast. It's always a pleasure to work with you and everyone at WIS, and I'm looking forward to meeting many of our listeners at SAP Financials 2013.
As you mentioned, I'm currently the SAP Practice Director of Quality Systems and Software, a specialist SAP consulting firm. I've been working with SAP since 1992, which is now over 20 years. During that time, I've been focusing on the order-to-cash process with emphasis on global rollouts, business segment reporting, cross-module integration, and post-go-live system conversions.
During my career in SAP, I've helped multiple clients on detailed system correction projects, such as correcting inventory balances, retrospectively activating group currency, controlling area mergers, and optimizing inter‑company accounting processes.
Allison: Thanks again so much for joining us.
Today's podcast is to really help listeners get a better understanding of some of the Controlling options in SAP. We know that there are more than a dozen of them – but what would you say is the one most underutilized by SAP customers?
Rohana: Allison, that's a great question, and is something I'll actually be answering in more detail at Financials 2013, where I have two sessions on Controlling: one on the Controlling modules and one on Controlling data.
As you mentioned, there are a lot of different options within the Controlling module. Some of these are not used, as the modules have quite specialized functionalities, such as material ledger or activity‑based costing, or the function provided by the ledger is better handled elsewhere in SAP, as is the case of, for example, EC business planning.
But in my opinion, the most underutilized module that can be easily enabled and integrated into the existing business processes are Internal Orders.
Internal Orders can be used to track expenses at a sub‑Cost Center level, allow effective plan versus actual monitoring, and the functionality is well‑integrated into SAP modules such as Purchasing and Sales, which makes it very easy to use for end users.
Internal Orders are great tools for cost monitoring and don't need the expense of a large project to implement the functionality. Actually, Internal Orders can be easily activated on an incremental basis, and they don't require a big bang approach, unlike some other modules in SAP.
Allison: We talked about the fact that there are various sub‑modules in SAP Controlling like Cost Center Accounting, Internal Orders, and Profitability Analysis.
One area where we've seen customers to have a lot of confusion is surrounding the Material Ledger. How is the Material Ledger impacted if controlling areas are changed in an SAP system?
Rohana: Controlling area merger is something I'm asked about by my clients. The first controlling area merger project I worked on was in 1997 and many of the same questions have come up since then.
Too often the focus of controlling area reorganization is focused on cost center hierarchies and not enough on costing and material ledger.
I'm glad you asked this question because it gives me a chance to address something that end users do need to look at.
If an enterprise decides to merge controlling areas to allow for better cross-company code controlling functionality, this will definitely impact material ledger for those controlling areas. Assuming there are no currency related changes, the impact to material ledger is a medium level if the primary data structures are really driven by material and plant, not by cost centers.
However, most controlling area mergers involve some type of currency conversion work, and this may well impact the material ledger type configuration which, in turn, defines which currencies and valuation types are stored in material ledger.
Any change of stored currencies in material ledger will introduce rounding errors which need to be handled carefully and that's something that end users really need to look out for.
(I'll be writing about the impact of controlling area mergers in an upcoming article for SAPexperts: "Reorganize Your CO Areas for Better Functionality." There'll be more detail for users in that article.)
Allison: We look forward to seeing that! Another question that comes from customers is when they're using the same cost center number across multiple controlling areas, what steps need to be taken if they have to merge controlling areas?
Rohana: This is also something I'll be addressing in more detail in my upcoming article. For customers who are using older controlling area structure, though, if they went live quite a while ago, they may have one controlling area per company code. Often they standardize their cost center design across company codes. For example, cost center 8,000 represents IT costs in every company code.
When controlling areas are merged any duplicate cost center numbers need to be addressed with an alternate mapping, and there's several different ways this can be addressed. One simple solution is to add the company code as a prefix or suffix to the cost center number. This is fairly popular because it makes the transition relatively simple for end users.
On the other hand, a merger can be used as an opportunity to implement a brand new cost center hierarchy with a rationalized cost center naming convention.
As I mentioned in my last response, many controlling area conversions focus on cost center hierarchies as it's the most obvious change in the controlling area for end users.
Allison: Thanks so much for your help today, Rohana.
Rohana: Thanks, and I look forward to meeting our listeners at SAP Financials 2013 in Las Vegas, March 19-22, and to the live Q&A on the Insider Learning Network on March 5th, where they will have a chance to ask me more detailed questions in person.
Allison: I definitely look forward to hearing you present in Vegas, and also participating in your live Q&A on March 5th. So to all our listeners, make sure you definitely log in and ask questions!
Thanks again, Rohana!
Rohana: Thanks, Allison.
Monday, February 25, 2013, 3:31 PM
SAP Mentor and BI 2013 speaker Tammy Powlas recently spoke to SAPexperts' Scott Wallask about how she stays in the know about BI and BusinessObjects, who she follows for the latest on BI, and thoughts on her upcoming panel - with Penny Silvia, Steven Krandal and Adam Binnie - on prioritizing BI initaitives.
You can read our edited transcript here, or listen to the full conversation in our Podcast archives.
Scott Wallask, SAPexperts: Hi everyone. This is Scott Wallask, managing editor over at SAPexperts.com. We are very excited today to have Tammy Powlas on the line with us.
Tammy is an ASUG volunteer and also an SAP mentor, and is well known in the analytics and BW world. Tammy, thank you for joining us.
Tammy Powlas: Well, thanks for that. Glad to be here.
Scott: Tammy is speaking at our BI 2013 conference, which is coming up March 19-27 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand.
Tammy, you are speaking at four sessions at BI 2013. One of them is a panel discussion about how to keep up with the ever‑changing SAP Business Intelligence landscape.
HANA, mobility, and Business Objects integration immediately come to my mind. What other trends are you seeing that you expect to discuss further at this panel?
Tammy: Well, that's a great question.
I think a lot of customers still haven't upgraded to BI 4. I would hope to discuss more about going to BI4 and discussing the upcoming release of BI 4.1, which SAP is calling the migration release and the quality release.
The other, I think, big trend - not just in SAP but elsewhere - is the push towards self‑service BI and empowering the customer not to rely on SAP so much, but to do things themselves.
As a customer myself, I always feel better if I can do something myself. And I think those are trends that I would hope that the panel discusses - in addition to, of course, HANA, BI Mobile, and, of course, BusinessObjects integration.
The other big thing - and I think this is really interesting - is the suite on HANA. What does that do for me as an SAP customer? Is it really going to merge my online analytical processing with my online transaction processing and the true promise of one system and one version of the truth?
Those are the things that I would hope that we would discuss on the panel. Again, my message in my sessions and in the panel, I think, is going to be one of customer empowerment -- that you can do these things yourself and there’s a lot you can take a look at.
Scott: Now, I think it's fair to say that you are very good at monitoring various sources of BI information online and elsewhere and passing that on.
What do you think are good websites to check out or Twitter feeds to keep an eye on, or other sources of information?
Tammy: I would like to put in a pitch in for the SAP Community Network. That's free to everybody - you don't necessarily need a logon to follow that. There is a blog feed you can follow. I think SAP product managers are pretty active out there.
Also, SAP Support is really good about monitoring the discussion forums. You can find a lot of things. I found on a discussion forum this week that version 1.0.8 of Visi is coming out later this month.
I think those are things that it doesn't take that long to log on to scn.sap.com and follow the different spaces -- BI, Business Objects Mobile, and Design Studio. It doesn't take a lot of effort. You can get content pushed to you and receive notifications. That's one way.
Then on Twitter, I follow, of course, SCN Blog, so if I see something, I'll go check it out.
Then there are other people you can follow on Twitter -- speakers at the conference like Ingo Hilgefort or other people like Matt Shaw from SAP Support. Also, I think the SAP Support team has a really nice Twitter feed. They are very good about tweeting out when packages are updated.
So those are things that I would definitely keep an eye on.
I'm also really lucky to be an ASUG volunteer and as an ASUG member, we get to attend a lot of webcasts. SAP has been very generous with their webcasts with us. Again, also free to everybody, SAP has analytics webinars that they seem to have every other week. And those are free. Again, that's on SCN.SAP.com.
Scott: Just thinking back to the panel discussion, you and other panel members I know expect to bring up how to prioritize among various BI initiatives.
When those discussions come up at an organization or a company, who from the development or technical teams do you think should be involved? And maybe more importantly, do you have advice for those folks to avoid any potential political pitfalls within the office during those discussions?
Tammy: That's a great question.
First, of course, the business makes the decision anywhere. They are the ones that say, "We need this. We want this."
I think that's good to have in terms of the development and technical teams - of course they should be involved. I think, ideally, there's a lot of trial downloads they can do.
If you are an SAP customer definitely you want your Basis team involved. If you are a BW team, you want your BW development team involved.
But those discussions usually come after the business case is made. You say, "What's the value to the customer?" They are the ones that lead the decision and they are the ones that take the time to ask, "How is this going to add value and not increase our costs?"
I think we are pretty lucky to take advantage of a lot of the free things that SAP offers in terms of trial downloads and things like that. So, for sure, for us, an enterprise architect is involved. And then after that, the Basis team and, of course, the developers.
In terms of political pitfalls, you definitely want to respect the business decision. The business is the one that has to determine: Where is the return on investment? Where is the value involved?
As an accountant, a CPA, I always want to know “What's the business value?” Usually that leads the way, and then things fall out after that.
Scott: Finally, you are not only a speaker at BI 2013, but also by being there, you are also an attendee. What are you hoping to learn more about at the conference there? Anything on your to‑do list that you want to get to while you're there? I'm just interested in what you hope to get out of the show.
Tammy: Quite a bit.
Actually, I've always enjoyed the Jumpstart Day. Those are three or four hours of concentrated learning on one topic with a few speakers, and it's small enough - you're not in an auditorium where your voice doesn't get heard. There's plenty of time for questions. I'm really looking forward to the pre‑conference session, I think, with Ty Miller and Ingo Hilgefort, where they are going to talk about BI 4.1, and learn more about that.
Also, I think in the afternoon, there's one on maintenance with Jim Rapp. I like the Jumpstart Day a lot.
The other thing, somewhat new to me with SAPinsider conferences - but I really liked it a lot when I was at last year’s Reporting and Analytics [conference] – the hands-on sessions. There, you get your own terminal, and that's really nice. That's something I think attendees should take a look at. There's a wide variety of hands-on sessions to take a look at.
The other thing that I really enjoyed last year was Ask the Experts nights. There's two nights where you can sit down and talk to experts. I got a lot of value from that. One night, I was the expert, and it was really surprising how busy our table was! I was seated with Dave Rathmun. I thought he was the attraction, but people were coming to see me, too!
Scott: That's a pretty good double bill. [laughs]
Tammy: Yeah, we were busy. And even when the lights were flashing [laughter], we were still there talking. I did get some tweets where I was able to help people. That was nice.
And then the next night I went as an attendee to Ask-the-Experts. At that table I was with Ingo Hilgefort, in a similar experience where his table was just packed.
So you get some one‑on‑one time with SAP when you meet the experts, not just the education sessions during the day.
I think the other person that I recommend people take a look at - one of the best customer sessions I attended last year - was Ross Wilson from McKesson. Last year, he talked about his dashboard experience. I think this year he is going to talk about profitability analysis, HANA experience. I think he is an outstanding customer speaker.
There are tons of tracks. That's what is nice about this conference –you are focused on BI, but there's also a mix of finance. There are also a lot of customer case studies that I want to take a look at – and as much as I do with ASUG and SCN, there are topics covered here that you don't get elsewhere because there are so many tracks and so many things to check out.
So, definitely, I encourage people to take a look at the Hands‑On sessions, Pre‑Conference sessions, and Ask the Experts. And take advantage of these opportunities to talk to SAP.
Scott: I want to remind everyone that if you are interested in checking out the agenda or the tracks or sessions, you can do it online at BI2013.com.
Tammy, it's been a pleasure having you. I know I'll see you out there. Until then, thanks for joining us.
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