This third installment of our SAP Profitability and Performance Management implementation series is by far the most noteworthy. The final leg of our journey has been a roller coaster ride, with many ups and downs.
The highlights and the deep lows were disrupted by the new normal work environment brought about by Covid-19.
Working with External Consultants
On past projects, we would have expected to work side-by-side with external consultants that provide real-time feedback to implementation-related questions. Now, consultants are working remotely on different continents and different time zones. The interactions we had were limited to daily status updates where we would go over outstanding items via Skype Business or Microsoft Teams. Learning things this way was hard because it felt like the consultants were working in a vacuum.
Remote access to our development environment by the external consultants became a weekly struggle due to frequent access renewals and limited-time restrictions granted with each request. This meant that if the remote user password or the time allowed expired, a productive day would be lost until either or both were reset. For those planning an implementation of your own, be sure to consider granting trace capabilities and remote access to the development environment via WTS, which includes Eclipse or SAP HANA Design Studio, to allow external consultants the ability to troubleshoot SAP HANA views, SAP BW InfoObjects, and SAP BW queries—these need to be configured and activated in order for information to be consumed by PaPM.
Another area that was a struggle during the implementation was authorizations when integration with SAP BW was involved. PaPM comes with standard authorization objects and roles, which need to be configured in order to satisfy business requirements of restricting access based on the user's functional role and cost center group level approved access. The project called for three roles: display (read only), edit (can modify input and run simulations), and modeler (PaPM administrator). Each role has a designated PaPM team/user group associated with it in order to accommodate dual control. This means that separate PaPM teams should be established based on reporting requirements and configured in the process template or process instance to restrict the view of reports and activities.
The SAP Fiori launchpad access will require the standard authorization configuration, as well as adding both group and catalogue into the user menu. If this is not set correctly, users will not be able to access PaPM from the SAP Fiori launchpad. The question of using SAP Fiori launchpad tiles for PaPM versus SAP GUI is interesting since you can start the environment and run processes in both. In SAP GUI, you can run standard SAP reports, run PaPM functions, view actuals in ACDOCA (Universal Journal), plan data in ACDOCP, and consolidate data in ACDOCC, as well as activate functions with elevated authorization. The added advantage of using SAP Fiori is that you can have access to other relevant financial reports, such as profit centers, charging statement, project expenditure, timesheets, and sales volumes.
Development Best Practices and Validation
Be sure to utilize development best practices by utilizing the development environment, then transporting to the quality environment to test before transporting to the production environment. Creating test users and developing extensive test scripts will save you support time and effort down the road by catching as many issues as possible before you go into production.
As part of our user acceptance testing, we compared the results of PCM with PaPM, and validated the numbers in parallel calculations. PaPM has built-in analytics for Microsoft Excel, and the feature was enabled by activating a number of services as part of the post-implementation steps. One of those useful services is SAP Analytics Cloud, which can be configured to pull data from the PaPM system. The PaPM components of temporary tables and calculation views can be consumed by SAP Analytics Cloud to display interim validation of PaPM allocations (simulated or non-simulated), as well as the final allocation results.
Once the system was fully tested, we developed user guides and narrated training videos to reduce support calls and improve the user experience. We implemented a website with frequently asked questions to share with users, as each user will be at a different level of expertise.
You will need to determine the best way to migrate from PCM to PaPM. PCM ended mainstream support in December 2020. Priority One Support for PCM was extended only through December 2022, at which time the product will be fully decommissioned. As part of the PCM decommissioning, we had to disable the current PCM authorization workflow system, as well as export the historical results from PCM to SAP HANA. The existing reports in PCM, including any outbound jobs in the middleware Financial Information Management, will need to be replicated in PaPM. This meant that as part of the testing and stabilization phase of the PaPM project, reports needed to be developed in PaPM which provided similar information to those available in PCM. Due to the differing granularity of the data between PCM and PaPM, it was decided that the historical results of PCM would be made available through SAP Analytics Cloud rather than PaPM directly. PCM has a native SAP HANA database export feature in which you can select data tables and results to populate predefined tables in the SAP HANA database.
Our PaPM solution is now in user acceptance testing, and PCM is in the process of being decommissioned!
Addressing minor obstacles and major roadblocks as issues arise was the key to not getting overwhelmed by them. At each step of our journey, there were challenges and opportunities. Known challenges were mitigated through planning, and unknown challenges were handled in real time. By the end, we were able to deliver a robust calculation engine for corporate cost allocation, and provided our end users with insight into what is driving the corporate overhead using the latest and greatest technology from SAP.