The requirements phase
The requirements phase tends to be somewhat abbreviated compared traditional projects since the BPC tool lends itself well to an agile project methodology. The emphasis for both IT and the business user is to identify the necessary data elements and the source(s) of the data. The business users also gather existing reports and help document the planning or eliminations requirements. During this phase, it should become clear how well the requirements map to BPC-delivered functions and where customization or enhancements are necessary.
The design phase
In the design phase, the BPC data model is created. Along with the data model, decisions will be made regarding sourcing of data, i.e. from BW, uploads to BPC, manual maintenance in BPC, etc. Data modeling work tends to fall more to the IT team and less on the finance users. Finance users will be involved in decisions related to data sourcing and maintenance.
The build phase
The build phase is where the project can significantly differ from traditional SAP projects, from a finance user’s perspective. In a traditional SAP projects, users rarely see the configuration settings. In BPC, much of what would be considered ‘config’ is contained in Business Rules in BPC.
Business rules can be maintained and understood by finance users, so they can be involved in the development and initial testing of the rules from the ground up. Master data settings control how business rules work, so it is important that finance users who will be responsible for master data maintenance understand how settings affect business rules.
Once data is available in BPC, finance users can begin building reports, earlier in the project life cycle than in traditional SAP projects. IT is usually responsible for any custom development that requires programming skills.
The test phase
The testing phase varies slightly for Consolidations and Planning projects. For consolidations projects, the user-acceptance testing (UAT) consists of running through one or two full month-end cycles (two or more is preferred). Hopefully, by this time, the key finance users helped build the solution and are already comfortable with the solution. In projects where finance users have been less involved, testing can be a larger effort if they are seeing the full solution for the first time.
In planning projects, the testing audience may be bigger and some users may not have seen the solution yet. Scheduling and planning for this type of testing should account for the audience and involvement of the team to date.
The deployment phase
Again, in the deployment phase, the phase varies between Consolidations and Planning projects. In Consolidations projects, the user-base tends to be smaller. It is common to do a parallel month-end with the legacy consolidations tool and BPC to compare the results.