SAP Analytics Cloud’s (SAC) calendar provides a lot of different capabilities to setup, model and orchestrate planning processes. This blog post shows how to automatically generate a planning process (with a business workflow) based on an existing planning application. For that, we’ll leverage the use of the data model based on the planning application. This will show the tight integration between planning process orchestration and planning application, too.
Firstly, we’ll look closer at the data model of the planning application itself. We can maintain (or even reuse) valuable information for the planning process to execute. Responsibilities in the planning process are often distributed and split along a hierarchy. To be specific, we can save users and teams on each member id of a certain hierarchy. This information can later be used within the planning process generation – maintained users/teams will then be personated as assignees or reviewers of a certain calendar task. Later more…
Note, in the following example we kept the scenario simple to serve the purpose of demonstration – Feel free to try out capabilities at larger scales!
Let’s get started…
Note, the attribute ‘Person Responsible’ can be easily enabled in the side panel of a dimension. This attribute already has the type user and hence can be used to store the right users and teams per hierarchy level – This can also be maintained on a child level if desired! Basically, each member id can be associated with a user or a team. Sometimes it makes sense to foster multiple attributes filled with users and teams. For instance, in case we would like to maintain assignees and reviewers for a given hierarchy or we might want to generate multiple planning process workflows for multiple and different hierarchies… For such scenarios, we need multiple attributes saving the required information. In case, the data model uses scheduled acquired data loads, the required attributes can be fetched directly. If we would like to try it out within the data model itself, just create a new attribute of type ‘Text’ and store the respective user and/or team ids.
In our data model, we’ll use the following ‘Operating Region’ dimension with a hierarchy to generate desired events.
Figure 1: A sample ‘Operating Regions’ dimension
Using the grid view of the data model, we can see and/or modify the attribute ‘Person Responsible’. We also added the attribute ‘Review’. Later, the ‘Person Responsible’ attribute will serve the role of assignees and the ‘Review’ attribute will serve the role of reviewers. As seen below in figure 2, we can also choose to maintain a team as part of an assigned cell.
Figure 2: Maintenance of the attribute ‘Person Responsible’ and ‘Review’
After that being finished, we can move on to the calendar. A wizard guides the user to the automatic creation of calendar tasks and processes. For that, we’ll click on the ‘+’ sign and choose ‘Generate Events with Wizard’
Figure 3: Open Wizard
Figure 4 shows the popup that will appear. Here we can provide a work file – every generated event will have the work file attached. In case we’d like to activate the events at start date automatically, we can use the toggle to set our preference. Once done, we can move on to the next step.
Figure 4: Wizard – Basic Settings
The next step requires us to choose a data model and a driving dimension. Of course, the data model of the planning application itself should be selected. Based on the selected driving dimension, events will be (later) generated along the hierarchy of the dimension. In our example we used the data model ‘Finance_DM’ and the dimension ‘Operating Regions’ as the driving dimension. As a next step, we’ll select the relevant members of the driving dimension by clicking ‘Select Members’.
Figure 5: Wizard – Context
As shown in Figure 6, we chose the hierarchy ‘Hierarchy’ and select all relevant members for the planning process. Note, we did not select the member ‘Unassigned’ and ‘Not in hierarchies’ as they do not map to a business relevant planning workflow. Also note, we could only select a certain subset of the hierarchy, too. Sometimes it’s needed to generate a planning process only for a certain subset of the hierarchy and a certain level. Exemplarily, only ‘West US’ and children could be selected if desired.
Figure 6: Wizard – select relevant members
The next step requires us to specify the role of assignees and reviewers of events. Here we chose to select the attributes ‘Person Responsible’ and ‘Review’ of the dimension ‘Operating Regions’. Remember, in figure 2 we jointly maintained users and teams as attributes of the dimension ‘Operating Regions’. This becomes now important as attributes can be passed over to fetch assignees and reviewers. Note, if desired, one can add multiple review rounds and maintain an additional attribute. Only attributes with users and teams should be selected here.
Figure 7: Wizard – People
The fourth step of the wizard allows us to specify prefix and suffix of the events to be generated. Note, in the future, we’ll plan to bring here more options to allow further flexibility for users.
Figure 8: Wizard – Additional Settings
By clicking on next, the wizard provides us a preview of what will be generated. We can check the names & the types of the events. For hierarchy levels, process will be generated, for child-level events, composite tasks will be generated. For the people section of the events, we can observe fetched assignees and reviewers of the driving dimension (and their attributes ‘Person Responsible’ and ‘Review’). Note, the event type ‘Process’ does not have the role of a reviewer in the people section. Here it mainly makes sense to foster the role of the assignee.
Figure 9: Wizard – Preview
Once we verified the preview, we can click on generate and the previewed processes & composite tasks will be created in the calendar. The changes are reflected in the calendar as we can see in figure 10.
Figure 10: Generated events in the calendar
By clicking on a certain event, we can see what has been generated using the side panel on the right-hand side. In this example, we clicked on the composite task ‘Plan Region – Midwest US’. As specified in the wizard, the work file is associated. Furthermore, the context of the data model has been set, assignees and reviewers are maintained, and the hierarchical structure of the processes and tasks reflects the hierarchy of the driving dimension. We could do further manual changes to adjust the modeled planning process.