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SAP BPC & EPM
Thought Leadership

How to (really) speed up your ABAP code

Posted by
Richard Hynes
Richard Hynes
on Wed, Feb 21, 2018 @ 09:02 AM

Featured Blog Photo-15.pngHave you ever wondered if there’s a straightforward way to make your SAP BPC system perform better? The Darwin Calculation Engine (DarCE) might be just the trick you need!

Recently, Column5 was contracted to carry out a series of EPM Assessment and BPC Application Reviews at Telefónica UK Limited. Telefónica UK is a leading digital communications company and one of the UK’s largest tech companies, operating well-known brands such as O2 and giffgaff. The review searched for BPC performance and usage enhancement opportunities

“We have evolved the use of BPC significantly across our EPM processes and were pleased with its achievements,” Telefónica UK’s BPC Manager comments. “However, we knew if we were to maintain confidence levels and get permission to invest further in BPC we needed to address some of the performance and usage issues that were holding us back.”

logo_telefonica_azul.pngReviews of Telefónica UK’s BPC application were carried out over a short and focused period with input from Column5’s functional consultants who specialize in Basis and ABAP. The final report was presented to the client within a week of the review’s completion.

The assessment found that the BPC applications were an established part of the reporting process, but it was clear what pain points were holding back wider adoption and expanded usage. One of the more significant issues was the ABAP (BADI) code running slow, due to complex allocations.

The review analysed all BPC components, including the BADIs containing the slow ABAP code. The BADIs had been efficiently written and were giving optimal BADI performance; requiring  only a little tuning of the BADI code by Column5 experts to enhance performance.

Darwin Logo_Polo.pngTherefore, Column5 proposed Telefónica UK use DarCE (Darwin Calculation Engine) as a possible solution to the performance challenges. Telefónica UK liked the approach of DarCE and engaged Column5 to conduct a proof of concept (POC) demonstrating DarCE’s capabilities for SAP BPC calculations currently based on BADIs.

DarCE replaces BADI and script logic within the Darwin EPM environment, while Darwin EPM is the overall platform consisting of a fully integrated suite of EPM modules for best practice business processes developed specifically for SAP BPC.

The POC assessed how DarCE’s high performance calculations compared with the existing BADIs and the ease with which DarCE calculations and logic could be developed and maintained. It also included the capability to run the DarCE calculations for single month, a range of months or a range of years in one selection. 

For the POC, one BADI was rewritten with DarCE to demonstrate the dramatic performance improvements compared with SAP BPC 10.0 NetWeaver running the existing BADI script. In one scenario, a process that took 98 minutes with a well written BADI script was reduced to less than two minutes – an improvement of nearly 98%

The POC benchmark results ran over four different data selection scenarios and the results summary for all four is set out below:

Scenarios

DarCE Time

BADI Time

% Improvement

1

9 Secs

46 Secs

80.43%

2

53 Secs

544 Secs

90.26%

3

35 Secs

620 Secs

94.35%

4

107 Secs

5891 Secs

98.18%


After the successful POC, Column5 was asked to convert all BADIs in the application to DarCE. Over 6 weeks, the team converted five BADIs and three script logic calculations consisting of thousands of lines of ABAP code. This was a much faster implementation than the time it took to write the BADIs in the first place, while the same improvement in execution speed as demonstrated in the POC was seen across the full set of application calculations. 
Another big issue for Telefónica UK’s BPC Manager was that the BADI codes for calculations were like a “black box” to him – like many BPC Admins, he was not an ABAP programmer, although he did have good SQL skills. One objective of the POC was to demonstrate that DarCE calculations can be configured and maintained by a traditional BPC Admin, with no need for ABAP programmers, due to its user-friendly interface and similarity to simpler scripting logics.

The benefits DarCE delivered to Telefónica UK were:

  • DarCE calculations configured and maintained by business people, with typical system accountant skills, there is no need for abap programmers.
  • DarCE calculations created in a fraction of the time that it takes to write calculations in complex programming languages such as BADIs.
  • DarCE calculations are easy to read, making them simpler to support and maintain compared to calculations written in BADIs.
  • DarCE performs exponentially better than other “out of the box” options for SAP BPC.
  • DarCE calculations can be moved across different versions of the underlying EPM platform – so moving to BPC running on HANA means you don’t have to re-develop DarCE calculation scripts.
  • Telefónica UK has the comfort of knowing DarCE is equally capable of harnessing the power of HANA for BPC as well as NetWeaver. This is an important factor for Telefónica UK, as well as many other BPC users, as they consider a future move to HANA.

Just in case you find this all too good to be true, find out more about Telefónica UK’s use of Darwin EPM DarCE by registering for the webinar on 28 February 2018 featuring Telefónica UK’s own BPC Manager talking live about his experience.

register for webinar

Better yet– join us at the 2018 EPM Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, where Telefónica UK will present an in-person case study! Take a look at the agenda using the link below:

view agenda

Get in touch with the Column5 team to find out more about BPC application reviews and the benefits of DarCE.

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Richards_face.pngAuthor Bio:

Richard Hynes has been with Column5 Consulting as a Senior Consultant since 2014 and is one of our most popular bloggers, and is also a published author in print with technical books on Microsoft Excel and Database Programming with .NET. He is a trilingual BI professional with a double competency in Finance and IT. Hynes works on the UK team and works with various clients in EMEA. 

Topics: Performance, Technical, Darwin EPM

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