About five years ago I did a PoC how to do real time report/analysis of SAP COPA data. The principles and methods behind the PoC is described in this blog post. The business did not pursue my PoC but followed another path to COPA real time reporting.
COPA or more specific the cost based actuals line items in table CE1 are the basis for the financial reporting in the company and the bean counters need fresh figures around period book closing. If you ever paid attention to the financial department in your company you cannot have missed all activities are targeted to praise the holy period closing. A financial period can be divided into the preparation for the period close and the holy period close per se. I suspect financial managers compete, who can deliver the most accurate period close the fastest. Respectable and trustworthy financial people have told me I’m wrong, they claim the market demands swift closings, but they do not compete. Anyway the midnight lamp is burning in the finance department during period close, and the last these guys want is to sit and wait for the figures after last correction.
I invented user triggered data loading to speed up the finance reporting. The rest of the business was pretty uninterested in real time reporting. I have tried to promote real time with no success, fresh figures in the morning and stable throughout the day is was the business wants. (You can see a day’s night activities in the Data Warehouse in this exciting movie.)
Give the users the option to load the Data Warehouse themselves is a brilliant idea, this option is not something you find in every Business Intelligence system. When I introduced user triggered loading I transferred the commands from MS Excel to the Data Warehouse via a SSH link. This solution is not only complex it also needs installation of extra software in the client. Some time ago I developed a Node.js web server which executes Data Warehouse jobs as a web service. Apart from the web server itself this is a much simpler than the SSH connector. When I developed this web service there was no interest for it. But now there is a new interest for real time reporting in the Data Warehouse. A BI-developer have created a much better and simpler MS Excel interface using the web service in favour of my old complex SSH link. I am excited by this newly-awakened interest in real time reporting, since I have a feeling the Data Warehouse can excel in this. I still have not seen this new MS Excel interface, but I hope it will prove useful and that I will have reasons to write more of real time reporting.