Inspired by Adrian‘s post on the TechNet Planning Forum here’s my list of ‘I wants’ for PPS-P. I’ve cross posted this to the forum discussion too. A few of these have been suggested before but there are some new ones in there too – In no particular order:
Application Migration Wizard
There are several methods for doing this currently but nothing slick. I was hopeful that the new Data Migration Tool was the answer to this but alas, no. It only migrates data (don’t get me wrong this is useful) – what we really need is an Application Migration Tool that migrates everything, both initial ‘go-live’ migrations but also ‘update release’ migrations. It should support making a copy of the application on the same server too (With a different name of course!).
The PerformancePoint Server components can only be installed on Windows Server. This is a tad annoying for development and demo purposes. Currently we have a Windows Server built laptop for demos and sales activities. For development, when connecting to the server is not always feasible we have a couple of pre-built PPS-P ‘development’ hard disk drives that we use to swap out with our non-server development boxes and manually migrate to the official servers periodically. It would be great if, like SQL Server, there was a ‘Developer Edition’ that could be installed on XP and/or Vista.
Improved Support for Business Rule Re-Use
There are several ways that Business Rule re-use could be implemented but initially I’d like to see a ‘formula’ tab where, for example, you can define global formulas and expressions that can be selected (re-used) within various scope statements. Taking this a step further, how cool would it be if the global formulas were actually functions that accepted parameters so you could produce a smaller set of generic formulas that can be re-used throughout the application.
Improved Rule Editing
The editor is a little clunky at present. We need something more akin to SQL/MDX Query Editor in Management Studio.
Web-Based Data Entry
Whether via Excel Services or some other ‘pivot table’ style entry form. A couple of customers are banking on Microsoft providing this in the future. We at Adatis would love to know if they’ve actually started something like this in Redmond as we’d be up for developing something in-house if not !
Much like custom tasks can be developed in SSIS and stored procedures can be created for Analysis Services – It would add some real power if PEL keywords could be added via custom .NET assemblies that are registered with the PPS-P Server. Not only can complex, vertical specific logic be encapsulated, intellectual property can be protected, opening up a third-party plug-in market.
Process Cycle Independent Data Entry Forms
It would really aid productivity if data entry forms can be created without the need to create a Process Management Cycle and associated assignment.
Imagine a ‘Retail Budgeting Template’ or a ‘Transportation Forecasting Template’ and how that could potentially wipe weeks off an implementation. This is a tall order due to the global nature of the product and the diversity of requirements within industry verticals so it might be better to make lower level component type templates that can be plugged in to a larger solution e.g. UK Tax and NI and Salary assumption models.
Protect Sensitive Data
Some data that is forecasted and budgeted is extremely sensitive, salary information for example. Assignments should be marked as sensitive and as such should challenge the user opening it for some form of authentication. Integrated security is not secure !
Spread Across Time
Not having the ability to spread across time or entering data at non-leaf level (as you can with the other dimensions) results in more models than you would ideally choose, increasing complexity.
Custom Spread Methods
Even and Ratio Spread don’t satisfy every client spreading requirement. If custom spread logic could be developed on the server and exposed through the Excel add-in for specific assignments every requirement could be fulfilled.
Without the ability to copy applications, proper versioning and unlimited undo/redo (across sessions) would help. Adopting the Visual Sourcesafe approach of versioning, pinning, branching and merging would greatly assist with development / deployment / testing cycles.
Centralised validation rules that can prevent invalid data from being submitted to the server would help reduce approval/review workload.
Dimension Member Creation
Excel Add-In support for dimension member creation would assist greatly for certain budgeting/forecasting scenarios. Workflow and data collisions would need to be considered otherwise the data integrity could be jeopardised.
Multiple Model Data Entry
Allowing an assignments to capture data for multiple models would provide the ability to simplify the implemented process and provide greater support for, amongst others, assumption model based what-ifs.
Submission Triggered Jobs
It’s common to want to run a job once all data has been submitted. Currently the job has to be run manually or scheduled. Allowing jobs to be triggered via data submissions would provide greater automated support for implemented processes.