PerformancePoint Server 2007 Planning

Updated: 2009-04-30

PerformancePoint Server 2007 Planning (PPS-P) is a suite of applications that work together to help organizations create short-term business plans (or budgets) aligned to long-term plans. PPS-P addresses the problems found in traditional budgeting processes by automating workflows among key contributor and approval groups involved in budgeting, as well as introducing an easy-to-use interface via Microsoft Office Excel for data entry, analysis, and management reporting. Figure 2.3 illustrates how PPS-P works in a typical organization.

(This article is an excerpt from The Rational Guide to Planning with Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, by Adrian Downes and Nick Barclay, and is property of Mann Publishing Group (978-1-932577-42-6), copyright January 2008, all rights reserved. No part of this chapter may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, electrostatic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.)

Create and Configure

Once PPS-P is installed, the first major activity on the road to implementing PPS-P involves creating and configuring a new planning solution with the Planning Administration Console (PAC). As shown in Figure 2.3, the PAC interacts with the PPS-P Server Web Service to:

  • Define a new application that houses all the necessary elements for the planning solution, define the SSAS 2005 instance where the application’s business models will reside, and define a SQL Server 2005 relational database to host the application.

  • Define a root model site that serves as a broad container for business models that are used to store budget data.

  • Define a master list of users, assigned to server-level roles, for securing both application and business models.

  • Identify file share locations for form templates and reports, which may include a local server, network share, or SharePoint document library.

  • Configure a data source for model data that will be used to define model dimensions.

  • Configure a data destination for exporting approved data to other systems.

  • Specify a SSRS 2005 instance where operational reports will be deployed to enable browser-based monitoring of PPS-P Server process management.

  • Specify additional file locations for logging.

  • Specify the frequency for reprocessing data into a business model application database.

  • Take an application database off-line for maintenance operations.

We will cover the “Create and Configure” tasks in greater detail with the PAC in Chapter 4.

Element Design

Once an application has been defined using the PAC, a PPS-P desktop tool named Planning Business Modeler (PBM) is used to define and organize key elements required for the planning solution, which are stored via the SSAS 2005 instance defined for the PPS-P application. Let’s review these elements:

  • Dimensions represent in hierarchical form entities relevant to a specific facet of business such as Employees, Customers, Products, or Accounts from a general ledger. Subsets of such hierarchies, showing a limited set of members are known as member sets.

  • Business Models consist of multiple dimensions defined around specific measures, as defined in an underlying data source; in this way a model is manifested as a cube in SSAS 2005.

  • Business Rules perform such tasks as calculations for business drivers (for example, Revenue = Sales Quantities * Sales Price), currency conversion, allocating budget data, assigning assumption data in the absence of actual values from a data source, and moving data between models.

During the “element design” phase, PBM is also used to define model-specific roles for subsequent budgeting process workflows, as well as associations between models to move approved planning or actual data from contributing models to master models for reporting purposes. We will cover dimensions, member sets, and business models in Chapters 5-7, learn how to apply role-based security to our models in Chapter 8, and develop business rules in Chapter 10. In Bonus Chapter B, we will apply our knowledge of models and business rules to associations, which help to move data into parent or master models.

Interface Design

With the key elements for a PPS-P application designed, the next step involves the development of user interfaces for performing budgeting and analysis activities. PPS-P ships with a PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel, which allows us to craft a PivotTable-style interface (known as a matrix), to support data entry for a given business model. Once created, these form templates are published to the PPS-P Server and stored in the file shares specified earlier with the PAC. Management reports may also be developed using the PPS Add-in for Excel, taking advantage of Excel 2007 conditional formatting features and providing the ability to publish reports to alternate destinations, including SSRS 2005 and Excel Services running on MOSS 2007. Input form development with the PPS Add-in for Excel is discussed in Chapter 11, while management reports are covered in Bonus Chapter C. For information on registering your book and downloading bonus chapters, see the last page in this book.


Although the PPS Add-in for Excel is compatible with Microsoft Office Excel 2003 and 2007, this book only covers the latter version. For further information on using the Add-in with Excel 2003, refer to the Help file titled PerformancePoint Add-in for Excel (PPSAddInForExcel.chm) that ships with PPS-P.

Process Design

Development of form templates is a necessary step, because instances of such forms are accessed by one or more individuals during a period of budgeting activity. In addition to designing PPS Planning elements (dimensions, member sets, models, business rules, roles, and associations), PBM is used to define, schedule, and automate recurring cycles of budgeting activity. Cycles contain assignments for specific model users to perform contribution tasks, review tasks, or approval tasks against a given model, via a given form (specifically, the form is an instance of the template published with the PPS Add-in for Excel). Assignments have optional review and approval workflows that can notify other users when initial contributions are complete. The collection of cycles and assignments defined by PBM (and governed by the PPS-P Process service) is known as process management.

We will learn more about implementing process management with PBM in Bonus Chapter A.

Data Entry and Analysis

Once process management has been defined and a planning cycle begins, the PPS-P Server notifies key individuals assigned to perform data entry tasks through a given matrix form. In Excel, the user can view and open assignments, enter data, and use calculations (business rules) to further enhance productivity, as well as run jobs. Annotations (cell-specific notes made by certain users) further enhance communication during the review and approval phases of the assignment workflow. Users then submit either draft or final versions of their work back to the PPS-P Server; this action changes the state of an assignment and notifies appropriate users to review and approve the budget figures. Users may also use forms to perform what-if analysis, again taking advantage of powerful business rules behind the scenes, in order to evaluate multiple scenarios that may or may not impact planned targets (budget values). Data entry with the PPS Add-in for Excel is covered in Bonus Chapter A as part of a sample assignment.

Import, Export, and Feedback

In order to design dimensions, models, and business rules effectively, PBM provides the ability to import data, based on a data source connection configured with the PAC. Once the collection of models within an application (the model site) has been deployed, PBM jobs can be used to regularly synchronize the latest set of actual source data to support decisions during a given budgeting cycle. In Figure 2.3, the “Export” vector points to a data destination; this outbound database may be configured in the PAC to stage approved budget data on its way from a given business model to an external system, or (with the help of SSIS) move such data into an existing data mart or data warehouse. Ongoing feedback is another critical factor in a successful PPS-P implementation. Feedback from users closes the loop on a budgeting cycle in a number of ways:

  • It communicates new dimensions or dimension members that need to be considered for a subsequent planning or management reporting cycle, reflecting changes within the organization.

  • It specifies changes to certain model roles (e.g., contributors, reviewers, approvers, and administrators) involved in budgeting.

  • It prompts discussion of new or changing management report requirements.

The remaining chapters in this book cover each of the three main tools: PAC, PBM, and the PPS Add-in for Excel and how they can be used to deliver a PPS-P pilot solution for a certain company familiar to most users of SQL Server 2005.

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