Monthly Archives: June 2014

Outcomes from Oracle Developer Tools User Group (ODTUG) Kscope14: Oracle Hyperion Planning Enhancements

June 26, 2014

Seattle…home to Starbucks, Microsoft, and the famous Pike Place Market. And for this past week, it was also home to Oracle Developer Tools User Group (ODTUG)’s annual Kscope14 conference.

Amongst other things, Kscope has traditionally been the flagship conference for EPM (Hyperion) specialists. This year has been no exception. The conference was packed with great EPM content from industry experts, Oracle product managers, customers, and service providers. During the EPM Sunday Symposium, Oracle product managers detailed clear priorities for additional capabilities in the EPM space. Oracle’s team announced that they will continue to invest in current EPM application functionality in upcoming releases, as well as to develop new offerings; to introduce more EPM in the cloud applications; and to expand the Oracle EPM mobile presence.

This blog post focuses specifically on enhancements and changes to the Oracle Hyperion Planning and Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) solutions.  During the conference, we learned Oracle will be working on the following:

  • New User Interface (UI) Launch

Tired of the clunky look and feel of Planning data forms and the EPM Workspace? Well, prepare yourself for a whole new Planning interface. The new interface brings the Planning interface into today’s familiar mobile device UI, compatible for tablets and other mobile devices. This UI will be available for the PBCS platform as early as this fall, and then will be rolled out for the traditional on premise Planning solution shortly thereafter.

  • Web-Based Financial Reporting Studio (FR) Launch

Say goodbye to the desktop Financial Reporting Studio (and good riddance). The future brings a web-enabled version of this reporting design tool, allowing your client machines to be free of the current, resource-consuming reports designer.

  • Oracle Hyperion Financial Data Management Enterprise Edition (FDMEE) To Source Data From EPM (Hyperion) Applications

The Oracle Hyperion Financial Data Management Enterprise Edition (FDMEE) data integration tool will be enhanced to allow data to be sourced from an EPM application. To date, this product only sourced data from upstream ERP systems or from system extracts. It will soon have the ability to source from other EPM applications, allowing for seamless data integration and transfer from one EPM application to another. This item is so big that I am dedicating a specific, later blog post to this topic – stay tuned!

  • Valid Combinations Feature Launch

Similar to combination rules in ERP systems, this feature will allow Hyperion Planning to provide valid combinations between dimensions. Let’s look at an example using the “Geography” and “Product” dimensions. If there are five geographies and 100 products, Planning would historically allow a user to enter data across any combination of these items (500 combinations), assuming application security allows for this. This new feature will allow the administrator to set up valid combinations amongst these dimensions. So, if a user chose the “China” geography, then only products relevant for China would be available for data entry. This is a long-awaited feature that will provide far more flexibility in designing viable data entry forms and that will provide high-integrity data.

  • Personal Planning Sand Box Version Launch

Users will be provided with a “personal sandbox” version in Planning. It is not clear yet if and how this version feature will actually exist in Essbase, and how this will avoid data explosion.

  • Hybrid ASO/BSO Planning Launch

A hybrid Planning model that utilizes both Block Storage Option (BSO) and Aggregate Storage Option (ASO) technologies is on the way. The concept is to use both flavors of Essbase in a solution that uses the best of what each can offer. While this hybrid version exists today in Version 11.1.2.3, we don’t really think it’s “ready for show time.” However, Oracle’s EPM team envisions significant enhancements to make this a truly viable option as part of a Planning solution, and we remain hopeful!

As I mentioned earlier in this post, a further blog entry on FDMEE enhancements is coming…stay tuned!

Author: Chuck Persky, Performance Architects


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Recommendations for Oracle Developer Tools User Group (ODTUG) Kscope14: Business Analytics/Business Intelligence, Data Discovery (Endeca), and EPM (Hyperion)

June 16, 2014

Oracle Developer Tools User Group (ODTUG)’s annual Kscope14 conference is coming up soon, and you’re probably just now looking at the schedule and >250 opportunities to network and learn and saying, “How in the heck do I prioritize all of this great stuff?”  Since I’ve been in your shoes several times before, I wanted to provide my recommendations on the “must do” agenda items at Kscope14.

Keep in mind that Performance Architects’ focus is the business analytics arena, which we define as the intersection of business intelligence (BI), data discovery, and enterprise performance management (EPM)…and in Oracle product speak, that means Oracle Business Intelligence, Endeca Information Discovery (OEID), and Hyperion, as well as supporting/enabling technologies such as data integration, data warehousing, etc…so if you’re focused on other areas, this blog post may not provide a comprehensive guide for you!

If you’re lucky enough to be able to attend the weekend activities, I recommend kicking off your conference experience with the Kscope Community Service event on Saturday.  This is a great opportunity to get to know Seattle, and also to network and connect with your fellow conference attendees in an informal, low-pressure setting!  In addition, the project this year is with the Nature Consortium, a local Seattle charity that connects people, arts and nature, a wonderful cause and a fun way to spend a Saturday in a new place!

Sunday is where you can really start to dig in and to get the benefit of the conference experience.  The first “must do” of the conference is the BI and/or EPM Symposiums. These are all day, really substantive learning opportunities that provide a forum to interact with Oracle product management and other experts in these solution areas that you won’t experience during other times at the conference.

In terms of the conference sessions that kick off Monday, there are simply too many to list in this post.  For those of you who don’t get to attend more than one Oracle conference in a year, I strongly recommend that you try to fit in Oracle’s product and technology roadmap sessions in whatever product areas interest you.  Since this conference falls fairly close to Oracle OpenWorld, you may be lucky enough to get some preview information on Oracle product announcements.  I (of course) also have to promote Performance Architects’ session; if you’re interested in BI, make sure to include Performance Architects’ “The Joys and Griefs of Oracle Business Intelligence Data Modeling” session on your schedule (Tuesday June 24th, 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM, Session 5).  If you have other specific interests and want my unvarnished opinion on what sessions look good, feel free to shoot me a note and I’ll send you more details!

Monday night events are also a “must do” because they provide another good opportunity to mix and mingle with the folks in your functional/technical focus area in a fun, low-pressure environment.

As an exhibitor, I have to put in a plug to attend the happy hours in, and to take the time to walk through, the Exhibit Hall (Performance Architects booth is #611).  This conference does a particularly good job of making sure most of the top consultants and software vendors are available to talk about the latest and greatest in this field in the exhibit area.

Finally, Performance Architects is hosting a very special, invite-only event during ODTUG Kscope14. We are also happy to schedule some 1:1 time with you at the show if you have any particular questions.  For either item, please send an email to communications@performancearchitects.com and we’ll send you details.

Enjoy the show! – and we hope to see you there.

Author: Kirby Lunger, Performance Architects


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mystery Solved: Unraveling Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) Intercompany Eliminations

June 11, 2014

Unraveling the mystery of intercompany eliminations in Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) can be challenging.  In this blog post, I hope to provide some clarity into how HFM handles intercompany eliminations. The key players that handle eliminations in HFM are the entity, account, ICP (short for intercompany partner), and value dimensions.

Assume the following example where you have two entities, “South” and “East,” that maintain intercompany transactions with each another.  South has a $1,000 receivable with East, while East has a $900 payable with South (note: I am purposely providing a mismatched example to better demonstrate what HFM is doing).  These two entities share the same parent, “United States Consolidated.”  The web data entry form below displays the transaction entries made in yellow in <Entity Currency>.  The Account and ICP dimensions are in the row set, while the Entity and Value dimensions are in the column set.

After making these two intercompany transactions and running a consolidation, HFM displays the following:

joe 1

For each eliminated transaction, HFM creates both sides of the entry that offset the data value from the intercompany account and the intercompany partner.  The first thing HFM does is to automatically produce the offsetting entry between the intercompany account and its ICP.

In the example for the South entity, the Intercompany Receivables account and East ICP has 1,000 <Entity Currency> being offset by -1,000 in [Elimination]:

joe 2

Similarly, for the East entity, the Intercompany Payables account and South ICP have 900 <Entity Currency> being offset by -900 in [Elimination]:

joe 3

These [Elimination] entries are not one-sided however, so have no fear that this is a magical plug of some kind!  Both entities have a double-sided entry where the values will eliminate.  The offsetting entries are booked to the [Elimination] member of Intercompany Plug – BS.  This is the common plug account that has been set up for the intercompany balance sheet accounts to share.  Notice the offsetting 1,000 and -900 offsets in this plug account:

joe 4

You might notice that the -900 doesn’t appear to be an offset at all, but HFM presents the data in this manner due to the fact that Intercompany Plug – BS is set up as an asset account, while Intercompany Payables is a liability account.  Therefore, HFM knows that it will need to decrease the value in the plug account in order to perform the elimination.

Meanwhile, at the United States Consolidated entity, we can see the net of the intercompany activity results in a balance of 100 in the Intercompany Plug – BS account at [ICP Top]:

joe 5

Had the transaction entries been made for the same amount the match would net to zero.

Author: Joe Francis, Performance Architects


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Why a Financial Consolidation Application Should Not Be Used for Budgeting and Forecasting (AKA: Don’t Use HFM for Planning!)

June 4, 2014

Already using Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) for consolidations? If you are, it may seem economical to use it for budgeting and forecasting as well. But, before you spend the savings, consider the total cost of squeezing your planning and financial close processes into one application.

Any organization large enough to need HFM likely has separate departments for controllership and planning.  The differences between the financial close and planning processes make this split nearly universal.  Unlike the rhythm of the monthly close, planning cycles can be annual, quarterly, monthly or ad-hoc.  While the accountants are compiling historical results, the planning team is focused on future performance.  Even though these teams have similar skills and backgrounds, the tools they need to do their jobs efficiently are distinctly different.   When both processes are supported in the same application, conflicts arise as each team tries to leverage technology to its advantage.

Once HFM has been incorporated into the closing process, the accounting team naturally becomes risk averse.  HFM is now part of the internal control structure that is relied upon both internally and externally to ensure financial results are in compliance with regulatory requirements.  The actual cost of a restatement, should an error occur, is minor compared with loss of confidence by investors and the associated increase of the cost of capital.  To reduce this risk, most companies establish blackout periods where no application changes are allowed prior to a financial close where results will be published.  Blackout periods typically include quarter-end months, the last two months of the fiscal year, and the time it takes to close the books.

The planning process is fluid and requires frequent changes to the assumptions that govern the collection and processing of data.  Often these changes require tweaks to existing calculations or extending the model (e.g., to include a new channel or business unit).  Blackout windows require a very early start to the planning season.  Figure 1 is a hypothetical example of how a budget process would work given the blackouts.  The blackouts essentially force the planning team to set the budgeting assumptions in June – six months before the actual events so that the changes can be implemented and tested.  The implementation and testing occurs in prime vacation season with obvious complications.  A first pass can be run in September with a brief window in October for modifications prior to a final cycle.

Figure 1

Ron 1

Producing a budget is possible in this scenario but the quality of the final product may be compromised by the constraints on the planning team.  Maintaining the separation between the financial close and planning processes allows each team to control the changes to the systems that support them.  There are a number of ways to maintain the separation including: 1. create a separate HFM application; 2. implement Hyperion Planning and combine the budget and actual results in one application for reporting.  Either of these options mitigates the risk of producing a budget that is of no value due to blackout time constraints.   Considering the planning process objective is to ensure the organization meets its financial goals, making compromises for short term savings is not a good tradeoff.

Author: Ron Woodlock, Performance Architects


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.