Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

July 21, 2017

HAS HFM NOT REALLY MOVED TO CLOUD??

Has HFM not moved to cloud?

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As the name indicates, FCCS - Financial Close & Consolidation Cloud Service, but still after reading through multiple blogs, what I interpreted is that FCCS is not HFM in cloud or a replacement of HFM. However, the list of features included in FCCS does support the fact that it seems to be a distant if not closer relative of HFM, if not a complete package altogether.

Let's first have a look in detail on all the features, which I found to be similar to HFM. And then I would go on covering the variances as well.

Feature

HFM

FCCS

Standard Dimensions

x

x

Standard Consolidations & Eliminations

x

x

ICP Matching reports

x

x

Currency Translations & CTA Calculations

x

x

Cash Flow

x

x

Multi GAAP Support

x

x

Drill through

x

x

Journal workflow

x

x

Data Audit

x

x

Data load from ERP

x

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


FCCS is primarily built from the customer's base point of view. The intent of this application is to reduce the manual effort or limited need for customization, since there is no concept of rule file here, & all the functionalities mentioned above have been provided out of the box.

Hence, FCCS would be of greater benefit to those customers who do not require complex calculations & plain vanilla implementation / consolidation is the requirement.

The foremost advantage of FCCS would be the database size for each application which is 150GB & that would mean the application is capable of holding around 1K entities & 5K accounts. However, this DB size is extendible, for a higher price though.

Lesser user roles exist in the shared services which would indirectly mean easier maintenance from security perspective.

Now let us discuss the differences in both the solutions, or rather I must say, the shortfalls in FCCS, which project the fact that FCCS is surely not a replacement of HFM or HFM in the cloud.

Feature

HFM

FCCS

Standard Dimensions

8

11

Custom Dimensions

Up to 20

2

System defined dimension

members

Only in Value

Several

Parent Entity Data Input

Available through very data input mode

Only Journals

Ownership Management

Yes

No

Currency Translations & CTA Calculations

Multiply / Divide available

Only Multiply

 

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However, after considering the Oracle's future roadmap of FCCS, the day is not too far when HFM & FCCS might become closer buddies as well.

 

July 18, 2017

Big Data & ETL's Evolution

Big Data & ETL's Evolution


The need for Extract Transform Load (ETL) Tools are ever-present as long as data consumption is there. ETL tool has been used in batch processing and transforming data as per the format required by data warehouse. Transformations have evolved into more complex due to enormous growth in the amount of unstructured data. 

At High level, Big Data Hadoop eco system consists of,

  •     Structure data :  High level of organization. Data is stored typically in organized table structure.
  •        Unstructured data :  Data is not stored in any organized form. E.g. data from Social media, Smart phones, Sensors, Images, Emails, etc.
  •        Hadoop (Hadoop Distributed File System) :  Framework for processing/storage of extremely vast data; breaks the data into chunks and stores in the participating node servers.
  •      MapReduce :  S/W Framework for processing vast data on multiple clusters(nodes) in parallel in master (Map task) and Slave (Reduce task) mode.
  •    Spark : Data analytics tool that operates on distributed data sources like Hadoop.
  •     Pig & Hive : Both ease the complexity of writing complex MapReduce programs (Similar to Scripting/SQL but not exactly).
  •    Sqoop : Migrates data in/out of Hadoop and relational data bases.

(Note: some of the above components are optional)


Pic.png

Fig 1. Hadoop Eco System 

Given the growth and significance of unstructured data, there has been increase in need for major ETL players to provide solution options for transforming unstructured data to be used in analytics. Most of the ETL tools in the market are successfully marching towards that path. Here are some of the ETL tools offerings w.r.t Big Data,

Oracle - ODI:                                                                        

The approach of Oracle's BigData is to enable Client's current data architecture to incorporate BigData and help to get more value to business and prospective analytical reporting and enable it to support other big data needs. ODI is important key tool for Oracle in this pursuit. The advanced new Big Data Wizard in ODI 12.2.1.1.0 supports many new Hadoop technologies.


Pic1.png

Fig 2. Oracle Data Integrator


ODI ELT doesn't require middle tier engine for supporting big data components whereas typically ETL tools require intermediate servers to convert the mapping into programming languages like C++ for execution. ODI leverages its predominant feature of using underlying database efficiency for the processing to support big data. ODI ability to produce native code results in tremendous efficiency for the processing can be attained.

Cognos:

IBM has introduced a new suite 'BigInsights' for big data and analytical reporting. BigSQL authorizes Cognos to configure Hadoop as a data source. BigSQL can access Hive, Hbase and Spark synchronously using a single DB connection via Hadoop.

Business analysts and Executives can experience visually enhanced Big data reports from Cognos Presentation service which is a good value addition for understanding Big data. With BigInsights and BigSQL, IBM is providing tools for enabling Hadoop operations, including the ability to exchange components with the existing infrastructure and functionality of Cognos.

DataStage:

IBM platform for DataStage has engineered an easy integration service of heterogeneous data, including big data at rest (Data is stored and analyzed. E.g conventional data warehousing) or big data in motion (Dynamic data based on Real-Time or operational intelligence architecture. E.g Trading, Fraud detection, etc.). 

DataStage, in its newer versions, now includes components such as new Big data file stages to access files (both read &write) from HDFS, Hive stages or has Stages to automatically generate MapReduce program.

Talend Studio for Data Integration:

Talend Data Fabric solution delivers high-scale and in-memory fast data processing. To generate native Spark and MapReduce code, it leverages Hadoop's parallel environment property.

Since Talend Open Studio is an open source solution it can be downloaded at no cost, but support will be provided only for subscription products. Subscription products has more functionality like shared repository, versioning and dashboards.

PowerCenter Informatica:

Informatica Corp launched Informatica BigData Edition which can be used for ETL in Hadoop environment along with RDBMS. Informatica BDE is available in versions 9.6 and later.

BDE runs in two modes, Native mode for normal power center ETL and Hive mode to support BigData additionally. Mappings moved to Hive will be executed in Hadoop cluster using Hadoop's parallelism (By MapReduce cability).

SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS):

Microsoft has new Visual Studio 2015 tools which contains new SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) Tasks. This provides ETL options on Apache Hadoop, Sqoop for data import/export, Hive for SQL queries, the MapReduce distributed programming infrastructure and ODBC drivers to connect to your data in HDFS from tools like Excel and SQL Server.

JaspersoftETL:

Jaspersoft amended OEM agreement with Talend to use native connectors to Apache Hadoop Big Data environments in Jaspersoft ETL. Also Integration of Talend into the Jaspersoft BI Suite, supports all Big Data use cases.

                Talend supports major Big Data platforms including Amazon EMR, Apache Hadoop (HBase, HDFS, and Hive), Cassandra, Cloudera, etc. For the robust performance and reliability, Big Data Edition has high availability and load balancing features for critical reporting and analysis requirements.

List of ETL Big Data Solutions Vendor-wise:

 

Big Data

Big Data in Cloud

ODI

ODI for Big Data

Oracle Data Integrator Cloud Service

Cognos

BigInsights Suite

IBM BigInsights on Cloud

DataStage

Native BD file stages.

IBM Bluemix - IBM InfoSphere DataStage on Cloud

Informatica

Informatica Big data edition BDE

Informatica Big data edition BDE

SSIS

SQL Server Data Tools for Visual Studio 2015

Azure Data Factory

Talend

Talend Big Data Integration platform

Talend Integration Cloud

Jaspersoft

Talend native connectors

Amazon Redshift

            

-  Xavier Philip

July 17, 2017

Empower with Hyperion on Mobile

Mobiles and tablets have transformed today's world, enabling access to information and fast decision making by a mere touch. Oracle Enterprise Performance Management made entry in mobile space with release 11.1.2.3.500 providing access to Hyperion application through handheld devices (Mobiles & Tablets). Access to Hyperion on mobile devices can be broadly categorized in two ways -

  1. A dedicated app on Android & iOS platform for enabling on the go reviews, approvals and workflow.
  2. Browser access through URL for Hyperion Planning artifacts (post configuring Tablet access in workspace) and Hyperion Financial reports.
Let us first talk about EPM mobile app -

EPM Mobile App

Installing app on your mobile or tablet is pretty much straightforward, visit App Store or Play store and download the app (talking about fast changing world, App is not compatible with latest iOS 10 & Android 7 yet ,but that is a story for another day).

Primary usage of this app is to enable on-the-fly reviews and approvals for -

·   Oracle Hyperion Planning
·   Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud System
·   Close Manager
·   Oracle Data Relationship Governance
·   Oracle Hyperion Financial Management
·   Oracle Hyperion Tax Provision

After installation, open the app and options are available for -

  • Configure Connection - Enter Details for connection URL and credentials.
  • Product Tour has demo to familiarize with interface. After clicking product Tour, it shows all available applications for different Hyperion products - Hyperion Planning, HFM, Tax Provisioning, Data relationship Governance & Financial Close Management.

Hyperion Planning

Select Scenario and Version for which workflow has to be reviewed.  There is also an option to filter by Status (Not Signed Off, Under Review etc. )

                                                             

Select the Scenario, Version , Entity combination to view History and Promotional path details for Planning Unit

                              

Click on Actions button to appropriate Action to move planning unit in Promotional path.        

HFM

Select HFM application from List of available applications. Promotion units are displayed for Scenario, Year Period combination. Promotion Units are grouped by Phase & Review Level. Filters are available to select appropriate Promotion units form Scenario, Year, Period, Phase, Review Level. Pass /Fail Staus and History can be viewed .  

Financial Close Management

Close Manager displays all the available close tasks, after Opening due task, take action to Approve or Reject task.  

Data Relationship Governance

Data relationship governance was not part of the first release of EPM Mobile application. It has been updated with latest release. All available requests in DRG application Requests can be seen, after selecting an item , click on Action button to take a decision on the request .

                                                  

 

Browser Access

Before accessing application in tablet, Tablet access needs to be enabled in workspace after logging through a Desktop/laptop. Go to Administration > Manage > Tablet Access.

Select artifacts from list Forms, Task List and Rule which should be enabled for Tab access. (Keep in mind that display of Forms might vary as per the resolution properties and screen size of tablet)

From browser of tablet, access Planning URL http(s)://server:19000/HyperionPlanning .Enter Credentials. You can see the forms, Task lists and rules

                                                                      

 Forms

                 

 

Task Lists

               


Business Rules

             https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-Am2xyiVwm5c/U0Q7tWHSDyI/AAAAAAAAGnc/utlDm9na5pA/s640/blogger-image-328687417.jpg

 

While accessing reports from icon available , only Report Snapshots can be accessed. For Accessing Financial reports visit URL  http://server:19000/hr/mobile/HRMobileLogon.jsp  .  Enter Credentials ,after successful login, Folder structure for reports can be accessed

A sample report viewed on Tablet

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-hJzAnLK56Nk/U13Qqt4ltRI/AAAAAAAAAlM/S8-L4bg9Fks/s1600/08-03.PNG


Note:

  1. Refer Mobile Certification Tab for Compatibility details in Oracle EPM Compatibility matrix.
  2. Depending upon deployment, VPN might be required to connect to the application.



Simplified Interface - Life made simple for Hyperion Planning

·   Can we add Company Logo?

·   Can we change color theme?

·   Our management wants to access EPM application on Tablets, how can we do it?

·   How can we make scheduling jobs easier?


As a Hyperion planning Consultant these used to be a common queries from clients, and for all above queries there was a workaround (not simple at times), but with 11.1.2.3.500 release of EPM an alternative to vanilla user interface was made available - Simplified Interface for Hyperion Planning. Its focus was to enable applications access on Tablets.

It provided an appealing user interface for administrators to create and manage an application, and for planners to budget, analyze and review. Icon based UI makes working with Hyperion planning much easier. It was also a glimpse of changing User Interface for Oracle EPM Hyperion suite from On Premise to Cloud.

 

Simplified interface provides -

·   A better look & feel

·   Options to customize the interface (logo, theme, watermark), formatting on data forms.

·   Enhanced performance when navigating forms and entering data, now it uses client-side scripting technologies in the simplified interface.

·   Flexibility to add Company logo on Home page & option to add watermark background.

·   Better Job scheduling options

·   Create Dashboards which include forms, charts, external link and commentary.

·   Tablet friendly.   

  

Enable Simplified Interface

Simplified administration has to be initialized from planning administration.

For a new application, there are three options available for creating applications

1. Sample - Vision application is created with artifacts and data.
2. Simple - Custom application with 1 Plan Type, allows MDX member formulas only.There is no provision for business  rules, map reporting, copy data, copy version, exchange rates, or currency conversion. This is useful for creating a simple application and can always be converted to an advanced application while scaling up.
3. Advanced - Member Formulas and Business rules can be created, it cannot be transformed into a simple application.

After application creation , logging to Hyperion Planning application a new layout is visible


                         

Console

Provides a bird eye view of the application. Click on 'Overview' tab, and you can see total number of Tasks, Plans, Rules, and Approval Hierarchies.


                         

Customize Appearance

Changing colors, adding logos in earlier versions required modifying EAR files, WAR files then redeploy Planning. With simplified interface it is much easier.For adding Logo, enter image URL in Logo URL field. For adding watermark, enter image URL in Theme URL field.  Few of the theme options available are as follows -       

                                             

Data Form Formatting

 A simple data form gives flexibility to perform data, Ad hoc and formatting tasks. These three groups are visible on Data form as tabs.                             

·  Data Tasks - Tasks like Cut, copy, paste Clear Data,adjust, Spread, adding supporting details, filtering data are available.

·  Ad Hoc Tasks - For ad hoc analysis on a form Zoom In/Out, Keep Remove, Move, Pivot tasks are present.

·  Format tab -  Font size color can be customized for the data form.  

 

Dashboard

Customized dashboards can be created to review data and analyze. Forms, Charts, URL's and commentary can be added while creating a Dashboard. For charts on Dashboard properties like Chart Type (Line, Bar , Pie Area , Scatter , Bubble Etc. ), Legend/Label Position , Axis properties can be customized .Web URL can be added on Dashboard .There is a section of adding comments also.  A sample dashboard

 

Job Scheduling

Scheduling jobs becomes easier, and gives flexibility to schedule following tasks -

  • Import Metadata
  • Import Data
  • Export Metadata
  • Export Data
  • Refresh Database
  • Plan Type Map

Exporting data gives options to select target location, file type, Dimensions in Row/Column and POV. Export Metadata - Here a single dimension or all dimensions can be exported to a location of choice, and job can be saved for scheduling as well. While Scheduling jobs, Start Date, Time Zone, recurring pattern and End Date can be selected.

 

Things to keep in mind while using Simplified interface -

  • Only Classic application can be created using Simplified Interface.
  • Few admin features are available only in desktop mode
  • For tablets only landscape mode works.
  • User experience on ipads is better compared to android tablets.
  • For Ipad use Safari, Chrome for android - as recommended by Oracle
  • Simplified Interface can be accessed through following URL ( http(s)://<planning server>:<port>/HyperionPlanning   and http(s)://<webserver>:<port>/HyperionPlanning  )







Continue reading " Simplified Interface - Life made simple for Hyperion Planning " »

The Art of Automating Performance Testing of Hyperion Application with OATS

What is Performance Testing?

 

Performance testing is the testing, that is performed, to determine however the parts of a system activity, given a selected scenario. Resource usage, measurability and dependability of the merchandise also are valid underneath this testing.

Performance testing is the arrangement of operational efficiency, that is focused on tending to execution issues inside the code

 

IDENTFICATION OF BEST TOOL HYPERION TESTING:

For making sure that your Applications works well for your users and Performance is as expected, it is mandatory to spot best tool to measure performance metrics. Based on our experience in Hyperion world OATS (Oracle Application Testing Solution) works best in validating the performance of the below applications:

  • Oracle Hyperion Planning Applications
  • Financial Data-management Enterprise Edition (FDMEE)
  • ESSBASE ASO applications
  • Hyperion Financial Reporting Studio
  • Hyperion shared services
  • Enterprise Performance Management Architect (EPMA)

 

Apart from OATS there are few other familiar names for Performance Testing for Hyperion Applications, such as JMETER and Load Runner.

 

JMeter:

It's a free ware and less support available. It's works great, but takes quite a bit of development. It can be used it to load test the Planning web interface, FR reports, and SmartView retrieves. Development at Jmeter takes more time with respect to load runner, OATS.

 

Load runner:

Load runner is Licensed Testing tool known as. It's a 3rd party tool for Hyperion Testing tool. Load runner support is available. Development takes less time with respect to Jmeter tool. Support is available in case of issue. Performance Matrix is available for Load runner.

 

OATS (Oracle Application Testing Suite) work best with Hyperion Applications as It's an Oracle Enterprise product for Testing. Built in plug-in is available for OATS. Oracle Support is available in case of any issue appears. Oracle Application Testing Suite (OATS) is an incorporated, far reaching Web application testing arrangement that gives every one of the instruments need to guarantee the adaptability and unwavering quality of your business-basic applications.

 

OATS Performance testing requires both Open Scripts and Oracle Load Testing (OLT). Open script is required to create and export error free script in zipped format. OLT is GUI and is required to import zip script created from Open scripts and to load, performance and multiple user can be tested on web applications in same sessions and collect performance metrics.

OLT is best suited for below Oracle Component.

  • Adobe Flex (AMF)
  • Oracle Fusion/ADF
  • Oracle Hyperion
  • Oracle JD Edwards Enterprise One
  • Oracle PeopleSoft
  • Oracle Siebel
  • Oracle EBS/forms
  • Web/HTTP

 

 

Oracle Load Testing offers the following advantages for load testing Web-based applications:

 

  • Accurately emulates real user interactions and tests for correct responses.
  • User-defined Virtual User Profiles
  • Data-Driven Load Testing
  • Enables you to vary load conditions on-the-fly to try "what-if" scenarios, and to create comprehensive reports and graphs with the touch of a button.
  • Allows you to access Oracle Load Testing from any networked machine using a web browser.
  • Allows multiple users to collaborate during testing by connecting to the same in progress test session to view and analyse results.

 

Performance testing process: OATS Performance testing requires both Open Scripts and Oracle Load Testing (OLT). Please refer flowchart to understand the process.