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

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September 19, 2017

Einstein Data Discovery - An impeccable "Data Scientist" from Salesforce


Continue reading " Einstein Data Discovery - An impeccable "Data Scientist" from Salesforce " »

September 7, 2017

Analytics and the APP!

Introduction:


Mobile devices have brought about a giant leap in the modern world, providing myriad combinations of services to be leveraged by users depending upon their need, or more so, creating opportunities for different needs. While stamping their presence in most avenues of daily life, there are still some areas where their application is recognized but has yet to catch up to their full potential. One such area of opportunity, especially in the world of IT, would be the use of analytics on mobile devices. The following scenarios are discussed to study this prospect in further detail.



Mobile Analytics dashboard (Kronos & Oracle)


Case Study 1:

Scenario - The client is a leading global sports gear and apparel manufacturer and among the first to keep up with latest trends in technology and business. Apart from adopting new technology, the organization is also keen to pilot cool initiatives and gauge customer responses towards the same.

Background - The organization uses Kronos - a leading Workforce management product to capture time and attendance and also drive forecast and schedules of its workforce. With the introduction of Kronos Tablet they have also planned for a pilot rollout to select stores. Salient modules in use on the tablet include basic employee time and attendance, scheduling and forecasting along with advanced analytics.

Problem Statement - The client needed to explore the analytics app offered by Kronos for their store managers to leverage the real time trend update functionality offered by the same.

POC details - The tablet version (iPad only) app for analytics was tested and deployed as a pilot to select doors across the US region. The app was shared with both senior management and store level users. Being a retail domain the primary metrics on the app included volume drivers such as consumer traffic, sales amounts and employee demographics like coverage, shift effectiveness, etc. Focus groups were setup with pre-built dashboards to monitor various trends and daily heads up on metrics. Dashboards had roll-up, roll down functionality, real-time update of data and trend-analysis algorithms enabled using back end ETL (Extract Transform Load) jobs. The real time metrics would be updated on a preset frequency through the day as and when a threshold data point was reached. App used on the tablet was a readily downloadable app from the Apple store, developed by Kronos and integrated with the on premise application.

Pilot & Feedback - As a pilot, the app was made available to senior management and leadership in select stores. A preview of the analytics functionality, comprising a dashboard customized to the look and feel of the retailer's other existing apps, was highly successful. The core functionality and use case scenarios were also well received. This was followed by the rollout of the real time option, which again was very successful and instantly popular.

  • At a store leadership level this provided unprecedented control and rapid decision making ability.

  • For example, if in a large store area there is a shortage of employees in a section OR if there is a dip in forecasted sales in a department then the stakeholders can immediately get to the problem zone and plan alternatives with the aid of mobile analytics.

  • Frequent back office planning meetings were eliminated.

  • With access to all the necessary inputs in the tablet and with tools like heat maps and trend-analysis charts, they are able to simulate the next available options and also validate its success criteria immediately on the shop floor.

Taking a realistic scenario, during peak hours like Thanksgiving or Christmas, these actions save tremendous amount of time, not to mention an exponential increase in productivity/flexibility during day-to-day operations.


End of part 1... in parts 2 and 3 we will see more case studies and inferences.

Continue reading " Analytics and the APP! " »

August 30, 2017

Projects Planning in EPBCS - What you need to know before you kick start.

What you need to know before you start off with Projects Planning in EPBCS.

It's not uncommon for SME's to drastically underestimate the Projects Planning module and commence playing without the full pack! This struck me and as work demanded, thought I should write a diary entry on Projects Planning Module and hot from the Oven it is going to be from EPBCS Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service. May sound like I am jumping on the bandwagon, but it is not any less an exercitation! Project-based Planning is Everywhere!

Well, to benefit the first time readers I am bound to give a flashback of the basics, so bear with me until I swim it thru and guess I will make it before your first yawn ;)

EPBCS looks at Projects classification or types as below:

Internal Projects: As the name stands, related to company's internal projects like research and development, IT projects, marketing projects etc. This also deals with prioritization of the same, approval process, stage-gating or phase gating (this actually means a decision point to promote or not the project to the next stage) etc

Capital Projects: Companies prime investments, heavy investments like machineries, basically build up cost, capitalization and expended cost related, single or multiple asset creation related areas. Also envisions Opex vs Capex derivatives.

Contract Projects: Related to customers who are in IT services, that typically bill for their services that makes revenue out of projects. If they want to plan such contractual projects, this is the place.

Below are the typical Project Planning Process groups, might not be fully future ready but apparently comes with the promise to permit customization based on customer needs in one or all of these areas.

So the grouping goes as..

1. Summary: Anything to do with what you want to provide as information of the project. Even information like start date and end date of the project. Can also have different level like any custom dimensions, like vendor and stage dimensions.

2. Expense: This piece is quite similar to Financial Planning module. We can do driver based model, high level planning or even very detailed level of project planning at labor-cost etc. It also houses simple direct input planning. The cloud only feature is for internal projects where we can provide benefits (financial and non-financial) of a particular project. I sure bet this would have eased the whole song of justification, which on the on premise world planners might keep it at bay considering the manual documentation and work involved.            

3. Revenue: 3 basic revenue models are available -Time & Material, Cost Plus and Direct Revenue. Enhanced Revenue recognition parameter to meet IFRS standards. Interesting as it may sound the showcasing of revenue recognized based on performance obligation, completion. A whole lot of KPI's, measures comes OOTB.

If Freshers attack the Projects planning module in EPBCS with this background information, they are lucky not to find any strange language to deal with.

Now for those On-Premise Planning Experts, below is the birds eye view of the comparison between on premise and cloud version of projects planning module.

Topping the list is the Benefits section -Financial, Non-financial and Qualitative. This new feature, as it is being upgraded in the roadmap ahead might turn out to be a good eye catcher for the module as a whole. The "Project Stages" now becomes a new dimension in Cloud and I would believe with this, stage gating can be a cake walk altogether. Next i should mention the "Incremental Enablement" in EPBCS Framework, as it flows to Projects module as well as in the others. Especially for projects it should fall in the must-use list as it not only comes bundled with the list of uses and flexibility but also the ease of use. Yet another capability in Cloud is the ability for planning multiple assets for a single project. While in on premise we can only plan one asset per project, in EPBCS as much as the real world projects planning operates, it allows. Guess this would have been in the wish list of the on premise projects planning users and granted in EPBCS. Last but not the least that is worth mentioning in my list is the Built in Integration with other modules as in Workforce, Capex and Financials. I initially wondered why would we fall for this tight an integration leaving us little room for life time maintenance related enhancements or upgradations (well, IT brain thinking operational) or business process changes or complete ramp over or need to use different codes be it job or labor. But the answer for obvious with the amount of benefit it gives to Business and single source of Truth and the company's full view of the performance management reporting. Imagine the Labor information from workforce flows into projects planning module and you can just pick and assign to projects and the numbers you work out of the projects talk back to financials. Also what if the capital projects from Project module can talk to Capital module and Bingo you are all set! Final icing is the feature that also lets you run Projects Planning stand-alone. Despite the fact that you have enabled Workforce, Capital modules and you are building the Projects module, you can still keep this little brother separate and run him on his own shoes! Now this feature, with this height of flexibility is going to speed straight to my love list of best innovations (for today!) in this module of EPBCS.

Now finally here is what that did not make it into the list to first version of as-is Cloud and Why??

The answer to why may be because of the challenges of adoption or not enough justifiable as I heard from the horse's mouth and/or real time customers not exploiting this feature or less useful/famous in on premise. Why sell something that people don't buy. Good idea to let-go at this stage but while you are questioning if Oracle would have provided options to set it up by customer need basis, Of course the product team proved that they not only do for you but also think for you.

Ranking and Scoring is out with respect to all the OOTB features, rules, logics, but there is parameter set to play with. Few other out-goers are the Intercompany project charging and funding request capabilities. Another surprising OMG moment is the kill of the Primavera integration. Why? Your guess is as good as mine and I will leave it for the future upgrades planned in the roadmap for Project Planning module in EPBCS when they answer Why not cloud integration to P6?

Heading to hit the hay now and will return with another write up with details of all you need to know to get equipped for Projects Planning implementation in EPBCS as I am heading to get my hands dirty in the coming weeks! Can't wait and Lucky Me!

Adios!

August 29, 2017

Move beyond Relativity: This Einstein is here for Data Analytics

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

-       Albert Einstein

If you started reading this blog thinking this as an another take on Relativity, you might be disappointed. This space is not for Physicist but for all those Analytic Consultants who wished Intelligence can be added in already available Business Intelligence Tools. This blog is for all those Report Consumers/ Architects who imagined powering Enterprise wide Reporting with Predictive Analytics and Artificial Intelligence. This reading is for all those Developers who wished that they can create Reports supported on multiple devices without a need to write code for each of them. This study is for those evangelists who visualized: Data Generation, Data Consumption, Insights and Actions - all using the same interface.


It has been almost a decade since my marriage with Business Intelligence Reporting. Clicking and dropping Dimensions and Facts into Report was Jazzy and Cool. That was a honeymoon period when click-drop was eye popping change compared to writing SQL for each use case of data extraction. Clock kept ticking; companies kept introducing newer reporting tools with 'incremental' changes; flexibility/ scalability kept pouring in; performance improved - but there was a limit to it. Soon I started founding my partner to be little predictable. We all loved what current age Reporting Applications have provided to us, but still there was an open wide gap in Reporting Application Landscape - Rich Visualizations, lowest TTD (Time to Deploy), Communicate to Collaborate, Multiple Hardware support, Cloud integration, boosted by predictive algorithm and robust security framework.

 

But recently, Salesforce made a 'Transformational' change when they introduced Einstein Analytics (EA) which had ALL of these features. I have worked on other tools which had one or few of the above features, but having them all at one place coupled with Intelligence and Ease of use - is a dream come true for any Data Scientist. So does mine. And thus, in this blog, we will explore why Einstein Analytics hold so many promises for the future and I will keep this space updated with further findings as I explore my new partner more.

 

As I am writing this, EA is constantly evolving and adding new features with its every release (3 releases in a year). Let me cover some of the most prominent features in this first blog. My subsequent blogs would explore EA into greater details. 

Continue reading " Move beyond Relativity: This Einstein is here for Data Analytics " »

August 2, 2017

Force DataStage job warnings to become Information

 

Title: Force DataStage job warnings to become Information

 

Problem statement:

Teradata connector stage throws below warning when Graphic data type is extracted.

Conversion from the UTF-16LE to UTF-8 character set to may affect performance.

 

Description:

Extracting heterogeneous data from Data warehouse often includes data of type Graphical like CLOB, Extended Property, etc,) and most of the organization which deals with data warehousing will engage Teradata to store their analytical data for faster processing of data(select and manipulate) and provide efficient output in a reasonable amount of time. In DataStage version 11.5, when we use a Teradata connector stage to extract data of type CLOB, we would see the warning Conversion from the UTF-16LE to UTF-8 character set to may affect performance.

This behavior according to IBM is an expected one and it works as expected as there would be no loss/truncation of data during ETL and performance will not be affected. But, enterprise data warehouse clients will not accept warnings in DataStage jobs as they consider a warning as a loss of data. They may accept to suppress this warning, but they will have to know that this message is being displayed when a job runs.

 

Solution:

We have a tool in DataStage 'Message handler Management' which provides us on what we want to do with a warning in a DataStage job's execution.

Message handlers can be set in local for a particular job, or in Administrator client for the whole DataStage Project.

  • Login to DataStage director client and select a project in which you intend to set up the message handlers

  • Select Tools -> Message Handler Management

     

  • Every DataStage job when executed will have DataStage job logs and each log entry will have a message id associated with it, we use the message id to identify the job log. Select the Message Id from the job log which shows the warning "Conversion from the UTF-16LE to UTF-8 character set to may affect performance" and enter in the Message ID text box

  • Action have three classification as below

     

  • As part of this warning, we are still going to receive this information in the job log but not as a warning instead receive it as an Info. So we need select the Action as 'Demote to Informational"

  • In the Example of message text text box, copy the warning text message and paste it

  • We then need to the save this message handler, click on the save button as below and select 'Save Message Handler As'

     

  • Provide a meaningful name for the handler and click OK

     

  • Message handler will be saved in the directory /opt/IBM/InformationServer/Server/MsgHandlers with an extension .msh and it's readable in text editors

 

When the job is executed next time, this warning will be displayed as an information and the DataStage job will be 'finished' without this warning, which the EDW customers will be expecting.

DataStage jobs usually will be scheduled in external schedulers like IBM Mainframes OPC, where the scheduler will expect a return code of 00(Job Finished without warnings) from the DataStage jobs to report a successful completion of job, if DS job finishes with warnings, the scheduler will report it as a failure. This is mostly applicable in all Enterprise Data warehousing projects.


Continue reading " Force DataStage job warnings to become Information " »

July 27, 2017

EPBCS Family Welcomes Strategic Modelling and many more!

Pink....Pink...& Pink..It is a Girl!! Welcome the new baby into the EPBCS Family - Strategic Modelling!

Date Of Birth - June 2017, 16th

June was a month of galore, happiness and fun for the EPBCS Family! Indeed! Be it from the longest list of Issue and bug fixes, up until the Brand new framework of Strategic Modelling, EPBCS is growing, grooming and gaining confidence. What first caught my eyes was it was always "Lite","Standard" and "Enterprise" and you can choose your application type as one of the above and was upgradable. Now I see a "Reporting","Standard","Enterprise". I am yet to try if Reporting is a direct replacement of Lite and whether it can be later turned on to Enterprise ( I am assuming it will be) but will action and confirm, to let it talk more.. J

Let's look at the variety of items that came in with this June patch under different categorization:

1.       New features - Strategy Modelling Framework - The cloud version of Hyperion Strategic Finance.

2.       Enhanced features -

a.        Business Rules gets groovy - Developers win-win Business rules that had all the limitation around type of operation that it can house. Long gone is the custom that Business rules are meant for standard Aggregation or custom calculation. The style that groovy sets in is like making the user use the tool in don't care mode or giving the user more leeway and stretched comfort zone. Lovers of groovy, here is your most exotic dish. Business Rules can now be made to do functions like in letting the user submit data only within a range or whatever sanity check you want to do and it all depends on how good a groovy programmer you are!

b.       Charts got upskilled with this new "Combination Charts". Standard charts with bars are old not gold though! Now you get to make row "a" into bars and row "b" into lines, so you can compare two data over a period of time. Like what the average sales for Store A and Store B over the two years in the same chart now! J

3.       Recuperated features -

a.       "Enable features" for all 5 frameworks will not hurt you anymore if you are doing any admin work. So if you are in the process of enabling new features or editing features or even letting go of already enabled features, EPBCS will now check if the last admin activity on the application is indeed completed and database refreshed! Can't thank enough, there is never going to be any bummer surprises and no more Missing case filed!!

b.       Another feature that fixed was the "Data Push" usages. When we intend to push data to the reporting cube it was like taking your hand round your head to touch the nose. You go the data clear option, instruct for a clear data, then get back to the data movement and instruct a push data. With the June patch, it's not a 2 step process anymore. You click on the push data command it got sensible enough to first clear it and then move the data from source cube to reporting cube! Oh yeah of course a small pop-up comes out to see if you are doing what you really intend to do!

4.       Impressive features -

Opening a Google chrome window from SmartView. Yes, you correctly read and so feel free to believe. These two guys have become best buds now. How you used to launch Smart view from web service, now you can launch Google Chrome from Smart view and enter the web service. This deserves a WOW!..Hold on not until you see what's coming next. How about executing all administrator activities from Smart view? By editing worksheets within the application template workbook, you define application properties, dimension and member properties, load data, manipulate security,access permissions, and substitution variables. Well, well..well...You can even create, edit, and delete application, of course with service administrator privileges.

5.       Integrations -

Oracle Net suite and in Workforce module FDMEE integration directly with HCM! It just struck me that there is more on this area than this blog can hold so lots will be there in my next ones to follow!

6.       Whiners - 

 

a.       Application design guidelines that help you with information of whether it suits your requirements...Honey you are not there yet!

b.       Cannot upload *.bat to EPBCS anymore L..It has to be standard files extensions and no more *.exe,*.bat for *.sh to the service. Spamming or Hacking or Virus..Someone has threatened our guy but not anymore. Additional security! Now I have to transform files to standard extensions and then use. Can live with it and sure worth it but will whine!

c.       Planner Role is not able to access Financial Reporting folders and reports. There has been a security upgrade for FR which has led to this.

7.       Miscellaneous fixes and Thank You for that! -

a.       Exporting Financial Reports to Excel works!

b.       Application settings can be saved from Navigation Menu!

c.       Grid POV now does show up in Financial report!

d.       Move a form around in a dashboard, the rows appear correctly!

e.       Create a new BSO cube and all dimensions get enabled without errors!

f.        SmartPush = Data Maps.Clear&Push!

g.       Once you click save in a form, the cursor still remain in the same cell!

h.       Dynamic report can be exported to Excel..finally!!


       Now getting to where we started, celebrating the new member into the EPBCS Family- Strategic Modelling, will store it for a while as you keep waiting for my next write-up! J

I won't take long..I promise! Happy Reading and Happy Waiting as EPBCS fever is everywhere and giving a tough competition to Nolanism! J

 

July 26, 2017

Strategic Modeling in EPM Cloud

Oracle Cloud offering in EPM space is expanding, and EPBCS(Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service) offering was updated with a module for Strategic Modeling. Strategic Modeling is based on Hyperion Strategic Finance offering and has similar features in cloud.  Few key features of Strategic Modeling are -

  • Financial modeling and forecasting for Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

  • Manage Sophisticated Debt and capital structures. It has funding routine and Debt Scheduler utility.

  • Create Targets

  • Perform Financial Impact Analysis, create what if Scenarios on run time.

  • Present Focused financial Information

  • Make Informed Decisions

        

Business organization has different needs for operational planning and strategic plan & modeling. EPBCS Strategic modeling module provides seamless integration between operational Planning with Strategic Modeling.

                               

There are pre-defined Templates which can be used for data modeling, or new models can be created. Existing models cannot be modified but a copy of templates can be saved and modified for business needs.

For each Template set of accounts groups and Scenarios are defined. Account group varies depending upon nature of business.

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Working with Models

You can enter data for historical values, assumption for forecast and value estimations.

Forecasting

Another feature of Strategic module is detailed forecasting. Values can be forecasted for Project accounts for periods by selecting from various methods like inputting values ,adjusting by value/percentage , take output value from a specific account for a specific period , freeform formulas or available forecast methods can be leveraged.

  • Predefined Forecast Methods
    • As Actual Value
    • Growth Rate
    • Growth Rate (Year Over year )
    • % Of Another Model
    • Days
    • Turns - For an account how frequently the balance turns, used in inventory forecasting.
    • Absolute Multiple of another account
    • Default Multiple of another account

Goal Seek

Fix a target value and then do calculations for associated drivers to reach the target value ,

 

What If Analysis

Performing what if analysis to understand how dynamic changes impact the bottom line. Using what if analysis organizations can simulate and strategize for all plausible business scenarios to minimize the risk and reduce uncertainty.

 

Audit Trail

To determine how values are calculated there is a feature Audit Trail, which works like a drill down to trace back steps for calculation.

  

Consolidate & Report

Consolidations can be created to aggregate values from child entities to Parent entity, this helps making informed decisions at top level. There are pre built reports available for analysis or customized reports can be created.


Continue reading " Strategic Modeling in EPM Cloud " »

How's your day, Workday!

Since "Oracle made an offer to PeopleSoft that it couldn't refuse", we all were busy thinking that HRMS market would be captured by Oracle (which it did in the very start).  But as the time passed, we came to know why David Duffield (founder and former CEO PeopleSoft) would have left it for Oracle.

Times are changing and in this era where organizations want to minimize their spending  on administration cost of an application but at the same time want minimum downtime for scheduled maintenance (infrastructures are not assets anymore, they turn to liability with higher maintenance costs), and right there Workday was introduced for such customers.  But with each year its market capture has gone up (especially when it comes to HRMS). 

We can conclude that Workday had more futuristic thinking than Oracle from the fact that OBIEE cloud version was introduced 3 years back where as Workday (which is cloud based tool) was introduced in 2005 itself.

Leaving LMS and CRM apart, Workday is giving tough completion to PeopleSoft

And Customers who have switched from PeopleSoft's HRMS to Workday are not comfortable switching from OBIEE to Workday reporting when it comes to their reporting needs and right there IT Services organizations get a key skillset and offering to work on i.e. Integration of OBIEE with Workday that would replace previously implemented Integration of OBIEE with PeopleSoft

Challenges

Unlike PeopleSoft, Workday is a file based system.  While everything in PeopleSoft works on the concept of Effective date of a transaction, in Workday a new driver comes in i.e. Completion date of an event.  As we don't have any out-of-the-box file system adaptor provided in OBIEE-BIApps HR solution that can directly connect to Workday, only option that we are left with is to use Universal Adaptors provided by Oracle in DAC 10+ editions onwards (file adaptors).

However, to match the expected file format of file adaptors, a strong expertise in Workday Integration, Java along with XML basic knowledge is needed.

Using Oracle File Adaptors for Workday

That might sound unbelievable, but it works once you overcome above challenge and it works way smoother than PeopleSoft data source.  However, incremental load is not an effective option as Workday doesn't store history outside application (in files) beyond a point (that usually never exceeds 3 months).  So only option BI team is left with is to replicate delta in a set of tables (we can call them history tables) to compare the Workday data set on every following day.  Data archiving is not just a best practice but a necessity while using Workday as data source. Data is delivered via SFTP/FTP to ETL tool Source File location in various delimited files and we can limit the data based on our requirement of BI reporting

PeopleSoft data migration to Workday

For HRMS, Workday will take care of that but for BI system, all PeopleSoft tables must be migrated to data Warehouse which would be merged with staging tables of workday once we load the data from workday files (every time we execute out daily batch)

The big fight!

Leaving the competitors aside, customers expect PeopleSoft to be as simple as Workday.  On the other side, customers who had OBIEE as key reporting tool, expect Workday reporting to be as interactive as OBIEE-PeopleSoft reporting used to be. 

Who can gain out of this?

In this fight of simple versus complex, someone has huge gap to fill in.  Who?? Well "us", we "the IT service industry" can fill in that gap while that fight is going on.

July 25, 2017

My experience with Form Development in HFM

My experience with Form Development in HFM

 

I have being working on Oracle Hyperion products for past many years. Since my role always required me to focus more on solution design and project/program management, development work was restricted to more of Metadata built and business rule development with hardly any opportunity to work on Forms extensively. Fortunately I got the opportunity this time and it was good learning experience. So I thought why not share the same with all.

I will not go in to details about how the Forms are constructed but for those new to Hyperion Financial Management (HFM), Forms are UI for entering and viewing data at a Specific Intersection. Forms are extensively used for entering additional data which is out of the Trial Balance and/or cannot be uploaded directly from the transaction system.

You may have noticed that I have highlighted the word specific intersection. This is the most important part of form constructions, as every cell in a form is defined by the combination of each dimension defined in the application. So you can define dimension applicable to each cell in the form at:

  1. Page level: which is applicable throughout the form. eg Value: <Entity Curr Total>, View: YTD

  2. Column level: which is specific to each column. eg. Year: 1st Column 2017 2nd Column 2016.

  3. Row level: which is specific to each row. eg. Account.

  4. Specific cell level: This is done by overriding the dimension applicable as defined by the page, column and/or row. eg. Override Cell 1st row & 1st column by View as HYTD.

Though there might be some cell which are based on 'In Form' calculations or are blank, every other cell represents a specific data intersection in the application. Thus, utmost care should be taken while constructing Forms, else data will go to wrong intersection in the application and impact the final reported figures.

Now that we know that we can override the definition at cell level, let us dwell in it further. Override is nothing but replacing the dimension or formatting done at page, column or row level. So override can be defined in a column definition or row definition.

Points to remember about override:

  1. Row Override definition takes precedence over column level definition.

  2. Function like @Cur can be used in an override for Year and Period dimension.

  3. In cell data calculation can be done to display data differently.

    Eg. If certain accounts values are to be displayed in different signage you can use the cell override as show below:

    Cell multiplied by -1: R5=A#Misc_Expenses, Override(2,2,SCalc((A#Misc_Expenses)*-1)).

  4. Override can be used to override formatting like, Back ground colour, font, font weight (Bold/normal), Lines etc. E.g Override Background colour to grey in total column.

    (Be careful while overriding background colour as it will mask the invalid and data entry intersections, thus making it difficult to identify a wrong POV or data entry point.) 

  5. Override also helps in a very interesting functionality of inserting text in a particular cell and then retrieving it in a different form.

     

    Eg. If we want to enter date in the 1st column for the data in subsequent columns. Using Override(1,1,CellText:[Default]) in a Form will allow to enter text instead of values at the POV applicable to cell. The same data can be made visible in another Form using override Override(1,1,CellText:[Default],Readonly).

To view the data in another Form ensure that the POV of the display cell is same as the POV where the text is entered. Also ensure this cell is marked as 'ReadOnly' in the display Form to avoid and accidental change to the text from the display Form.

Some interesting finding:

  • Override does not allow @cur(-1) or so on, for year or period dimension. So, make the dimension a row or column member so you don't have to override.

  • Scale does not work on accounts type "Balance". Convert the account to Asset/Liability account.

  • Custom header Description cannot have "," else will be treated as a code/specification and anything after "," will not appear in the header.

  • In case multiple Dimensions are defined at column/Row level, order of 1st column/row is applicable to following columns/rows.

  • If you put ";" after style: in a row definition, then the background colour as defined in the column definition is used if not then back ground colour definition of row is used.

  • Some RGB values for colour definition:

    • RGB(180,205,180) - green

    • RGB(255,255,255) - White

    • RGB(251,251,251) - Grey

Food for thought

When some text is entered at a child level and we want to display the same in consolidated report how can we do it? What will be the challenges and how do we address those?

In these days where blogs are being written about very complex subjects, I hope I am able to create some excitement in your mind about something as mundane as HFM Forms. I look forward to bring some more such blogs. Until then Keep Consolidating!!! J .

July 21, 2017

Run Oracle Hyperion Cloud Jobs on Autopilot!!! Using EPMAutomate

 

What is EPMAutomate?

EPMAutomate is an utility helps in automating administrator's activities by allowing remote access and perform tasks within Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud instances. EPM Cloud includes EPBCS (Oracle Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud), PBCS (Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud), PCMCS (Oracle Profitability and Cost Management Cloud), FCCS (Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud), ARC (Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud), TRCS (Oracle Tax Reporting Cloud), and EPRCS (Oracle Enterprise Performance Reporting Cloud).

Why it is required?

As in On-premise Hyperion world, ex. we have Maxl editor or ESSCMD editor for carrying out administrator activity using Maxl scripts / ESSCMD scripts for Hyperion Essbase module. But in Hyperion cloud world, these editors are not available due to which an alternate way of administering cloud modules has been provided by Oracle using EPMAutomate utility. In a similar fashion, many cloud modules are compatible to adopt EPMAutomate utility for carrying out administrator processes.

What EPMAutomate utility can do?

EPM Automate Utility allows Service Administrators in automating most of repetitive tasks which includes below mentioned activities:


How it works?

  • In Windows

Batch script on project server needs to trigger which will contain EPMAutomate commands to do activities in cloud instance and after completing cloud activities, EPMAutomate utility will disconnects from cloud and control will be passed back to batch script.

  • In Linux

Shell script on project server needs to trigger which will contain EPMAutomate commands to do activities in cloud instance and after completing cloud activities, EPMAutomate utility will disconnects from cloud and control will be passed back to Shell script.

    

EPMAutomate scripts as a Reusable Artifacts?

Scripts created for automation could be re-utilized for different Hyperion cloud products. Ex. Backup automation for PBCS application in Windows as well as Linux can be utilized for other modules. Data Load scripts along with Data Management automation can also be re-utilized for different modules of different projects.

Operating System Supports and Limitations:

This utility is compatible with Windows as well Linux/UNIX Operating System and the setup can be downloaded from Simplified Interface

  • EPMAutomate utility works on 64-bit Operating Systems

  • Corporate SSO credentials cannot be used with EPMAutomate utility and end-user profile for using EPMAutomate required to be created in the cloud.

HAS HFM NOT REALLY MOVED TO CLOUD??

Has HFM not moved to cloud?

1.png


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

 

 2.png

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 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