Blog


ICAP Gains Robust Control Over Financial Master Data with Oracle Enterprise Data Governance Solution

Seismi are excited to share a recent press release announced by Oracle about our successful implementation of Oracle Data Relationship Management (DRM) and Oracle Data Relationship Governance (DRG) at ICAP. Oracle confirms that the ICAP implementation of DRG is the first in the United Kingdom.

You can find the press release here.

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Seismi @ UKOUG Hyperion 2015

Seismi is delighted to announce we will be exhibiting and presenting at the premier Hyperion event of the year, the UKOUG Hyperion 2015 conference.

The event will take place on 18th June at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, London Kensington.

This event, focussed on the Hyperion community, has a full day agenda including a keynote address from Rich Wilkie, 15 informative sessions, workshops run by Keyteach and much more.

For registration details and to see the full agenda, please see the UKOUG website.

Seismi will be at Stand 1 in the Exhibition hall, and would welcome the opportunity to meet you, and tell you more about our recent success cases and solutions we have developed for the Hyperion community.

UKOUG Hyperion 2015

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Seismi presenting at 10th annual MDM Summit – London 2015

Come and join Seismi at the Master Data Management Summit, Europe’s premier event dedicated specifically to MDM, CDI and Data Governance, on the 19th and 20th May. James Gordon will be speaking on Wednesday, 20 May (16:35–17:20) about how De Beers Group of Companies have used effective Financial Master Data Management to help them mitigate key risks that they had around financial process and control. James will be explain how their implementation of Oracle DRM has improved Data Transparency whilst also simplifying and standardising their approach to mapping between financial applications. James will be co-presenting with Doug Cosby, Oracle VP of MDM Development.

James will also be sitting on an experts panel analysing the Best Practises in MDM of Reference Data (Tuesday, 19 May, 16:40–17:25).

Seismi will be at the Oracle exhibition ​stand if you ​would like to explore details of our customer case studies or would like to discuss how we can help with implementing Financial master data management and governance solutions for your organisation.

For further details on the MDM Summit and how to register please click on the following link.

http://www.irmuk.co.uk/mdm2015/

We look forward to seeing you there.

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Oracle 'Office of Financial Solutions' Live Webcast - Unleashing the Power of Financial Master Data Governance

Join us for a live webcast on Thursday May 21 as we examine the critical area of financial data governance and how a controlled and organised approach to financial master data will improve the quality and subsequently the confidence in the numbers an organisation reports. James Gordon, Managing Director at Seismi will share recommendations on how to approach financial master data implementations: explaining when and how to initiate your project and help you understand the balance of reward vs risks with these decisions. Finally he will examine some common pitfalls associated with financial master data governance.

Please click here for further details and to register to attend the webinar.

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Top Gun 2015 - Rewind

topgun-logo-218Wondering what the Infratects Top Gun conference was all about?

Quentin Vermolen from Seismi was delighted to get the chance to attend the 4th annual Top Gun event, held at the Hilton Hotel in Canary Wharf, on the 13th and 14th March 2015. The UK Hyperion community was fortunate that the premier event was held in London this year. The keynote speakers at the event were none other than Kash Mohammadi & Rajesh Bhatia, VPs of EPM Product Development at Oracle.

What’s the idea behind Top Gun?

The principle reason for this conference is to provide EPM consultants and support staff with an event tailored for them that focuses on sharing experience and knowledge around the design, setup, installation, configuration, management and support of Oracle EPM Environments, without any sales or marketing content. The added benefit was the opportunity for attendees to get to meet each other, catch-up and share experiences, something that does not happen often enough.

Seismi’s Strategic Partner

Infratects is a global IT consultancy firm specialising in Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) infrastructure design, implementation, hosting and managed services. They serve over 250 international clients annually with offices in the Netherlands, the UK, Finland, Spain, Australia and the US.

We recommend taking a look through the fantastic presentations available for download, by clicking here, and invite you to watch a short video featuring the event and interviews with the attendees, by clicking here.

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Seismi Sponsor Oracle DRM SIG

Event date: 24th March 2015Seismi Clients_Blog_Sidebar_DeBeers
Event Location: Oracle City Office, One South Place, London EC2M 2RB

We are pleased to announce our continued support for the Oracle DRM Special Interest Group (SIG).

Oracle is hosting the event and Seismi will be presenting a customer use case. The De Beers Group of Companies is in the process of implementing Oracle DRM and FDM to optimise the relationship between their extensive collection of general ledgers and their consolidation tool, HFM. They will be sharing their story to date, outlining their use case, their solution and the benefits they are expecting the solution to bring. They will also highlight any pitfalls and lessons learnt from their project.

For further information on, and to register for the event, please click here.

Spaces are limited so please register as soon as possible to join us.

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DRM and DRG 11.1.2.4 update - Batch load from file to requests

Good news. In our first post about Oracle Data Relationship Management and Oracle Data Relationship Governance 11.1.2.4, we mentioned that the new feature that enables users to load request items from a file was not available from the batch client. After publication Oracle contacted us to inform us that it was possible. The parameters allowing us to do so had only been omitted in the user guide.

After this update we obviously had to give it a try! It runs exactly as we hoped. This functionality now allows us to configure an integration that will generate new requests if an upstream system. There are many cases in which this functionality can make your master data processes more robust and intuitive!

If you want any more information, feel free to contact us.

First look at HFM 11.1.2.4

HFM Exalytics imageHyperion Financial Management

Lighter, Faster, Simpler & Portable

 

 

 

 

There has been much anticipation and speculation about this delayed platform release v11.1.2.4. Particularly so from the HFM community as Oracle had indicated major revisions to the HFM ‘engine’, and to set HFM free from it’s Windows shackle’s to be platform independent.

Which surely means that this release would be the most significant update to HFM delivered by Oracle since the ‘unlimited’ (won’t get into the theoretical design debate here) custom dimensions feature released in 11.1.2.2.

Since the release a couple of weeks ago there has been some good technical blogs (John G covered the first look at installing the new release and the intricacies of installing on Windows 2012 Server, see: More to life than this…).
However there is no real detail out there on what has happened ‘under the bonnet’ for HFM.

So let’s start with the highlights and take a look at the new engine and some stat’s.

Firstly, there is HFM’s new simplified architecture (freshly ported to Java). The objective of reworking the HFM application server components in Java, means there is no longer reliance on Windows technologies like IIS and DCOM.

Which for the first time in its existence means HFM is now “platform independent”. Although for customers the choice for the moment is only between Windows servers or Oracle’s own super hardware – Exalytics. Commodity Linux is not yet supported…

While the developers were tinkering around with the ‘HFM engine’ they did the following:

  • fitted an optimised central data query engine – improving data retrieval used by the web UI, SmartView and Financial Reporting;
  • replaced the database ADO driver with an ODBC driver to improve database interaction, claimed better performance with Oracle RDBMS;
  • fitted new ‘multi-core scaling’ wizardly that ensures during consolidation up the entity hierarchy the system will use all of the hardware cores available;
  • fitted ‘SmartHeap’ technology to improve memory allocation and reduce thrashing of heap;
  • redesigned the ‘CalcStatus’ code, to store only used currencies, thereby reducing unnecessary storage of data and improving metadata / data loads;
  • replaced ‘Web-services’ with ‘Thrift’, claimed to optimise the transfer of objects between C++ server and Java based web tier.

Some interesting statistics from Oracle product development is the following optimisations the developers managed to do compared to v11.1.2.1 code line:

  • reduced number of file in HFM by 45%
  • reduced libraries by 88%
  • reduced total installed files by 94%

Diagram of HFM’s technology stack transition:

HFM Architecture 11.1.2.4

 

Much like a Moto GP race machine, the developers have managed to make the ‘engine’ lighter, simpler, and more efficient. The result in testing by Oracle in the lab’s using real client applications is claimed performance improvements of 2-5x times faster on the same hardware.

The performance claims alone are quite impressive for just an upgrade (no application optimisation), and exciting what can be achieved by moving HFM to an Exalytics box for the larger HFM clients.

The consolidation times comparison provided by Oracle is:

11.1.2.3 (Windows) 11.1.2.4 (Windows) 11.1.2.4 (Exalytics X4)
60 min 23 min 13 min

 

What is supported by what version is in Oracle’s Compatibility Matrix, which is usually not the easiest to navigate if you just need to know if SmartView works with the latest MS Office.

So it’s useful to know that the 11.1.2.4 release now supports:

  • Browsers: Internet Explorer 9, 10, 11 and Firefox 31 ESR
  • Office 2013
  • Desktop: Windows 7, 8 & 8.1

 

Like any other dot zero release, there is going to be some quirks, and some undocumented features when we get into implementing. However in this kind of scenario, skilled HFM consultants thrive, pushing design to make the best use of the new features, but at the same time also understanding the limitations.

In the next blog I will take a look at some the new usability features in this release, and new utilities provided. Some of the new features are stated to only be included in certain patch releases (PSU’s), so will examine the roadmap provided by Oracle to understand what will be available when.

Watch this space…

 

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Seismi sponsor Hyperion SIG

ukoug

Event date: 25 February 2015

We are delighted to be supporting the UK Hyperion community by proudly sponsoring the UK Oracle User Group (UKOUG) Hyperion Special Interest Group (SIG) on the 25 February 2015.

This is the first of two Hyperion focused events taking place this year organised by the UKOUG, an independent, not for profit membership organisation.

James Gordon, our Managing Director, will be presenting on a topic which is fundamental to our approach to delivering integrated financial applications: Unleashing the Power of Financial Master Data Governance. This presentation examines the critical area of financial master data governance and how a controlled approach to financial master data improves the quality and confidence in the numbers an organisation reports. We explore the benefits of effective Financial Master Data Governance and contrast these against the risks associated with allowing financial applications to move independently of one another.

We hope to see many of our clients and members of the community at the SIG. James will be available throughout the day and at the drinks social to answer any questions you may have. Feel free to discuss our complementary review of your financial master data management processes if you manage to corner him!

Details of the event can be found here.

DRM and DRG - 11.1.2.4

As you probably know by now, Oracle have released DRM 11.1.2.4. The first thing that strikes me is that this new version comes with a new look. The buttons and elements are in the same place but the colours and theme have been updated to give it a new, clean look. The next thing we noticed is that overall performance seemed better. Oracle have implemented a new improved architecture optimized for multi-processor deployments on 64-bit hardware. The trade-off is that this new version is no longer compatible with Windows 32 bit operating systems. Applications now use a single engine and server to reduce the overhead linked with the multi-engine architecture of previous versions. The result is an application capable of handling much more concurrent processes with less hardware.

The new features delivered in this new version can be divided between DRM and DRG.

DRM New Features

To start, we had a look at the new hierarchy group exports feature. In DRM you can now define exports that will run on all the hierarchies within a specific group. These exports will always run from the top node of all the different hierarchies. You cannot select a specific branch as you can in normal exports. This can be remediated through the effective use of filters. This new feature can be very useful for companies who are governing their chart in E-Business Suite or Fusion from DRM as it will make it a lot simpler to define which hierarchies should be published to the value sets.

The second feature worth noting is that DRM imports now support reverse lookups. This means you can take advantage of lookups tables you have defined. The goal here is to have one single point where you can define the relation between a system attribute and it’s meaning for the users. So for example, Account Types are stored in E-Business Suite as single characters (“A”, “L”, “E”, “R”…). In DRM you can have a user friendly property for the account type (“Asset”, “Liability”, “Expense”, “Revenue”…) and a lookup property to transform that to the E-Business Suite format. Thanks to these reverse lookups, you can import the chart of accounts from E-Business Suite with the single character and the reverse lookup will automatically understand that “A” means that your user defined account property should be set to “Asset”. This feature may not seem like a major breakthrough but it is down to the core goal of Master Data Management, centralising definitions in a single location.

Other noteworthy new features include substitution parameters in imports and exports to use runtime parameters, dynamic columns in exports to add columns without creating new properties, imports with no sections to ease the integration with upstream systems and the ability to set node types and validations assigned to an imported hierarchy within the import definition. These will all make the integration simpler to create and manage.

DRG New Features

Just as the general DRM interface, DRG requests have changed look. Requests now contain different tabs to view items, comments, attachments, participant’s details and activity. Information is easier to access and yes, you can now attach documents to a request! DRG now also supports custom labels and property instructions so you can adapt the label of a property to the specific workflow and add instructions for that property. These small changes go a long way in making requests clearer for all the different stakeholders. Another important new feature is the separation of duties option that enables workflows to enforce that an approver cannot have participated in any previous stage of the request. This is a good simple way to force that every request is reviewed by at least two pairs of eyes!

The main new feature that many of us working with DRG have been waiting for is also included in this release: conditional stages. When building a workflow, you can now assign conditions to the execution of a stage. The condition can be based on properties or the result of validations and you can also chose to apply the stage to the full request if at least one item meets the condition or to split the request and apply the stage only to the relevant items. This new feature does exactly what it needs to.

The next feature we tested is the request from file option. This allows users to create a request with multiple items from a file. The theory here is that a user can prepare a large request in a spreadsheet, save it in the correct format and load it into a request. DRG requires that similar commands are grouped into independent files. These files can then be loaded and combined into one request. In practice this feature was a little disappointing; it does not look like you can automate this load into the DRG queue. As a result a third party system can generate a load file but cannot automatically submit the identified changes into the DRG process for onward processing. Hopefully this limitation will be addressed soon.

Note – After publication of this post, we were contacted by Oracle to let us know that it is possible to trigger the load of a file containing items of a DRG request from a batch file. The batch parameters required to do so were just missing from the documentation. This is great news as it means we will be able to automatically import master data from a third party system then trigger a set of requests to ensure that master data is enriched as required. Users will simply arrive in the morning and find the required actions waiting in their inbox. We will be testing and posting a review of that feature soon.

Finally, one point worth noting is that DRG is going mobile. This release is compatible with the Oracle EPM app which allows users to review and action DRG requests in their inbox directly from their tablet or smartphone. This same app can also allow you to interact with Hyperion Financial Management, Planning, Tax Provision and Financial Close Management. Obviously, access through a smartphone or tablet will depend on each company’s security policy and we would always recommend ensuring that these clients have the appropriate protection before allowing them to interact with core financial applications. However, provided this is done, this shows how Oracle is adapting to the new ways we work and interact.

As a conclusion, this may not be a ground-breaking release like 11.1.2.3 when Oracle introduced the new DRG workflow and JavaScript derived properties and validations. It feels more like a natural evolution of 11.1.2.3 into a finer tuned version. The improved architecture, the new clearer layout of information in DRG requests and the new conditional workflow stages are reason enough to look at adopting 11.1.2.4.

 

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