DRM

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

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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Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management Specialisation

Seismi is pleased to announce that we have achieved the Oracle PartnerNetwork Specialisation in Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management.

To become specialized, our company met stringent, product-specific competency and business requirements. Specialisation offers you confidence that we have the required resources and solution knowledge you need, including:

  • Product-specific Oracle presales, sales, support and Certified Implementation Specialists
  • A proven track record with recent Oracle transactions
  • Successful implementations verified by Oracle

Check out our OPN Profile here.

Learn about OPN Specialisation here.

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Managing Multiple Accounting & Reporting Standards

Many of our multi-national clients have the same challenge – local reporting on one accounting standard (normally local GAAP);  group reporting (normally a flavour of IFRS) on another; as well as specific reporting requirements for regulators in certain verticals.

The difference between accounting standards can be summarised as follows:

  • Differences in report definitions (for example, the balance sheet may be presented in an different order, granularity or definitions); and
  • Differences in accounting policy (say development cost may be expensed under one standard and capitalised under another).

From my experience as an auditor, report definitions should be treated as an integral part of a company’s financial reference data, as they are one of the major reasons for material disclosure errors. Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM) is a dedicated financial metadata management tool that we have implemented successfully at our clients to govern metadata and report definitions.

Historically differences in accounting policies are normally tackled by using adjustment ledgers or separate ledgers. This often introduces a governance problem, in that different subsets of a chart needs to be shared across multiple ledgers, and kept aligned.

Oracle Hyperion DRM is adept at defining these types of business rules and controlling the complete ERP metadata. It is application independent and can therefore integrate with ERP’s from any vendor. We have found it to be a very useful and flexible tool to manage multiple accounting and reporting standards, as well as many other historically challenging scenarios.

 

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Seismi Case Study | Anglo American plc

Firstly apologies that 3 weeks have passed since we last updated our weekly blog.  Like many others Seismi’s team have been taking some well earned leave, as well as meeting other development deadlines.

We wanted to bring to your attention a case study that Oracle has published on their website that highlights an example of a project that we have recently delivered. Our client was Anglo Copper a USD4 billion division of Anglo American plc and the environment was relatively complex with many applications and over 200,000 account codes.

The case study is a good example of the type of project that Seismi team have delivered for their clients. It also provides a good example of the flexibility of Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM) tool and how it can be adapted to meet key business issues.

Not only were Seismi able to allow Anglo Copper to resolve some significant issues within their finance applications architecture but it has also provided their finance team with a robust and flexible platform that will be able to adapt to Anglo Copper’s business as its strategy evolves, including the ability to integrate acquisitions effectively.

In addition we were able to implement the solution over a rapid a 6-month timetable. Seismi are continuing to provide second line support to Anglo Copper’s user base.

You can read the brief case study here and please get in touch if you would like to hear more of the detail.

Also if there any specific topics you would like us to cover then do reach out. 

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The Carrot or the Stick | Governance and Integration

In the UK the FSA’s Code of Corporate Governance and in the US the SOX Act, require companies to ensure that their financial statements are an accurate representation of their underlying transactional and forecasting systems.

In most companies, the flow of data from the diverse ledgers and forecasting systems, through group consolidation and into the financial statements is a highly manual process. It is not possible to certify from a governance or internal-control perspective, so most companies require that the financial controller of each division sign off on their respective data once they have manipulated it into a single repository on a single standard. However, this passing of the corporate buck has no legal effect on the company’s, CEO’s or CFO’s responsibility! In our experience , it is also a very unreliable and inefficient method of identifying errors…

The alternative is to integrate a company’s diverse ledgers, forecasting, consolidation and reporting systems. One option to achieve this is to convert all of your systems to the same chart and platform. However, Seismi’s preferred route in the right instance, such as when the principle aim is to standardise business reporting, is to: understand and define the business rules to align the reference data across these multiple standards; centralise and govern this masterdata; and finally distribute the refined masterdata to the relevant systems and applications thereby creating the necessary standard reporting. The benefits of this method of standardisation extend way beyond avoiding the legislative stick.

Imagine your organisation where someone from head office can drill through the group financial statements to the divisional data balance, and then to a specific transaction, to understand who and why an accrual was raised, without the normal month-end ‘please explain..’. Converting bean counters into bean farmers, well almost…

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Oracle Hyperion DRM Tips & Tricks | Quicker Navigation

A quick one this week we just thought we should share a small Oracle Hyperion DRM (Data Relationship Manager) feature that can be helpful and most importantly save time and raise your productivity.

Whenever you are working within a tab, you can right-click on the tab bar and see the different sections of the Home menu. This allows you to navigate directly from one module of Oracle Hyperion DRM to another, rather than having to click on Home then the name of the module you want. In the long run, this sav

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es not just time but also frustration…

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Success Case (Financial Services) | ICAP plc

With the team having returned from a well-earned break, we thought it was time to share another success case with you. The client is ICAP, a leading markets operator and provider of post trade risk and information services. With a local footprint in 32 countries, more than 70 locations worldwide and an average daily transaction volume of US$1.3 trillion, ICAP can truly be considered a global company.

ICAP recognised that they needed a strategic approach to masterdata to underpin a comprehensive Financial Transformation Programme. They looked to us to “improve ICAP’s approach to masterdata governance, help improve the end-to-end visibility of data and help improve our ability to automate interfaces.”

We are glad to announce that ICAP have realised the benefits of a strategic approach to masterdata and this is evidenced by the following case study – ICAP Case Study.pdf.

If you would like to find out more about what we did and how we did it, then please do not hesitate to get in contact.

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Oracle Hyperion DRM Technical Issue | Integration with EBS

Hi everyone!

We just stumbled upon an interesting change in the latest version (11.1.2.3) of Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM). For performance reasons,
Oracle has decided to limit the number of tables Oracle Hyperion DRM can detect when you define an external connection to 2000.

This is usually not a problem. However, if you follow the DRM Oracle General Ledger Integration Guide you’ll see that you ‘must’ use the APPS schema to integrate DRM to E-Business Suite (EBS). This schema usually has more than 2000 tables associated. This means there is a risk that the two target tables used by DRM (GL_DRM_SEGVALUES_INTERFACE and GL_DRM_HIERARCHY_INTERFACE) will be missing from the list of tables for the external connection.

Despite what the integration guide says, however, you can in fact define a different database user with write access to just these two tables and gain access to them that way.

Note that Oracle has logged an enhancement request to remove this restriction, so future releases may not come with this limitation. We experienced this with DRM 11.1.2.3.303.

We hope this is useful.

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Oracle Hyperion DRM Tips & Tricks | Clearing a Property Value

If you ever need to clear all values of a defined property within a hierarchy (prior to blending in a completely fresh set of property values, say), it can be done in a few brief steps.

Firstly select the top node of the hierarchy and choose the tab the property is on. If the top node does not normally show this property, you will have to select Show All Properties on the property viewer. Only administrators can do this but then again, only administrators should be doing this.

Next, right-click on the property label and choose Clear All Below, followed by Save. This removes all explicitly defined values from each node below the selected node. (This is a useful little option in itself.)

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Finally, right-click on the property label and choose Remove Value, then Save. This removes the property value from the top node.

There are action script equivalents of these two commands, so if you have a whole set of properties to clear an action script is probably the way to go:

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