EPM

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 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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Preserving the Audit Trail in Oracle Hyperion FDM

Given our focus on masterdata and integration we get to understand how a wide range of clients solve the problem of transforming data between their general ledger, consolidation, reporting and forecasting systems. These domains have very different business requirements which are often reflected in different structures and levels of detail. Inevitably some form of mapping process is required. So far so good; there are many solutions to govern the mapping between financial applications.  If you use the Oracle Hyperion product for your EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) layer, there is a high chance you will be using Oracle Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management (FDM) for an element of this mapping.

FDM is a great tool when used correctly. It acts as a gate keeper to other Hyperion applications ensuring that all data is mapped and validated according to pre-defined business rules or “validations”.  This audit trail is invaluable and needs to be retained at all costs.

There are, however, two areas of FDM functionality where this audit trail can be jeopardised.  Firstly, FDM contains the ability to run “import” scripts.  These scripts can modify the content and structure of the initial import files.  If they are not used correctly they can create a “disconnect” between the source application and FDM.  Changes of this nature can become very difficult to trace and thereby undermine the comprehensive audit trail provided by FDM. Secondly, FDM also provides the flexibility to create new financial totals based on rules contained in the application.  These rules, or “Logic Groups”, can be difficult to understand and are not traced in the audit trail.  Whilst powerful, they should be used with caution and not without a full understanding of their limitations.

There is one final area of FDM that needs careful consideration.  It is imperative that you perform regular housekeeping on your mapping tables.  A key advantage of FDM is the flexibility offered by the mapping tables.  Your approach to mapping will change over time and it is very important that you delete mappings that are no longer used. If you do not, your mapping approach will become increasingly difficult to understand over time.

A final word: when implementing any form of ETL (Extract Transfer Load) process it is imperative that your implementation partner demonstrates that the audit trail is complete and easy to use.  We suggest that your test strategy always includes tests that trace values from target application to the original source.  Until next time….

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Highlights from the recently released new version of DRM

As we reported in a recent blog Oracle released the new version of the EPM suite on April 11th 2012. This new EPM 11.1.2.2 includes a new version of the Hyperion Data Relationship Management (DRM). With the team busy on client projects we have only just managed to understand what some of the important new features included in the release are:

  • Localisation of the interface to some non-English languages;
  • Version backup and restore capabilities;
  • Hyperlink Enabled Properties; and
  • Navigation to Hierarchy and Node via URL.

The complete list is available here. We plan to install and review the new version in the not too distant future so watch this space for a more detailed and considered update.

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Oracle updates and enhances EPM System Release 11.1.2.2

A brief blog this week given the Easter holidays.

Great news that Oracle has just announced the formal release of a DRM template for EBS which we reviewed last August.

This template provides out of the box integration to Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and will reduce the implementation costs of implementing Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM) to control your chart of accounts.

We’ll be back next week with hopefully a case study on a recent DRM implementation.

 

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Breaking the Master-Slave relationship

Large organisations typically have multiple masterdata silos, each containing core business hierarchies.  Each silo addresses an individual business need and tends to be controlled by separate individuals within the organisation. For example, there will be separate teams responsible for the general ledger, budgeting systems, reporting systems and consolidation systems. Indeed the challenge is often greater than this, with different divisions of the organisation maintaining completely independent Chart of Accounts (CoA).

The relationship between these applications and teams is often hierarchical, with those higher in the organisation forcing change to those lower down. This can be termed a master-slave relationship and results in significant problems for any organisation. Changes to the master system drives reactive change to slave systems and changes to the slave systems jeopardises the integrity of the numbers reported. The result is a manual and inefficient process with all changes requiring significant testing prior to implementation.

Organisations can solve this problem in a number of ways.  The larger service providers  would advocate a change and conversion program to the underlying ERP and EPM solutions.  This approach is often unwieldy, lengthy and requires significant change management.  More importantly it is incredibly costly.  If the main objective of your organisation is to standardise financial reporting, not to align business processes and technology, then a far more effective and cheaper approach is to implement a governance and change management process that aligns reference data between the various silos.  These governance solutions enforce business rules, run pre-emptive checks against related data and will highlight the impact of a change on all systems.

Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM) is a very powerful masterdata management tool that can be used for this purpose and Oracle Hyperion DRM allows organisation to centralise and standardise their masterdata into a single location.

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Hyperion DRM enables robust governance and reporting

This week we thought we would share a brief video that shows a recent implementation where Seismi managed to use Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM) to create a Finance Hub for a large corporate client. This enabled the client to achieve the following:

  • govern a general ledger containing disparate charts of accounts;
  • model a standard set of reporting structures covering both financial and non-financial information;
  • control the mapping between the general ledger, a standard view of the business, as well as consistent reports definitions for all business units; and
  • create a set of standard reports that could be delivered to SAP Business Objects and Oracle’s Essbase (or any other reporting tool for that matter!).

The benefits of this approach were wide-ranging and included the following:

  • Control of the core general ledger and reporting structures was placed in the hands of the business users;
  • Business rules were deployed to ensure that these users proactively considered the impact of general ledger changes on core financial reports at the point of entry;
  • Reconciliation between applications has been removed as Hyperion DRM enforces the necessary mappings; and
  • Month-end processing time has been significantly reduced because users have confidence in the figures being reported.

This project delivered a truly robust approach to governance and reporting by integrating the general ledger with the client’s Enterprise Performance Management requirements.

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The NEW DRM console | Quicker and Cheaper

Some months have passed since the release of DRM v11.1.2.1, the second version of the new web based DRM. For those who know the client based DRM (versions 11.1.1.3 and previous versions), the change is quite important. The two interfaces have been completely rebuilt to include new functionality. So what has changed?

First, the DRM management console is still there. As always, it allows you to control the status of your DRM services and also to configure all your server settings. The first important modification is that you can now have multiple applications running on the same server. So you could have your Development application and your QA application running on the same server. Applications can be turned on and off independently and can be configured independently.

In this example, I only have one application called DEMODRIVE-1. This application is running on my DEMODRIVE machine as shown in the Applications tree. In this case, I am running all the layers of DRM on one machine. But this new interface allows you quickly, by selecting the application and the Host Machines tab to set up your architecture using more than one machine. Additionally, the console will allow me to see the usual logs and application statuses for each application.

When you install your server, you will see that the installation wizard no longer asks you to configure the database. The team had the very good idea to move the database creation wizard from the installation process into the Management Console.

This makes it a lot easier to create new applications and it includes a wizard to upgrade the database of an older DRM version into a database compatible with this version. The same wizard also allows you to make new copies of any existing DRM database. So you can quicky create a new copy from your production database for development purposes.

So this new management console makes the administration of DRM easier by making a lot of the settings visible but in my opinion, this new version will make the development and QA processes a lot quicker and cheaper.

 

 

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Hyperion DRM: The first step to a successful EPM Solution

Sesimi were recently invited by Oracle to present to Oracle’s UK EPM sales team with the aim of helping Oracle understand why, from a services perspective, Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM) is a fundamental component when delivering a strategic EPM solution to complex organisations.

To demonstrate this point of view we used a recent case study of a Oracle Hyperion DRM solution that Seismi had delivered. This solution, termed a “finance hub”, was the FIRST step in a comprehensive remodelling of Seismi’s client’s EPM strategy.  It provided Seismi’s client with governance over a complex general ledger, stored standard reporting structures and mappings between various core financial applications and enforced key business rules to ensure masterdata conformed to the agreed standards.

In summary we see the key benefits of using this approach as follows:

  • Definitions – defining and centralising the core reporting standards and mappings in Oracle Hyperion DRM early in an EPM initiative reduces costs. The standard definitions stored in DRM can be published to any downstream application, in a wide variety of formats, thereby reducing analysis and development time;
  • Standards – using a single standard, stored in a single technology enforces standardisation across any number of reporting applications;
  • Change Management – Oracle Hyperion DRM is a very powerful change management tool.  It is not only very flexible but also importantly scalable and as a result can evolve with your strategy; and
  • Governance – it places control of core master data definitions into the hands of business users, as well as auditing every change that is made. This improves confidence in reports and places control of reports definitions directly in the hands of the users of the implementation, thereby removing the need for specialist technical support.

 

Seismi feel these core benefits provide a compelling rational and business case to using Oracle Hyperion DRM as a principal component, in effect the backbone, in any EPM deployment.

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