Masterdata

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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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 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.)

131211_Seismi Blog_Clear Property Value in Oracle DRM

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:

131211_Seismi Blog_Clear Property Value in Oracle DRM_2

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Estimating the Costs of implementing Oracle Hyperion DRM

Estimating the cost of an Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Manager (DRM) implementation can be difficult. This blog will highlight the areas and risks you should consider.

When developing the business case for the costs can broadly be separated into 3 distinct areas:

  1. Software and licensing costs;
  2. Hardware costs; and
  3. Implementation costs.

The first of these can be difficult to understand as you need to have some indication of how many nodes will be required for you solution.  This information is not often available until after implementation as the agreed design will affect the number of nodes required.

The second, hardware costs, can be identified relatively easily using the software vendor’s prior experience.

The main issue comes with estimating implementation costs.  At the point at which the decision is being taken to purchase the relevant software, it is unlikely that you have expertise already on the site. You therefore have a few options available. In some instances we have seen organisations ask for an estimate from the software vendor.  This can be a huge mistake for two reasons. The software provider is unlikely to have a detailed understanding of your requirements and in addition they are conflicted as they are trying to sell you the software.  They have a vested interested in trying to minimise the estimate to ensure you buy the software.

Alternatively, you may be tempted to use a formula to try and determine the final implementation costs. This approach is fine as long as the formula used is not arbitrary, and is based on a good understanding of both the requirements and the technology.

In our opinion, the best method of understanding the implementation costs is to approach an independent organisation that has demonstrable experience of implementing the same software in a similar environment.  Most consulting organisations should be willing to give you guidance for free to help you understand expected costs.  In some instances, this may require more analysis time to understand the requirement, but surely a minimal cost upfront, to avoid a huge under, or over, estimation is a necessary investment?

If you need any help understanding the potential implementation costs of Oracle Hyperion DRM can help your organisation please do not hesitate to contact us.

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The Value of Managing Your Data Effectively

We recently came across a very good presentation that described concisely, in business terms, why a strategic approach to data and masterdata management is a must for any serious organisation.

I highly recommend that anyone who is struggling to understand the benefits of these critical areas, or needs a reminder, to take a few minutes out of their day to view the slides below:
 

 
Do you agree or are there other areas we all should also be considering….?

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Issue with remove level validations in Oracle Hyperion DRM

We recently encountered a small problem with the “remove validations” functionality in Oracle Hyperion DRM (Data Relationship Manager). As the screenshot below shows, we had set up a validation to prevent the deletion of certain nodes.

This is an important issue as most finance applications need to be assured that no nodes can be deleted to ensure no historical data is deleted. Disappointingly, when we assigned this validation to a hierarchy, it was ignored.

This problem affects release 11.1.2.1 of Oracle Hyperion DRM and is fixed in the latest release (11.1.2.2.300). Fortunately, for clients still on the earlier release, Oracle has provided a workaround. As the screenshot below shows this is simply to define the validation as both real time and batch:

Once assigned to a hierarchy as both a real time and batch validation, it successfully prevented nodes from being deleted.   This is only a small bug, but it could have had a wide impact.  We hope you have found this useful and we’ll be back next week!

 

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Positive or Negative | which way to turn?

In a recent meeting I was asked whether there is a standard approach to signage in reporting. I think we can all agree this is a big question.  “Reporting” covers a wide range of purposes and platforms.  Did the client mean management, statutory or transactional?  Were they looking at the consolidation tool, budgeting and forecasting or analytical?  The implications of the decision are wide ranging for the usability of your financial applications, and therefore it needs significant thought.

However, it is a common question. There is no standard! With my consulting hat on, the solution is clear: an organisation needs to adopt a single reporting standard which addresses its management, financial and transactional reporting purposes. What that standard is, from my selfish point of view, is immaterial! I have included an example of signage standards, but this is by no means the only approach.

In my past life as a management accountant, I spent many a late night during month-end trying to reconcile reports across Oracle Hyperion Essbase, HFM (Hyperion Financial Management and Oracle E-Business suite (EBS).  Were the numbers I was seeing correctly sign-flipped?  As each application was using its own approach to sign-flipping, how could I be sure that the rules had not fallen out of alignment?

Then I discovered masterdata governance. I found that by centralising all our financial masterdata (including our report definitions) into a single location we could create a single definition of our core financial constructs, including a single definition of the signage rules. These rules were then published for use in all our financial reporting applications, thereby ensuring that they were using the standard definition. Once implemented, I spent less time reconciling and more time analysing, a benefit that I think all my fellow accountants and the business would see as a “positive”! Smile

Until next week.

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Cash Flow design | where is the elephant?

This week I have been working on a driven or calculated cash flow design. As is the common pattern in my experience, the requirement was initially expressed as a need for a consolidation tool, Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM). When digging into the requirement, I asked whether this report definition needed to be shared with their relational reporting tool, OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition) looking at Oracle E-business Suite (EBS) and their analytical reporting tool, Essbase? Would the cash flow report not be a valuable operational and analytical tool, rather than just a retrospective month-end report? Everyone agreed it would be, but this is when I noticed the elephant in the room. Everyone agreed that the cash flow could be calculated, but had assumed that the ledger did not have sufficient detail to populate the model.

Don’t get me wrong, I have yet to encounter a client that can calculate a full cash flow without some manual analysis, however this is the 5%. The other 95% is usually available in the ledger. I think what deters us, is that we are used to mapping to HFM at an account level only. The information that drives cash flow is often only available at sub-ledger and journal type. Using a masterdata management tool allows you to easily map all kinds of information, including sub-ledgers and journal types. If in doubt about the source of data, start by analysing the support for your cash flow journals or calculation …then get ready to look for elephants!

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FTSE 100 Global Financial Services Client, Seismi & Oracle DRM

Some more good news to share!

We have been selected by a FTSE 100 global financial services client to implement Oracle Hyperion DRM (Data Relationship Manager) as the single repository to maintain all financial masterdata. Oracle Hyperion DRM will be responsible for publishing masterdata definitions and mappings to a wide range of applications, including Oracle Hyperion Essbase, HFM (Hyperion Financial Management), FDM (Financial Data Quality Management) and Oracle ERPi (Enterprise Resource Planning Integrator).

Seismi are responsible for delivering the Oracle Hyperion DRM solution, alongside an Oracle Hyperion Essbase reporting environment, which will be built using Oracle Hyperion EPMA (Enterprise Performance Management Architect) and Oracle ERPi.  As always, Oracle Hyperion DRM will provide them with a comprehensive governance solution enabling efficient maintenance of all their core financial masterdata, whilst Essbase will provide an incredibly powerful analytical tool to transform their month-end financial reporting requirements.

The project has already started we look forward to sharing more details and a case study in due course..

Off for another celebration Smile!

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UK's Favourite Retailer selects Seismi and Oracle DRM!

Some good news to share! We have started a comprehensive BI (Business Intelligence) Finance initiative for the UK’s favourite retailer. We have been asked to design a solution to use Oracle Hyperion DRM  (Data Relationship Manager) as the single repository of all the retailer’s financial masterdata.  Oracle Hyperion DRM will provide them with a comprehensive governance solution enabling efficient maintenance of all their core financial masterdata.

Oracle Hyperion DRM’s scope will encompass Oracle EBS, ERPi (Enterprise Resource Planning Integrator), FDM (Financial Data Quality Management), HFM, Essbase and OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition) applications and tools.

This represents another great opportunity to show how masterdata management (MDM)  should be a primary consideration at the start of any EPM (Enterprise Performance Management) initiative, not, an afterthought.

We look forward to sharing more over the course of the project. Off to celebrate!

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