Saturday, June 1, 2019

Archiving FCCS Environment Versions

Hi. It's been a while since I've last posted, but I'm back on track talking about some great changes with the June 2019 update.

First, the product gets a rename to just Financial Consolidation and Close. I'll still use FCCS below, at least for now.

Along with the usual updates, a huge area has been addressed. One of the questions that has repeatedly come up with FCCS is how to archive and access different versions of an application. In HFM, it was simple - just make a copy of the application. As long as you had enough database space, you could make as many copies as you wanted. And some customers did: 2016 year end, 2017 year end, before major acquisition, after major acquisition, etc. So, in FCCS, what can you do?

Up until June, the choice was pretty limited. You save your artifact snapshot (basically the whole environment in a zip file). But, you can't import the snapshot from a year ago as they have to be kept "fresh," meaning you can go back one software version but not further. You could keep the different snapshots and each month load them into test and re-extract them, but that's a big pain, particularly as you start storing more and more snapshots. And if disk space is a worry, then you would have to upload, import, extract, download, and delete; again, more pain. Although in fairness EPM Automate would be helpful here. And all of this would have to happen in coordination with the monthly update cadence, testing for the updates, testing for any development work, etc.

You could always license more environments, but with the 10 user minimum for a three year commitment that would get pricey for the occasional day of use when it's needed.

So, what's changing? There are two changes coming as discussed in the June 2019 update documentation located at: https://www.oracle.com/webfolder/technetwork/tutorials/tutorial/cloud/fccs/releases/Jun/19jun-fccs-wn.htm

The first change is the availability of a script that updates the stored snapshots to the current release. The script will take the stored snapshots and update them to the current software version. The script does the update without having to import and then recreate the snapshot: much more elegant. The script should be run monthly in production after the monthly update. Find the details on this page: https://docs.oracle.com/en/cloud/saas/enterprise-performance-management-common/cepma/sample_script_10_snapsht_library.html

The second change revolves around environment licensing changes. With the licensing change, Oracle is making it easier to get more environments, even with low user counts. Users need the current production environment and last year's ending environment both available at all times? No problem! At a very high level summary, you pay for each user once and then set up FCCS, Planning, Account Reconciliation, etc. There are three licensing levels with some differences. If you have the Standard license level, you basically create as many FCCS applications as you want for an additional fee for each one. If you have the Enterprise license level, there is no additional charge. Go to https://cloud.oracle.com/en_US/epm-cloud for more information. Also see the bottom of this post for a link to Opal Alapat's excellent description.

Beyond archiving, the June update has more fun stuff. Near and dear to me, as I use an Apple computer, is Smart View for Mac! Right now it's forms and ad hoc with functions to come later. There's also a new feature in Data Management to export data directly to a file without creating a custom application.

Also want to say that I hope everyone is going to Kscope19 in Seattle (https://kscope19.odtug.com). Lots of cool presentations going on this year, including yours truly talking about intercompany eliminations and hands on sessions with FCCS and Narrative Reporting (formerly EPRCS).

JUNE 2019 ORACLE EPM UPDATE BLOG HOP:

Continue your educational journey by "hopping" over to the following posts to find out more about specific product updates, as well as gain different partner perspectives on the licensing, naming, and consolidation changes. Thanks to Oracle Ace Director Opal Alapat for setting this up. And if you came to my blog from someone else's blog, thanks for stopping by and hope you come back!

Opal Alapat gives an overview of the June 2019 Oracle EPM Cloud blog hop, as well as details on the product name changes, product consolidations, and new licensing:
https://womaninepm.com/2019/06/04/orclepm-cloud-update-big-june-2019-changes/

Jun Zhang does a comprehensive summary of the June updates by product: https://theepmlab.com/epm-cloud-updates-june-2019-epbcs-fccs-pcmcs-arcs-edmcs-narrative-reporting/

Jay Chapman covers the notable EPRCS (now called Narrative Reporting) June updates: https://functionallytechnical.blog/2019/05/31/new-name-who-dis/

Pete Nitschke discuses the Planning Cloud June updates in more detail: http://essbasedownunder.com/2019/06/pbcs-epbcs-what-is-old-is-new-again/

Kate Helmer summarizes important EDMCS updates:
https://hyperionbarbie.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/19-06-edmcs-update-new-epm-cloud-announcements/

Tony Scalese covers changes to the REST API and EPM Automate:
http://www.fdmeeguru.com/1906-rest-api-epm-automate-changes/




























Friday, February 22, 2019

FCCS - March 2019 Update and New User Interface

Two topics today. The 19.03 update contains nothing new, just bug fixes for existing issues. The list of issues addressed is available on support at https://support.oracle.com/epmos/faces/DocumentDisplay?id=2055579.1 (Oracle login required).

The release notes also mention that starting with 19.05, a new user interface will be introduced. "Sky Blue" includes various improvements and is more consistent with other Oracle cloud applications. New customers will get Sky Blue and existing customers will keep their existing theme, but it can be switched. Here's a preview video: Preview EPM Cloud's New Look and Feel











Friday, January 18, 2019

FCCS - Converting HFM Financial Reports to FCCS

Oracle just released a tool to migrate on-premise Financial Reporting reports for HFM to Financial Reporting reports for FCCS. The tool maps the dimensions, preserves the report formatting and layouts, can convert reports in bulk, and provides ready to use reports. The utility can be enhanced via Python scripting.

Here is the link to the Oracle Cloud Marketplace for the tool:

https://cloudmarketplace.oracle.com/marketplace/en_US/listing/50393071

Looking forward to trying it out!




Tuesday, October 16, 2018

FCCS - Blocks

Those who are coming to FCCS from Essbase or Planning know all about blocks. But for those coming from HFM or Enterprise or MicroControl, blocks are a new concept.

BRIEFLY, blocks are how data is stored in FCCS. A block is a combination of any stored sparse and dense member. Each combination of stored sparse dimensions is a separate block. But all members in a dense dimension is stored in one block. In FCCS, the Account dimension is the only dense dimension, so all accounts are in the block for a given combination of sparse dimensions.

Blocks get automatically created when loading data but not with calculations. You write a perfect calc, deploy, consolidate, and get no result. It looks like the calc either didn't run or didn't work. What actually happened is the calc worked but since there was no block there was no place to store the result.

So, what to do? On the rule insertion points, there is an option to enable automatic block creation.



On the bottom right of the above screenshot, you'll see an option to auto create blocks. Clicking No will change it to Yes with the following warning.


So now when you consolidate, the calc will run as before but now there will be a place to store the data.

There are other ways to create blocks, but this is the simplest (other than loading data).





Tuesday, September 25, 2018

FCCS - Housekeeping Tasks

As more and more customers migrate to or license and implement Oracle FCCS, people are asking what they need to do with regard to housekeeping or care and feeding of the application. There are several tasks that should be done to keep FCCS in good shape. Nothing is hard, some can be automated, and those not currently "automatable" will be. These are listed below in no particular order.


  1. Validate Metadata - within the metadata manager run the process to validate metadata. Issues occur when metadata settings are not correct and the validation process will tell you what is wrong.
  2. Download application snapshots - the application snapshot should be downloaded for backup purposes. This is easy to automate with EPM Automate.
  3. Download and truncate the audit logs. As the audit logs grow, they utilize space. Every now and then (the frequency will vary from customer to customer) these logs should be downloaded and then truncated.
  4. Clear Empty Blocks - run this business rule to remove empty blocks, as they are using space when they're not needed. Running monthly or weekly is about right.
  5. Dense Restructure - this is like defragmenting the application. The statistics will show you whether needed or not. If the value is close to 1, then running is not needed. If something like 0.001024, then definitely needed. Again, checking weekly is about right.
Doing these things should keep FCCS running quickly and smoothly.





Tuesday, September 4, 2018

HFM - Planning for the upgrade

Everyone should have heard by now, but just in case you haven't. Oracle is planning for the release of HFM (actually, all of the on premise EPM products) version 11.2 in the spring.

As Oracle has stated this will be the last release of HFM that will require a full software installation (to their knowledge, safe harbor statement applies). Other updates after this will be via patch set updates. To do this installation, you cannot (or should not) just update the software on the existing servers. The software will need installing on a clean server, the database copied over and upgraded, interfaces tested, and then consolidation and data verified. A parallel close would be a prudent step.

To plan for this, think about budgeting for the new servers now. Most companies are in the middle of putting together their annual budget for next year, so now is the perfect time to plan this upgrade. Unless some design changes are incorporated at the same time, no consulting help should be needed unless it is to help with the infrastructure setup. If you are on an older version or you're having to do work-arounds to make things work with your current design/setup, then you should think about taking this opportunity to do an "application remodel."

The other option would be to plan a migration to FCCS, Oracle's cloud based consolidation and close solution. In this case you would be budgeting for an operating expense, not a capital expense, and not having to budget for the annual maintenance on the on-premise software. Migrating to FCCS will go much easier with some consulting help, but with the recently released HFM to FCCS migration tool, it goes more smoothly than before.