Monday, December 22, 2014

Who are you going to call?

When I work with clients new to HFM one of the many questions they ask is "where do I go for help when I need something?" Fortunately, there's a long list of available resources and here's what I tell them.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Consolidate All vs Consolidate All with Data

One of the long running debates about HFM is the advantages of Consolidate All (CA) vs. Consolidate All With Data (CAWD). Some people say it doesn't matter. Some people say you should never, ever do CA. What's the difference, and when would you use one vs. the other? Let's take a look.

Assume we have a little entity hierarchy, with NC and VA rolling into TotCo. Only NC has data. If you do a CAWD on TotCo, NC and TotCo will get calculated; VA will not. If you do a CA on TotCo, then all three get calculated. The difference is whether VA gets calculated, and therein lies the debate: is that okay?

There are multiple things to consider. Once you calculate VA for the given scenario, year, and period, it will never go back to "NO DATA" and will always get included in subsequent consolidations (as HFM now thinks it has data). And you'll also see it getting calculated for the rest of the year. But, if you have rules that pull data from other places into the entity, then you need a CA to get the rules to run. Maybe VA just hasn't gotten it's data loaded yet, but then again maybe it's been an unused entity for years and is there just for the history.

My take on it: if you can avoid using CA, then do so. But, if you need it, then don't shy away from it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

HFM Admin Training Manual Updated

One of the things I do is write and teach some of the Oracle Hyperion courses for 123OLAP. They have admin and end user level training courses on most of the Hyperion products. What's most unique about them compared to most available training options is the courses are written by experienced consultants like me and focus on what students need to know and why, not just what the product does. The facts that the courses are also taught by experienced consultants who can answer basically any question whether it's in the manual or not, the delivery can be onsite, virtual, public or private, and the classes are faster and cheaper than Oracle's are all bonuses.

Lately I've been doing some updates to the HFM Admin Bootcamp manual. I don't know why, but I dread getting into it and making changes but once I do it's really fun for me. After scores of deliveries I'm finally fixing some typos and old product info (remember when the Revenue account type was called Income?). I'm also adding some new content, like the proper use of variables in Calc Manager.

The price stays the same and students get more. What a good deal! For more info go to and contact them with the online form if you need anything.

Monday, August 25, 2014

So I and some other folks were recently asked by Oracle about what would we would do to enhance HFM. Not in the sense of new features, but making the existing features work better; getting rid of nuisances. I sent in several things that have always bothered me. For example, the load data screen should be securable from the end users. If we're using FDM or ODI to load the data, then we don't want end users to have access to that screen; with it, they can overwrite the data coming through FDM and mess up the audit trails, drill back, and provide unbalanced or just plain weird data. Another request was for cell text input in data grids when the grids are not allowed for user input. We don't want users changing data via grids but cell text is okay.

Some suggestions were on the performance side too. In Calculation Manager, when the script is rendered for loading to HFM, each function still specifies the HS object, like HS.Exp, HS.Entity.Member, etc. The improvement here would be to use With HS/End With like we do in Classic script. Note you can do this notation in script objects in the newer versions of Calculation Manager but the code from the other objects doesn't take advantage of this common technique.

I'm glad they're always working to improve HFM and make it better with each release. What would you suggest?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Need more than 9 decimal places on a report?

So this comes from the "why bother but hey, why not" file. A financial report listing the currency exchange rates should look like this (actually, this is a screenshot of the final result).

So, what's so hard about this? In this case, the exchange rates come from the GL and have more than 9 decimal places - in this case, up to 12. Fine, HFM works with it. But, in Financial Reporting, you're limited to 9 decimal places. So, how to build a financial report showing the full resolution like above?

Step 1 - build the report as normal, including showing 9 decimal places

Step 2 - Format the data cell(s) for the rates to scale the data by .001 - this will not be on the dropdown so just type it.

Step 3 - Format the data cell(s) for the rates to show numbers with a period for the thousands separator and nothing for the decimal separator. If a period isn't desired, then use whatever character - the idea is we're going to make this look like a decimal even though it's really thousands.

Step 4 - Use a conditional format on the data cell(s)to check the current cell value. If the value is less than 1, format the positive number prefix to be 0. - see screenshot below. Also keep the other formatting options (9 decimal places, scale by .001).

At this point run the report and you should be all set with the result at the top. In this case I was lucky and the exchange rates only went out 12 places. If they went out more, then the fake decimal would not be where the thousands are. I could add more zeroes to the scaling, but then I'd have the fake decimal in the wrong place or worse, two decimals in my amount. At that point you may be better off with a simple data extract.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Financial Reporting, headers, and < >

Working today and ran into an issue I haven't had before. It's worked fine for years but now doesn't. Or, at least it doesn't in the specific version I'm using today (FRS

Anyway, using Financial Reporting Studio to write a report with the HFM Value dimension in the columns. Heading display was set to labels. Run the report and - voila! - no column headers. I checked everything I could think of - color, suppression, size, font, etc. and nothing would make them show. I did a custom header with <Entity Currency> and had the same problem.

Next, I did a custom header and left off the < and > and this time it worked.

Lesson for today: if something you've done for years stops working, it's probably not you but what you're using.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kscope14 Highlights

One of the more exciting bits of news from KScope14 is the confirmation that HFM - due out "by the end of the year, but subject to change" - will include the ability to run on a Linux server. Most users don't care whether the server is Windows or Linux or whatever, they just want the software to run and run quickly. Oracle said the benchmarking they're doing during development is showing real improvements in speed. Assuming everything works (assets equaling liabilities + equity, etc.) then that will be a definite reason for upgrading. Many customers tend not to upgrade - if it's not broken then don't fix it - but if this upgrade gives everyone more time (think every consolidation, calculation, intercompany matching report, etc. being faster) then an upgrade will definitely be in order. We'll have to see how it looks when it comes out.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

KScope14 - a great conference

Just returning home from KScope14 in Seattle and thinking about how great a conference it was. KScope has grown with the EPM material that gets covered. A lot of the presentations tell you not only what can be done but goes through how to do it! Didn't hear anyone complain about the lack of good sessions to attend.

I did three sessions this year - two presentations and one hands-on class. The presentations were on HFM metadata diagnostics (basically using rules so that HFM tells you what's wrong) and Calculation Manager (in context for those still using Classic script). The hands-on session, which I think is the best bargain at KScope and the one that people underutilize (after all, you can download all the PPTs for the sessions which you didn't attend), dealt with rounding. We went through four different ways people deal with it and everyone was hands-on with the software.

Here's a link to YouTube where I talked about what I was up to:

All were well attended (though there was room in the hands-on for more) and I got nice feedback - always good to hear that someone valued what you had to say.

I'm already thinking of what I can present next year in Hollywood FL at KScope15. Plan on coming and go to for more details.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hi. I've been a long time HFM consultant and thought I'd create a blog to share things I've learned - and new stuff too! We'll see where this goes!